Alaska - and little bits of Vancouver and Seattle

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August 9th 2011
Published: August 9th 2011
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Sunny VancouverSunny VancouverSunny Vancouver

Start of our stroll to Stanley Park that ended in full lap of 22km.
Hopefully the photos are in order - has taken me forever to upload because it was screwing everything up. Enjoy!
Sat 23 July Blue Horizon Vancouver
Woken 9am by knock on door to collect luggage, then alarm went off so not that annoying. Went down and said goodbye to rest of tour going on cruise. Fiona drew winner of bag which was Peta. Had brekkie which was Eggs Benedict Robson style with tomato and avocado. Then checked facebook and saw that Amy Winehouse had died but wasn’t sure whether it was a joke or not, then more about bombs and shootings in Oslo too which is really sad. Amy got in about 11.30am and had chat and catch up and went for walk about 12.45pm. Headed toward Stanley Park and ended up walking the 22km lap around it getting back to hotel about 5.30pm. Did stop for lunch for ½ hour having hot dogs (watching guy who left his backpack and lost it), but otherwise walking, talking, taking photos and enjoying a nice day. 2 people stacked their bikes on the edge of pathway, one little boy but one older lady. Just entering park we saw Charlie Boormans bus again – now I wonder how much they do on their bikes? Came back along Davie Street which was interesting. Went out with Narelle and Catherine to Greek place. I had kloftiko which was nice. Was getting bit crook and forgot to get pills off Joanne.
Sun 24 July Broadway Seattle
Up 8am to get rid of head full of flu. Then just played games and some internet before others were up at agreed 9am. Went to Starbucks and bought Amy a mug she collects (least I could do) had a white choc chip cookie which was nice and then checked out. Left around 11am and headed for border. Got some nice pics and was good to see they were advertising no need to idle cars would move in bulk. But then signs got slack and hoped we were in right place. Got sidetracked, obviously with us Aussies to check through. Left car and bullet vest guy yells at Amy about car sticker, so she put it back, then another guy yells again and she has to take it and leave keys at car. They were all sarcastic about it, Amy just asked were they going to go through her car (and our gear) without her there. Yep – apparently that is ok. So another queue inside with no informative signs, probably ½ hour and $6 each later we were through. Finally got out 1.30pm, so that was about 2 hours at border. Stopped at Taco Time and had a selection of goodies, then went via Boeing building which is biggest by volume in the world. Checked in at Amy’s on Broadway. Went for a wander shortly after and after chatting to ladder truck driver asking how he got ladder up with all the overhead electrical wires (answer was he generally gets around them), stocked up on flu drugs, vitamin C and found some muscatel. Then Amy took us for tour showing us stadiums of Soccer-Sounders, AFL and Baseball both nautical names too. Saw views of Seattle which were lovely and nestled between Olympia and Cascade Mountain Ranges with Mt Rainier always there, although hiding. View from Kerry Park was lovely but then stopped at Volunteer Park on way home which was nice too. Visited the troll under the bridge and a look from Queen Ann Hill. Had cheese steak for dinner which was nice. Oh, we were wondering what guard did with attitude and I found today my shampoo spilled, probably happened ages ago, but we’ll blame him 😉 Cleaned all that up and had a quick taste of muscatel (which was shite) so headed to bed.
Mon 25 July Broadway Seattle
Slept well but woke up worse. Caught bus into town with Amy and had crumpet for breakfast. Did underground tour which was really good, with lots of interesting and funny history – that I can’t remember and didn’t take photos. Piked after that missing first Starbucks and scenes from Sleepless in Seattle but couldn’t go on. Slept couple of hours until Joanne and Amy got home, then slept another couple of hours. Had cold taco and quick shower to relieve tension to pack and go to bed. Seattle was a lovely city and shame I was crook for half of it.
Tue 26 July Wedgewood Resort Fairbanks
Great nights sleep but still crook. Up and pack and had brekkie with Amy, just toast. Then to airport for trouble checking in because we have to pay $20 each for luggage that was a surprise. Then huge security queues and board for 3.5 hr flight. Slept most of it and got moved to exit aisle to let family sit together and Alaska Air lady was so lovely and offered me free alcohol and all. Then bit of a rush to get to next flight but boarded ok. Big guy I had to dodge in aisle, his whole leg didn’t fit in seat area. I am talking Hagrid in Harry Potter – hey, maybe he was a star with problems and attitude. Then I was seated between Joanne and a girl about twice the size of me (I am now thinking the giant lady in charge of the other school in Harry Potter – not really, but she was twice my size literally, but was still dwarfed by the other guy), anyways I felt like a pimple about to pop most of the way. Only a 45min flight, which was extended. I heard flight attendants talking in back about guy and whether they should do something, I am thinking – yes please, I am on this flight. Then the big guy stood up during taxi so we went back because of an “airplane problem” where guy got up and walked off plane. Phew. Police were there to take him to jail, apparently a regular. Don’t think I even had time to sleep on this flight – poor girls were still serving us backenders juice 5 mins into our decent. And it is raining in Fairbanks – the sky is running, my nose is running and my bum is running – this should be fun! Oh course, we are on 3rd floor the first night when we have to lug our luggage up – that was great in this state! Had little nap before walking in pouring rain to dinner and getting lost nearly in resort – is huge and rooms are apartments and huge, they used to be pipe workers apartments. Dinner was a stuff up, poor girl didn’t get anything right. I had my main 5mins before entrée. Was nice enough though and back to bed early.
Wed 27 July Wedgewood Resort Fairbanks
Up before 7am and feeling a bit better. Breakky just didn’t happen, piled up with eggs benedict and deer sausages etc but couldn’t eat. Headed off to boat cruise down Chena River which was quite nice. A lot of stories about Iditarod races and Sue Massey? Who wont it a few times with Granite, a runt of litter who became a champion and recovered from heart disease to win another race. Was well enough and had a donut and coffee on boat. Saw houses with planes that are float planes, and wheel planes and can change to ski planes too – so versatile. I know Peter will be jealous – snapped a couple of photos of boats and planes at front doors. Then saw where Athabascan Indians caught and dried salmon and some bear/moose/deer skins. Oh, saw reindeer but some owls too. End of boat ride was thinking I was getting better of my flu – will see tomorrow. Had lunch in Fairbanks at Soapy Smiths with lovely gay waiter Will. Then off the afternoon to El Dorado Gold Mine. We took a train through permafrost tunnel and saw some old setups but then got handed our little bag of dirt to pan for gold. Joanne got $15 and I only got $12.50. One lady got a nugget worth $57 and $15 in bits, and lots got over $30. I opted out of Salmon Bake tonight to come home and get ready and not eating at the moment anyway.
Thu 28 July Denali Bluff Denali
Had a good
Canada/USA BorderCanada/USA BorderCanada/USA Border

This was about as fun as African borders.
nights sleep and feeling a bit better. Tried to do physio which I’ve skipped for last few days of no energy but couldn’t do more than one exercise. Loaded up for train ride to Denali while our bus drove beside us again. Was nice and a bit more wobbly than Rocky Mountaineer. Will said they saw a bear this morning. We checked out dome car which was nice but not overwhelming. Two stories, either 1 in 6 or 1 in 61 people up here have a pilots licence. Planes change from wheels to floats to skis though so that is awesome. In 1964 I think it was they had a 9.1 earthquake – lucky it is not hugely populated! Alaskans refer to ‘outsiders’ and don’t really call themselves American, but are proud of it at the same time. They love their vets and often show respect for them. Alaska is bigger than Texas and loves to remind them of that. On the train, the conductor showed us a willow flower, which isn’t a flower but a willow that when a fly lays eggs on it the leaves curl into rose like feature. He only found out about this a few years ago and it is quite beautiful. We went to Denali visitor centre after getting off train which was quite good. Had an ice cream there too since the sun was out. Then checked into hotel and had a sleep for couple of hours until dinner show. It was quite good but wasn’t really hungry still. They said Denali is tribal name for Mt McKinley. Men here outnumber women 10-1 so they say the odds are good but the good are odd  They only get a foot of snow up here which is odd. And another funny story, they build a boardwalk in Denali and put in traffic lights (even though it is not that busy), but also street lighting, which is weird because the town shuts down in winter when lights would be needed. Got back from show and went straight to sleep again.
Fri 29 July Denali Bluff Denali
Woke up for brekkie with Joanne and then came back for lazy day before our drive this afternoon. Joanne had good chopper tour and then we caught free shuttle downtown which is 2 mins walk and people were tipping $1. Little to say we didn’t. Chose not to take waterproof gear because sun was out and after trying to do cruise checkin it was raining. Downtown we had subway for lunch and a bit of a shop. Came back and phoned up to check in for cruise and it was painful having to double say everything to lady – 4 triple 7, she repeats 4 zero zero. Nooooo 4 7 7 7. Everything went like this for 5 mins. Got onto our bus for Denali Park tour – was an old school bus and we were squished in here for the next 6-8 hours. Short drive and windows were dirt sprayed. Saw quite a lot of animals, heaps of reindeer/caribou, 4 grizzly bears, one was a cub, heaps of Dall sheep (which is why the park was initially created to save), 2 foxes, one we watched stalk a squirrel and catch him only to be swooped by a golden eagle out of nowhere. It was so unexpected we missed the finer bits of the eagle attack as a bus drove off in front of our view, saw him roosting without a squirrel though so presume he missed it. Saw a coyote or wolf first up as well, guide wasn’t quite sure which it was. Right at the end of the drive we saw a moose (only female) right beside the road, by the time we reversed up another car behind us we couldn’t see good. I keep getting in trouble for saying horns, they stay, antlers drop every year. They are designed to cool the deer hence why they drop off at end of summer. We got home about 10.15pm had a quick hot chocolate and went to bed for an early start tomorrow.
Sat 30 July Sheraton Anchorage
Headed off for drive down to Anchorage. Crossed bridge where they used to bungy jump, someone died (in car accident because of bungy) so they closed it. Then stopped at volunteer/service memorial again and let veterans off first which was nice. Then stopped at Marey Carey’s place at bottom of Mt McKinley – sounded like a lovely old lady – movie will be made soon about her book My Three Lives from her running from law in Texas to living in north somewhere and then moving to Alaska. Crossed Tulitna River which another failed chance of view of Mt McKinley. We have had no luck with the M&Ms here, moose and Mt Mckinley. After finally feeling better from the flu, I have added another to my list of opinions of a place, probably with weather in the lead and people/cost/my health as a tie of importance. Anyway, we stopped at Happy Trails Kennels which is home of Martin Buser who holds the record for just under 9 days for the Iditarod. Felt like a priviliedge to be in a place where there were 3 people who had completed the race. Martin wasn’t home, but his cute son Roan showed us about with Deedee Jonrowe. Iditarod Race started after 1925 when there was a dipthieria outbreak in Nome and people were going to die if they didn’t get treatment. A few guys took a dog team and made it up there to save the town. The race was started in memorial of that event. We saw them hook up a team and then a video of photos throughout the race which was cool, a demo on equipment and then got to play with puppies. When we left we drove past Sara Pallin’s house on the lake in Wasilla with the high wood fence up and a Wall Mart just in the shire of Anchorage to avoid sales tax. On our last leg into town Sylvia asked questions from the tour (some of which she hadn’t got around to even telling us Fair Childs – those of us who joined in Fairbanks, so the Anchorites did ok in the quiz). Some cool facts – there are over 3 million lakes that are bigger than 20 acres. USA bought it from a Russian guy/company for 2c/acre, maybe late 1800s, and it was made the 49th state in 1959. Poor bastards here don’t like Good Fridays – it was 1964 when they had the 9.2 earthquake which lasted about 5 mins in Anchorage, then in 1989 was the Exon Valdez spill. Was a quick drive through town and over Ship Creek – few people were up Ship Creek knee deep fishing. Saw the little Engine No 1 which built the Alaska Railroad – it was brought up here after finishing the Panama Canal. Had an hour in town and wandered and then back to markets. Quick change at home (and remake the bed – Sheraton gives us a double!) for last supper – got to sit with family who were the only ones
Chena River Cruise reindeerChena River Cruise reindeerChena River Cruise reindeer

Caribou are wild reindeer
I really knew from tour. Had an awesome chicken dinner with caper sauce and artichoke and spinach, and a root beer produced at the brewery – I think they got dencorub mixed up in the brew though. After first few days being crook and then only couple of days left I was trying hard to make this my first tour I knew no one – but ended up knowing half a dozen people by name and a dozen or more by face – out of 48 that was pretty good. Heaps of photos to name and download and will try net shortly – start cruise tomorrow so want to be up to date, or at least checkin.
Sun 31 July Alaska Cruise Board/Sailing
Sylvia told us she was woken at 4am this morning by a black bear into her garbage bins. Had lynx sausage for breakfast and huge omelette but was not very hungry – unlike me. Drove south towards Seward this morning. Was named after William Seward who bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867. Kept an eye out for beluga whales off the coast but not lucky. Few frustrating things again today, stopped for an eagles nest on right side of bus (last favourite tour with family) but no eagles were home, then we saw eagles nest on our new tour/cruisers left side of bus and we kept driving, even after they saw a couple of babies in it. Missed a photo. Had to go through Moose Pass, named because there were always Moose when the original explorers passed this area, talk of opening a servo there, but it would be called Moose Pass Gass so not done yet. Got to Seward and saw Mt Marathon where every year they have a race on 4th July because of some guy betting his mates they couldn’t run up and down in an hour back in early 1900s. They didn’t, but now the record is mid 40 minutes. Looks like it would take me 40 hours! Learned another story from the old tour today of the 5 Pacific salmon using your hand to remember – King, Silver, Pink, SockEye, Chum. At the last minute we learned about Alaska flag, designed by orphan Billy B?? with stars of pan handle and north star for North to the Future. Off the bus for the last time with the whole group with great pleasure. Had half hour or so in wharf before boarding and then got there early to get window seats, but Sylvia said she had saved seats for the family and then was more or less asking us to move to let another 2 couples sit together – we didn’t move and told her she couldn’t and she argued she could. Obviously couldn’t though because we didn’t move. Turns out best seats were not there anyway – you were better off on the inside seats where you could move around and not be squished in. Anyway, saw quite a few animals. I spotted first few otters which was pretty awesome. 90% of worlds sea otters are in Alaska territory. Protected now, they were hunted for their skins because they live whole life in water so is very warm. There are about 1 million hairs per square inch compared to a dogs 6000. Saw puffins which was awesome, humpback whales (no killers ) dall purpoises, kittiwakes (white birds), common muir (black birds), stellar sea lions (endangered), rhino auklet (like puffins and rare), and then a few glaciers including Bear and Holgate which had a couple of calvings. Oh, apparently the underside of whales tales are like fingerprints and there is a website of Alaskan whales you can search to see who you took a photo of. Another cool bit of info, we all know bears hibernate, but male polar bears don’t, hey just keep eating seals, and females who do, give birth while asleep. They also eat rocks last thing before going to bed so they don’t have to poo in there. I figure if you can give birth while asleep I am sure you could poo. Anyway – about our lunch, we had an awesome salad and best rib in a while. Said goodbye to few people I cared about including 3 african ladies and Will/Sam family and headed off to board cruise. Was quick and easy. Unpacked luggage and waited for evacuation display then had dinner and a quick reccy of the boat before bed.
Mon 1 Aug Alaska Cruise College Fjord
Saw room guys and asked them to split our double bed into two singles and happened really quickly. Had alarm early for College Fjord but went back to sleep until 7.30am. Saw a glacier with two calvings which was cool then had brekkie. Saw excursion planning show which made things more difficult – there are about a million things to choose from. Most exciting though is wildlife centre that guy calls animals so will hopefully even see wolverine – he is the only person to have tamed a wolverine, and it still doesn’t look very tame. Also booked whales and Mendenhall glacier photo tour in Juneau and Saxman indian village and lumberjack show in Ketchikan. Checked if any tours would combine with these tours and nothing interesting did. Wow – guess what – time to eat again. After lunch, watched Joanne play bingo and then had another sleep before dinner. Got to do physio again too for first day in about a week since I’ve been crook/tired. Is formal night so dressed up in my finest jeans and shirt with pretty boots  Didn’t feel too far out of place though. Was planning on going from dinner to Captains welcome at 7.45pm, but sitting at dinner sideways with a lovely little rocking motion I had a lovely appetizer, stalled on soup and bailed before rest of the meal. Met Richard and Anita who said they had taken sea sickness pills and at first I wondered why. Dedi noticed I wasn’t good and was lovely and then Joanne said main waiter was asking after me as well. After I went to bed I felt better but was too lazy to get dressed again to go back out. Joanne watched dancing show before coming home and then I was awake until way after midnight.
Tue 2 Aug Alaska Cruise Glacier Bay
Had sleep in again after I heard Joanne check window early and wasn’t impressed enough to get up. Had brekkie and then while waiting for boys to do our room saw some whales. Ran back for camera and went one room too many and boys were across hall and called me back as I was stopping – very cute. Rugged up and only saw couple of whales and otters (maybe a bear) before lunch. This is like kapooka – eating heaps and discarding after every meal – I feel like the glacier we saw today that is progressing 15 foot a day. After a miserable morning, it cleared up for top end of glacier bay which was great. Was warm enough after lunch on back deck in sun to not rug up much. Saw 1 good calving and another smaller one. 2 bald eagles and no one saw bear and 2 cubs or another bear and cub. After lunch, a few people took the polar plunge, it was bearable by then but clouded over again by end of dip. Joanne got me a coke while we sat out there and that was pretty chilling. Oh, confirmed time change was for my tour tomorrow too so is 9am now not a sleepy 11am. Went to dinner again and had Alaskan crab entrée and Alaskan crab salad as main – it is very nice, like muddy texture but a bit sweeter like sandcrab. Saw whales and couple of otters at dinner, then went and watched Joseph Tran magic show.
Wed 3 Aug Alaska Cruise Haines/Skagway
Woke up to 6.30am announcement on where to get off ship. Would rather they tell me when there are whales than that. Anyway – got up an hour later and had brekkie. Then headed off for tour about ¼ hour early. Lucky, because there was a ¼ hour queue to get off ship. Was still an early one though and bloody Americans are quite happy to queue jump. Tom our driver was excellent! Lots of info on way out to reserve. Pointed out public servant building with police, fire, ambulance, morgue and jail all in one. The Barracks that were built 1901-1903. Said about two river names of Tlikat which means many fish, because of the hooligan fish that locals catch and fill truck trays while they are running, and Tilkut which means mixed fish. Tlikat River is only river that whole 5 Pacific Salmon breed in. Talked about gold course that is 9 holes, but only 6-7 at high tide . A shaman of local village who had a bad feeling one day so advised women should go fishing and rock avalanche wiped out town. A place where 3 rivers meet at a delta and a sort of spring system keeps water from freezing so turns into a feeding frenzy for about 1000 eagles when rivers ice up. Oh, an eagle nest nearby weighs 2000lb – about a tonne. Then finally out to Steve Kroschel ‘s wildlife reserve. It is orphaned/saved animals or bred animals. Steve works with Mario the falconer which gave me the giggles from the footy show. And their display reminded me of Tim the toolman and big Al. Mario wears a polar bear claw from when he went out filming whale hunt in canoes with eskimos. Had to earn right and be taught before being allowed and an elder took him on because he had Italian name and would cook for him. Anyway, got awesome film because elder would watch polar bears and note their mannerisms and let them walk through camp within metres or fire warning shots to scare them away. One day this one was very weird and wouldn’t run away and was obviously starving, they had to shoot him but only wounded him in shoulder. He dived in and swam off leaving trail of blood. They got Mario to not film but help save (read as kill humanely) the polar bear. He could’ve sunk their canoe with one swipe of his paw but they all made it and Mario earned one of the claws. We saw a red tail hawk, a mink (and patted his ass), red tail fox, ferrets or weazels (I forget which), a lynx, Kitty the brown bear (brown, grizzly and kodiac are all the same), a porcupine or hedgehog (is there a difference?, have already looked up sea lions/seals and sea otters/beavers for my untrained brain), another weasel/ferret thing that isn’t but can’t remember his real name (Pine Martin or something Martin) – saw it recently as a food source for something, moose (only female, but does kissing it forgive me for not seeing a nice antlered male?), reindeer (patted velvet antlers and felt very soft and awesome), a plant with Devil in it’s name but it’s roots have a healing property that Indians found out about after watching bears, a wolf (they were saying reduce spread of disease and even deers used to host diseases (eg lime) that are now transferring to humans), and last but not least a wolverine called Banff. It was so cute to see him nibbling on Steve’s throat as a sign of love. They have super strong jaws and are feared by bears and wolves as well as humans. Stopped on way back to see salmon spawning in a creek which was cool. Had a lady whinge because my window was down before that, but put it down again for photos, then a lady whinged because I was in my window space, and there were a few people quite rude today always pushing to get to the front and then staying there. Anyway – back to wharf. If I was a tipper, Tom would’ve got a heap. Has finally rejuvenated my travel bug – maybe it was the animals too. Came back for awesome lunch involving heaps of sushi, some mango sushi and a milkshake (have befriended the ice cream lady ) Did up photos, maybe time for a little rest before heading back to town this ave maybe. Didn’t end up going back to town, was going to go to some presentation but slept instead. Had dinner with Joanne and came back to bed.
Thu 4 Aug Alaska Cruise Juneau
Weird! Went to toilet in middle of night and was totally unbalanced. Then again in morning and rolled over to beside table (to write down Martin something that is animal I was trying to think of) and was feeling like I was being shaken out of my bed – and we were in port. Ended up nearly being sick, and had cold sweats, had light breakkie and felt better. Had dreams of killer whales and bears though.
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and is the only Capital not accessible by road. There are more bike/hike trails than roads here, but there are also a heap of semi trailers. Wandered around and collected 3 coins from different stores like a treasure hunt. Bought an ammolite earing, hopefully will be able to match it at one of stores we have to go to in Ketchikan, otherwise will be a necklace. Was only $15 which is super cheap version of ammolite. Then bought up on souveniers because I finally found things that were ok and cheap enough, small enough and light enough. Then saw heap of people and watched mamma bear and 3 black bear cubs in the bins. Was a police/some enforcement officer making sure we didn’t get too close I suppose. That was pretty unreal and awesome. Came back to unload shopping and had a spare ½ hour so had lunch, again awesome. Then off for tour in drizzling rain still. Saw some more of government area of town on way out. Jim explained they are pretty practical here, they have one divided road which is called The Road, Salmon Creek because it has salmons (which is nearly every creek here), etc. First stop was cruise, saw a young and quite ugly golden eagle having a feed of fish, salmon jumping around quite everywhere, then we found first pod of whales, well humpback don’t pod, but there was about 6-8 of them. Was pretty awesome, then one came up right beside boat. There was one time we were leaving and 3 flukes their tails all together from the back and would’ve been an awesome photo, my camera focused on someone’s arm though  Then we went around to another ‘pod’ that were bubblenet feeding. Not many people get to see this, apparently they only do it 28 days a year and is an Alaskan waters thing they do, even though they migrate to Hawaii and Mexico. Saw four times of this, first one got half decent photo, 2nd video only got the end of it, 3rd nearly totally missed but sound is awesome, 4th I gave up and watched over top of camera and got the best shots. Had to head back and go to Mendenhall Glacier, was given nuts for snack but gave them to Joanne after realising nuts kind of give me sea sickness. Glacier was cool, huge icebergs floating from it and beautiful greenery to contrast. Then we wandered through some boardwalks to watch spawning salmon which was pretty awesome. Saw some scraps of fish where bears had been feeding – that would’ve absolutely topped off my day to see bears catching salmon! Was good to revise some camera tips, but couldn’t say I learned too much. Overall though, with rainy miserable day as awesome. Back to ship just in time to leave. Dumped and checked photos and of course – what is next – dinner of course. Watched shows and Aussie guy playing piano tonight. Finally met some other Aussies too, a whole 3 of them.
Fri 5 Aug Alaska Cruise Ketchikan
Well again this morning had dizzy things. Went to do stretches and fell over into bed luckily. That was enough excuse to bail on physio today. Was a lovely day though with plenty of blue cloud. Ketchikan only has 30 sunny days a year and based on our luck this trip I wasn’t expecting a nice day, but we got it! Went shopping early and got all our coins and charms but missed lunch to achieve this – oh the commitment. Found an earring matching enough in Ammolite but they wouldn’t sell a single one and was in a rush, was
Denali NP caribou and wolf/coyoteDenali NP caribou and wolf/coyoteDenali NP caribou and wolf/coyote

Guide couldn't tell which so we'll claim both.
maybe going to go back but will just use one I got as a pendant. Tour to Saxman Native Village was pretty cool. Got told about Water Street on way out, so called because it is on stilts over the water, then it was pointed out that most of the town is on stilts. Saw Creek Street which used to be brothel street, they said kids conceived here were nicknamed Brothel Sprouts . Also learned about how eskimos have babies, you know how they rub their noses together, well they just keep doing that until the little boogers come out  He he he. It is amazing how sunshine makes you happy. Village show was good, saw traditional dancing and heaps of totem poles, and some active carving. Did a little bushwalk too and learned about salmon berries – named because they look like a bunch of salmon eggs and I ate one which wasn’t very sweet. And skunk cabbage – smells bad and bears dig up roots as a laxative after they have eaten rocks and sticks for hibernation. Would basically kill a human being though. Oh, saw Johnny Depp’s cruise boat with a little chopper on it. Then dropped at LumberJack Show. Was very good and funny act. Then didn’t shop for jewellery but finally succumbed to getting some taffy. Have had my eye on it since Calgary and managed thus far not to get any but lost the battle today. Turned out great though, only spent $2.61 and then got a free packet of polar gummy bears. Heaps more flower photos today, sorry, I will try and cull them to save looking at them all. Did I say from as far back as Victoria that I was shocked with the cold weather and beautiful flowers, flowers need sun right – well I always equated that to heat, not nearly 24 hours a day of UV light. Flowers up here run riot – even in the cold! Was Barry and Kris’ 25th anniversary today so sat with them (had to quickly visit taco bar on way to dinner – no lunch today so though I might starve while they were serving me). Poor Dedi (our waiter) thought we didn’t like him anymore. Jonathon ate two mains, and we both had 2 desserts. Watched Elliott Max, funny cruise singer and watched line dancing and then played guess the song. It was frustrating though, always just got to the good bits of the song and teased half the time not quite getting it. Ran down to check out the dessert extravaganza which was cool, but apparently a huge waste. Checked out casino on way back ‘home’ and stuck in $28. Worked out how to cash out at $20, then proceeded to lose another $10 working out how to use it again 
Sat 6 Aug Alaska Cruise Inside Passage
Had a bit of sleep in today and Joanne woke me just before 10am so we could go to the exit seminar thing. Worked out that the $10 I had on my card from casino didn’t transfer over so plan was to go and make that worth the effort or lose it. Then went up to sit on pool deck outside – was a beautiful day. Jonathon came up with us and sat out there chatting and then starving and waiting for the lunch buffet to open. Was terrible finally having someone to eat with – created line waiting for buffet to open and guy was teasing us opening and closing. Had a huge feed and sitting out the back, just kept grazing for an hour or more. Mike and Elaine sat with us as well and then Jonathon’s parents came out too. Ended up playing poker with Jonathon before spotting what we are sure was a killer whales dorsal fin, a dolphin and a seal. Can you believe I have gone from thermals to sweaty thongs in two days. Met Jonathon in casino to lose or win more with my $10, need I explain that it was a loss. Then checked out bow of boat for first time which was the whole day gone already so had to get ready for early dinner with Indonesian staff putting on a show. Dedi was happy we sat in his area again. Most of show was not very visible but still cool. Was prime whale viewing time too, but apparently no one saw any so that is ok. My ankle has been killing me today – can’t work out whether it was from line dancing in my chair or too many stairs because I have started eating too much. Checked out more line dancing before the late show which was from 50s and 60s so not that great for me. Heard someone chatting
Denali NP fox with squirrel just before being swopped by eagleDenali NP fox with squirrel just before being swopped by eagleDenali NP fox with squirrel just before being swopped by eagle

Cut from video so had to save with white edge to make it big enough to be uploaded.
today and said the American credit rating has finally been downgraded to AA+ - don’t know how it has affected Australian market and dollar yet but killed off 5% on American market. Spent $19.99 on 2 litres of Malibu which I consider an awesome special and paid some cash to front desk so I don’t end up with too many American dollars that might not be worth paper they are printed on. Joanne tried to organise paying with her other debit card too and it was a struggle.
Sun 7 Aug Blue Horizon Vancouver
Heard us docking some early hour and checked it was nice day and didn’t even remember doing it. Joanne got up early and try and pay again and came back failing. Had early brekkie and got to see Jonathon and family off. Spent another ½ hour with Joanne trying to sort out payment with her American dollars debit card, finally got there. Disembark was at 9.15am and had to queue for a while on boat, find luggage, get back into Canada and walked to hotel. Got in about 10am and room was ready which was awesome. Checked net and found out market had dropped to 4100 from pushing 5000 on Friday and was expected to take a hit again opening Monday. But again – USD was stronger against the Aussie! How does that work, US have a trillion dollar debt just sneak up on them overnight (don’t get me started on accountability for that!) and apparently that is better than us? Anyway – then about 1pm decided to get motivated to go up to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Bought ticket downstairs and buses were full so ended up having to wait half and hour. Had a pretty bad samosa in the meantime. The Bridge is 135m across and 75m high and veerrrryy wobbly. Was originally built in 1890 to save the area – that was twine and plank bridge. Then walked around and saw birds of prey, a treetop walk and then back across bridge to do glass bottom cliffwalk. That was a bit disappointing because the glass bottom bit was only in two spots with heaps of dots on the glass and horrible tourists everywhere. Finished there about 5pm and luckily missed the pay bus, well didn’t want that one but realised after it left that the one we did want didn’t run on Sundays, but was then lucky because another free transfer showed up unannounced. Caught it back and guy kept talking himself up for tips so threw in a dollar considering we saved $2.50 each. Can I whinge about my ankle again today too – don’t know what makes it suddenly super painful but that is life. Had Indian on way back to hotel, lucky we got mild and medium because they were both a level hotter. After dinner checked and had email back from whale cruises and one we liked was booked out for tomorrow – they have a couple of pods of up to 80 killer whales total that they generally find and this cruise went from 3-7 hours depending when they found them. Anyway, went downstairs and booked another tour for tomorrow that we have to meet downstairs at 7.45am. Was $135 Canadian plus taxes. Then did photos and diary and got to skype Mel at home, then she went to olds because Madi was there and Rhiley was ‘off sick’, bloody kids have sickies already. Mum was there but didn’t get to chat, just had to lipread and watch her body language while holding Lilly. Is after 11pm here now so have to get to bed. Will upload heaps of photos tomorrow.
Mon 8 Aug Blue Horizon Vancouver
Got up and didn’t pack too much warm gear. Joanne got some biscuit brekkie. While waiting, guys cleaning footpath with high pressure just says – You Have To Move. Arrogant bugger. I think he heard me or he got a bit nicer next time he asked. Out to Steveston Village to start out whale tour. Is with Vancouver Whale Watch who have 95% success rate (I think that is Orcas – at least at this time of year) and will let you go again if you don’t see whales, that won’t help us, but is valid for life. They gave us all long wet pants and sweater, wet jacket, gloves and beanie. Lucky because it was a beautiful sunny day, I wasn’t expecting it to be cold. Breezy on open boat and bit chilly all rugged up, but then sun went away and it was cold. Sun came out again which was great. Saw seals (did I mention the difference that seals don’t walk on front flippers, sea lions do – and one has visible ears one doesn’t). Saw dolphins at an area where the sea boils up in shallower water, is the borderline between USA and Canada and called Border Passage. Saw bald eagles too which was cool, finally got a decent photo. Then through islands and saw one owned by Oakley sunnies guy who left goats on the island which was cool. Had little snack which was good, along with little nap. Then, we start heading home – have you noticed the 95% success rate has failed! Bloody killer whales – they don’t exist I’m sure. Mind you, statue of one had a little fin which means black and white ‘dolphin’ I called on ship may have been an orca. Anyway, got our guarantee, we can go again for free. Is first time they haven’t seen whales in as long as anyone can remember. Had lovely cod and chips at town and slept on bus on way home. Will have some leftover Indian and then have an early night so that flight tomorrow is easy enough to stay awake and watch movies the whole more than 10 hours.

Additional photos below
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Wasilla campaign carWasilla campaign car
Wasilla campaign car

Yes - it is Sarah Palin's hometown.

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