Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alaska Cruise 2010

Alaska Cruise in a larger map

Following Megan's graduation from UW, the J Family headed north for a seven day Alaska cruise. Our ports of call: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and a few hours in Glacier National Bay and Prince William Sound. 
Alaska never fails to astound me with its sheer variety of environments. 
Southeast Alaska is quite different from Anchorage and Fairbanks in that it has more of a temperate rainforest environment. It rains 300 days a year in Skagway. Or so we were told. We were quite fortunate in that the weather, especially on the last day, while a bit chilly, was beautiful. 
Hopping off the boat in Ketchikan, we strolled down the famous Creek Street, ate chocolate at Kethicandies, and took in the view from the hotel above the town. 
In Juneau, we zipped down to Mendenhall Glacier and toured the Alaska Brewing Company. The rest of the gang strolled by the Governor's casa and climbed the mountain above the town while I opted for a nice 4 hour nap. And a tour of the buffet line. Different priorities, clearly. 

In Skagway we admired the historic railroad, moseyed around town, and soaked up some local goldmining history. 
And then, it was back on the ship for some glacier tours. 

 Glacier Bay National Park did not disappoint. Beyond magnificent. Amazing what drastic changes upon the environment a little bit of compacted ice can wrought. 

And the animals. The animals were very cool. 
Never before have I seen rafts of sea otters. 

Or seals sunning themselves on ice burgs. 

We spent some significant time out-of-doors. 

Photo: Alex J. 

 Enjoying the view...

 And then we would freeze and have to dash inside for food and warm beverages.

 It's a tough life, those cruises. 
 We spotted a lone grizzly, grazing among the bushes along the bank. What I would have given for a longer lens. Instead, I managed to drop my lens on the deck of the ship and it would have made a lovely splash into Glacier Bay had Megan not displayed some quick footwork. Those mad soccer skills really came in handy. 

 One last picture of Mendenhall Glacier. 

 Amazing, the color of compacted ice. 

 Thank you Bob and Cherie, we had a wonderful time!!