Published: September 20th 2009September 12th 2009
Alan headed to the Observation Lounge at 7 this morning to make sure that we had ringside seats for Mariner's cruise
up Tracy Arm, one of Alaska’s scenic fjords. I met him about thirty minutes later for our coffee with a view.
As the ship sailed beside the sheer granite cliffs of the narrow fjord, lecturer, Terry Breen, provided the commentary. But, environmental regulations applying to Tracy Arm meant that her remarks could not be broadcast on the outside decks of the ship. So, the only way to hear Terry was to be in the Observation Lounge. You can imagine that our coffee came with quite a crowd, along with the spectacular view.
Our good weather luck allowed Mariner to cruise 18 miles up Tracy Arm, much farther than ships are usually able to maneuver. Icy waterfalls plunged down the steep mountainsides as electric blue icebergs floated in the water beside us. We weren’t able to see Sawyer Glacier, the source of the colorful ice.
Lichen that clung to the steep fjord walls was already turning a rust color; the signal that fall had arrived. Terry encouraged us to step outside to smell the air, fragrant with
Sitka spruce, cedar trees and a “nip of fall.”
As Mariner approached the dock in Juneau, the weather turned foul. Although Alan and I arrived on the pier in time for our Helicopter Glacier Walkabout, the rain put an end to our adventure plans. The ship’s tour desk switched us to a different helicopter tour that wasn’t affected by the rain. However, by the time we arrived at the helicopter port, donned our glacier boots and life vests, the rain poured again, canceling that tour also.
Later that evening, we soothed our disappointment with a glass of champagne in the Observation Lounge, toasting to a future return to Juneau for more adventure.
There are more photos below