Wednesday, July 25, 2012

207/366 In Port - Day 8

Early this morning we were docked in Vancouver once again.
This adventure was so wonderful AND we found out that the Scott's and the Cavanaugh's enjoy traveling together!
Where to next?

Thanks, Deb & Mike, for this last shot of the mural at the ship dock!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

206/366 At Sea - Day 7

Today we sailed all day, heading south toward Vancouver.

Captain Bos autographed our copies of "The Alaska Cruise Handbook,"
an interesting and very informative book.

The crew bids us adieu with song and dance!

Ketut (right) and his assistant served us wonderful dinners each evening and they were so much fun! The servers, that is...

Our table mates, Greg and Stephanie, were delightful dinner companions! 
Now, I wish I could find their email address to send them this picture. :o)

Monday, July 23, 2012

205/366 Ketchikan ~ Day 6

This morning, as we sailed south through the Clarence Strait, we cruised by the Guard Island Lighthouse, north of Ketchikan. We have seen quite a few lighthouses on our trip, some still in operation, as this one is, and some that are not. Staying on an island for months at a time seems pretty bleak to me!

We began our Ketchikan shore excursion at Saxman Village where there is one of the world's largest collections of totem poles! 

Hmmm... one of the first lessons a photographer learns: make sure there is nothing coming out of the head of your subject!
I think it kinda works though, don't you?

We continued on to George Inlet, where we walked a short way
through the rainforest to the historic Libby Cannery.

Men and women toiled day and night to harvest and process the abundant Alaskan Salmon. 
"In Ketchikan's early days, a "fish pirate" was something of a hero to the workingmen of the town. Canneries obtained large amounts of fish by capturing them in mechanical floating traps. Ketchikan fishermen considered these traps to be a threat to their livelihood, and any means to swindle the canneries was discreetly celebrated. Even when the canneries hired watchmen to guard the traps, they were pilfered, either by cunning or a simple bribe to the watchman to take a stroll. Many a fish pirate would steal salmon and sell those same fish back to the cannery he had just robbed! Witnesses could never seem to be found, and sympathetic juries often released scoundrels who were caught. The hardy days of pirating ended with statehood in 1959, when traps were deemed illegal." - exclusive 
Watchmen would stay weeks, sometimes months in huts like this, guarding the traps.

After the salmon was canned, it was cooked inside large steamers,
before being labeled and shipped all over the world.

We next boarded a boat that would take us through the inlet and the Tongrass Narrows, where we saw an abundance of wildlife.
This Bald Eagle looks so regal seated atop the tree; I wish I could have had sharper focus.

In Alaska, more often than not, glaciers, mountains, and rain forests come right to the water, with little to no beaches.
We were able to see starfish clinging to the rock at the edge of the rainforest!

Following our tour, we walked around in downtown Ketchikan, and, of course we went by the Episcopal Church, St. John's.
The church was finished in 1904, and was the first church, of any denomination, in Ketchikan.

We enjoyed a late lunch at the Fish Pirate's Saloon! FYI, all that beer is not mine. :o)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

204/366 Glacier Bay ~ Day 5

 The clouds were hanging very low as we entered Glacier Bay National Park this morning,
but they gave way to beautiful sunshine as the day progressed.

The ice in the water becomes thicker as we travel north, into the park.
The National Park Service allows only two ships per day (one at a time), into Glacier Bay,
to help preserve the ecosystem and allow visitors to fully experience the majesty that is before them.

Two park rangers and a member of the Hoonah Tlingit tribe boarded the ship early this morning.
We learned so much from them!

The weather was chilly in the park; I think we each had two blankets, a coat, gloves, and a hat!
The crew served Coffee with "Spirits" and Dutch Pea Soup to help keep us warm.

When Captain George Vancouver passed this way in 1794 there was no Glacier Bay, only ice;
but, by the time John Muir saw it in 1879, the ice had retreated 30 miles, and there was a beautiful bay.
The Margerie Glacier, pictured above and in the next five shots, is at the northern tip of Glacier Bay, close to the Canadian Border.

Here we are are a bit closer... see that boat to the right?

This is the same boat! The glaciers are huge!

I love perspective shots. Again, here we see canoes close to the glacier...

Look how tiny they are!

Glaciers act as filters that absorb red light, casting that gorgeous blue color!

This, too, is a glacier. The Grand Pacific Glacier is believed to have formed most of Glacier Bay,
so it must have been huge many moons ago. As it melts, a glacier collects sediment as it approaches ground/sea level, which accounts for its "dirty" look.

These gulls and puffins have found a warm spot in the ships wake.

Look at all the shades of blue. Stunning!

The Crow's Nest felt so cozy after being in the cold temperatures most of the day, and has 270 degree panoramic views! 

Happy Hour!
My drink was a blue version of a Lemon Drop and oh, so good! Bill enjoyed an Alaskan Amber Ale.

A nice way to end day five...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

203/366 "I Wanna Ride the Train" ~ Day 4

Early this morning we docked in Skagway. This small city (pop. 825 year round) is surrounded by high rugged mountains, at the end of a narrow, windy fjord. Skagway was built between 1897 and 1900, when the Klondike Gold Rush put Alaska on the map!

The train depot and train were directly across from the dock, and, as you can see, everyone is waiting by the train. I had to explain over and over again that our tour began on a bus heading up the mountains and THEN we would ride the train.  Bill kept whining, "But, I wanna ride the train." and Mike, when we got to the bus, said, "I've been around awhile, and I can tell you that this bus is NOT a train." It was like we had stepped back in time to two little boy's childhoods...

After the train pulled out, we were able to see all of these paintings on the rock. Some of the crew, from every ship that docks here for the first time,
paint the date, and the name of their ship and their captain. They say that the lower the painting, the less the captain is liked!
We searched for the ms Volendam, but never found her painting. This is only a small portion of the painted mountain side.

The views, again, were breathtaking on our bus tour toward the White Pass Summit.
The vistas have become much more rugged.

The Yukon Suspension Bridge at Tutshi Canyon. 

And finally, the big boys were happy! We boarded the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad!

Fortune hunters from all over the country rushed to the Klondike in 1897-98 to seek their fortunes in gold but they were tested by the hardships of the journey.
Each person was required to take 6 months of supplies (about 2,000 pounds) with them on the trail into Canada,
so many would take a partial load to the Canadian border, then go back to Skagway to get the rest. You can still see the trail they traveled...

From the train, outside on the car landing... Skagway is there by the water.
Not too long after this spot I went to the other side of the train and saw a brown bear! Too fast to get a shot though :(

Yep, that's me, hanging off the landing!

We stopped to let these hikers board the train. They had spent the night in the old caboose.
You can reserve a night through the National Park Service!

By the time our train let us off, it was time for lunch, but first, some Alaskan Microbrews.

After our delicious salmon bake, we settled in for a show here in Liarsville; the actors told stories and sang of the Klondikers.
FYI, many college students and teachers spend their summers in Alaska with the Tourism Department.

They taught us how to pan for gold and then let us loose to find our fortune!!! 
I think Bill found a speck :o)

Mike and Deb are looking intently, too, and we did find a little gold, fool's gold, that is!

We took the bus from Liarsville back to Skagway, and en route,
we stopped at this gorgeous spot overlooking the town.

Our final stop was The Red Onion Saloon, where we met the "Madam" of this former brothel.
Many women were ready to make their fortune off of the rich Klondikers.

Most of the original buildings are still in tact because the weather here is drier and colder than the wet, slightly warmer clime of the cities on the ocean side.
This building is the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, where men met before they headed for the gold fields. Driftwood forms the facade.

And... I just love this precious pup waiting in his side car for his human to return!

Friday, July 20, 2012

202/366 An Incredibly Thrilling Day! Day 3, Part 2

After that thrilling Gastineau Channel excursion, we went hiking!

The wildflowers were beautiful! This is Pacific Buttercup.

Waterfalls are abundant because of the melting of the snow and glaciers.

Deb takes a moment to contemplate the beauty of God's creation...

The Mendenhall Glacier

Pieces that have calved from the glacier, in sparkling water.

After our excursion, we decided to walk around Juneau a bit.
This metal art is on the side of the Juneau Public Library building.


We took the tramway to the top of Mt. Roberts for some spectacular views.

Gastineau Channel, looking south.

The channel, from the tram, looking northwest, at low tide.

Our ship, from the tram.
We were so tired when we got back to the ship, AND we missed our seated dinner!
That won't happen again!
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