Throughout this guide, the reader will be encouraged to:
- Hear… the birds of both forest and island cliffs; the misty exhalations of whales; the pop and sizzle of melting ice; the thundering boom of calving glaciers.
- Smell… the rich intertidal zone, an ecological zone demonstrating the edge effect, where diversity is on display.
- Taste… salt-spray, with an evocative reminder from John F. Kennedy that “when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.”
- Feel… the pulse of human history, including the rhythmic dip of wood into water (native hunters kayaking), the rumble of trains (Seward’s gateway and importance as a port/railroad town), the heartbeat of an alert soldier manning the guns at Caines Head (World War II history).
- See…Evidence of abrupt geological change and cataclysm, as visible in the form of fjords and ghost forests; Evidence of patterned ecological change over time, through succession; An artist’s view of northern light (through the story of Rockwell Kent); Animal behaviors, colors and patterns (such as the countershading seen in many alcids) that will help readers distinguish animals large and small; A peek at natural features not seen easily by boat, such as close-up views of eagle nests, tidepools, and wildflowers.
The reader will also be introduced to less-visible features, including the oceanographic conditions and food-web connections that are the foundation for gulf of Alaska marine life.