Doing It The Easy Way

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June 23rd 2018
Published: June 24th 2018
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I don’t recall going to an LGBTI meeting before, but I can highly recommend them to everyone. The first afternoon on our cruise ship there was one such meeting and we all went to say hello. They start by handing out free champagne to everyone and if someone in the group tells them it is their birthday, they give you more! Two bottles later we were all feeling the love in this friendly group. To top it off the two hosts were good fun and we met them again throughout the cruise. Mainly at the nightclub, where one of them was the DJ and the other just came for the free drinks Craig was buying him. These guys clearly enjoyed their work. And we decided that the night club should be renamed a day club due to the absence of night time in Alaska.

We arrived at Whittier (departure port) early and expected to have a long wait with nothing much to do, because of the rain that day. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that we could get on the boat 8 hours before the scheduled departure time. Now, this was all of our first experience of cruising (except for Craig) and we spent the first day wandering around, seeing what facilities there were. Lots of bars and restaurants, a theatre, pools, day spa, health club and casino. Everything you would need to occupy you between sights along the way. We had been told that you don’t go on a cruise to lose weight, and this was our experience too. There are lots of good quality food options served throughout the day. But the evening meals were a stand out. Alaskan seafood is to die for. Crab, salmon, halibut, clam chowder, scallops and shrimp were some of our staple foods.

The sights themselves were spectacular and without a cruise ship they would be very hard to access. After one day at sea we saw Hubbard Glacier. We had already been wowed by other glaciers in Alaska, but this one took it to another level. It is 8 miles wide and constantly rumbling away with the occasional boom of a large iceberg calving from the glacier. Our ship lined up parallel to the front of Hubbard for 20 minutes to let everyone take it all in then turns around for the people on the other side. We were
Hubbard GlacierHubbard GlacierHubbard Glacier

This was a huge wall of ice and it calved regularly. We had a great view from our balcony.
very happy with out 12th deck balcony for this reason.

24 hours later we were in Glacier bay. I learnt that glacier bay did not exist in the 17th century. Then, over less than a century, the Grand Pacific Glacier advanced from the nearby mountains to the sea, gouging out a giant fjord and the ice extended into the ocean. This was described as a natural disaster for the Tlingit people who would have seen a wall of ice charging towards them and only had about 50 years to get out of the way. For the last 200 years the ice has been retreating and now we have Glacier Bay, large enough for cruise ships to navigate and view dozens of glaciers that once fed the giant one which created glacier bay during recorded history. Vancouver was one of the first Europeans to see it, just after is started retreating.

The three towns we docked in were all interesting, and we organized a few activities to keep us entertained. We got a few hikes in too, but the train ride through White pass into Canada, followed by a bike ride all the way down hill to
Hubbard GlacierHubbard GlacierHubbard Glacier

The ice bergs that had fallen off this glacier could be many tonnes and as big as a truck.
Skagway was my favourite activity in this section of Alaska. The towns are all set up for customers from cruise ships. They have jewelers and art shops lined up along the main street. This gives you an indication of the clientele on our ship. Nathan and I went to watch an art auction were thousands of dollars per minute changed hands. He just liked the way the fast-talking South African auctioneer talked and fortunately he didn’t have a bidding paddle.

Of course, the reason why we are here in the first place is Leanne’s 50th birthday, and that was celebrated on the ship after a day in Ketchikan, where we glimpsed a black bear’s backside at the wildlife park. Everyone on the ship seemed to know that Leanne was the birthday girl; she has a way of promoting herself and can occasionally receive a complementary meal upgrade, champagne or what ever else is going at the time. The day before her birthday, we entered a black jack competition and both made the final seven. However, Leanne took out the first prize of $500. That helped with our drinks bill.

So now we find ourselves in the final part
Glacier BayGlacier BayGlacier Bay

The sun came out this time.
of our North American adventure and we will explore Vancouver and its surrounds for a few days.

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Bald Eagle on an ice bergBald Eagle on an ice berg
Bald Eagle on an ice berg

As we moved into glacier bay the number and size of the ice bergs increased and some animals used them as floating islands.
Margerie GlacierMargerie Glacier
Margerie Glacier

The main attraction in Glacier Bay. Also very active. We saw a lot of calving during our one hour stay.

Some time after 11. As we headed south the sun set earlier.
Riding back to SkagwayRiding back to Skagway
Riding back to Skagway

Craig, Leanne and I did this. Ray and Nathan came back by bus.
Hiking from SkagwayHiking from Skagway
Hiking from Skagway

We went for a log walk into the hills above town after our bike ride. Then we found the breweries.
Juneau.  Governor's houseJuneau.  Governor's house
Juneau. Governor's house

Sarah Palin used to live here.
Mendenhall GlacierMendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier

You could do a $500 tour by helicopeter, which included a dog sled ride on the glacier. Or you could catch a $45 bus (13 miles each way), still a rip off. We caught the local bus and had to walk the last mile and a half, but it cost $4 each.
Lumberjack Show, KetchikanLumberjack Show, Ketchikan
Lumberjack Show, Ketchikan

One of many contests between the Canadian and American Teams. Very humourous too.
Lumberjack Show, KetchikanLumberjack Show, Ketchikan
Lumberjack Show, Ketchikan

The climb these poles with some sort of spikes on the shoes. It only takes a few seconds.
Bald EagleBald Eagle
Bald Eagle

This one had been injured and will live in an animal sanctuary. They have very serious faces and are constantly looking around for other birds. It was safe in an enclosure.
Creek St, KetchikanCreek St, Ketchikan
Creek St, Ketchikan

The former red light district

26th June 2018

What an amazing part of your journey, stunning photos! I laughed at your assessment of Leanne's ability to promote herself and her birthday! :D :D Safe and happy travels for the last leg! Nina xx

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