Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alaska Cruise 2010

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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!!


  1. Nice pictures Sonja. I think in a couple of years we'll take a cruise to Alaska with the kids. I am thinking it would be an easy ride for Isabel.
    I am curious though why you all took a cruise to Alaska when Chris's family is from there.

  2. I think you guys would love an Alaskan cruise. It's excellent for folks with mobility challenges. Chris' grandfather came along for the ride and although he's pretty unsteady on his feet and can't walk very far, there was always a lounge chair nearby and elevators between decks. It worked out well for our group.

    As for choosing an Alaska cruise, there were a couple reasons. First, it's easy to forget just how giant this state really is and just because you've seen (or lived) in one part, that doesn't mean that another part is at all similar. SE Alaska is lush and tropical in comparison to the rest of the state. The glaciers are accessible and the wildlife viewing is unparalleled. Most Alaskans have never been to their state capital of Juneau because it's so remote. Plus, everyone was down for Megan's graduation, why not make a vacation out of the trip back home? It was fun. :)

  3. Hahahha.. the picture of that bear (in a museum, I presume?) totally freaked me out as I was scrolling down. Those are gorgeous pictures; thanks for sharing!