Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seward Alaska - May 3, 2008

We drove to Seward to celebrate Doug's birthday by going on a wildlife-watching cruise. These first pictures are the views from our motel. It was the first weekend of May, but it was still chilly and there was plenty of snow on the mountains.

In the bottom left of this picture of the scene across from our motel,
you can see the Benny Benson Memorial.

The following is taken from information from the Anchorage Daily News (newspaper).
Benny Benson - Alaska's Flag

This is the Alaska Flag Benny designed. John Ben "Benny" Benson was 13 when he created the flag for the Territory of Alaska in 1927.

Benson looked to the sky, choosing the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) and the North Star for his symbols. He described his choices: "The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaska Flower. The North Star is for the future state of Alaska, the most northerly of the union. The dipper is for the Great Bear symbolizing strength." His sentiments are echoed in the state song.

His design was favored over about 700 entries from schoolchildren around the state. Many of the other entries had variations on polar bears, gold pans, the state seal, the midnight sun, or northern lights. Until his flag was chosen, Alaskans had flown only the U.S. flag since the territory was purchased from Russia in 1867. The Territory of Alaska became a state in 1959.

For his feat, Benson won an engraved watch and $1,000. The original flag, made of blue silk and appliqu├ęd gold stars, was first flown July 9, 1927.

Benson was part Russian-Aleut and part Swedish. He was born at Chignik, grew up at the Jesse Lee Home in Unalaska and later in Seward, and spent most of his adult life in Kodiak, where he worked for Kodiak Airways. He had two daughters and several stepchildren and grandchildren. He died on July 2, 1972.

If you visit Seward, you can find the Benny Benson Memorial at Mile 1.4 of the Seward Highway.

Information source, Anchorage Daily News.

Lots of ships in the Seward harbor.

Lot of people were preparing their boats for the upcoming tourist and fishing season. This guy was working in the crow's nest of his boat.

Doug & Colleen in front of the catamaran that took us on our wildlife watching cruise. It rained and snowed on us on our 4 hour drive to Seward and it rained after our cruise, but the precipitation stopped long enough for us to have a great cruise. It was chilly and windy, but we we were able to stand out on deck to see lots of animals. See them in the next blog post!
They served hot chocolate and a light lunch on the boat. The sea was relatively calm.
After our cruise, we went to Mass and then to a place that our captain had recommended for supper. The food and the atmosphere lived up to our expectations!