Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Family, Friends, the new relatives from across the pond---I think everyone had a great time.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Unlike Ketchican which was cloudy and overcast-- it actually rained on us in Juneau-- but we met an amazing family running a small business-- Harv and Marv's-- They are two friends who have known each other since high school who 4 years ago started their whale watching business. Jay (Harv) was an amazing man who lives "off grid" meaning he lives on an island --uses solar energy, collects rain water, catches fish and canoues to work each day (to the marina). Now I know what your thinking... but no he's not crazy-- he's not happy about living in poverty (this will be the first year his business will make a profit) he just made a choice to live a different lifestyle... along with the 39 other families that live on Shelter Island. Anyway we were picked up at port by his father in-law-- Sandy was a nice older gentleman who took us to the marina where we boarded a small metal 6 person boat and met Jay-- Jay took us out to find Whales-- we laughed as he told us about his money back guarentee if we didn't see a whale.. he was holding a plastic toy whale... thus we wouldn't get our money back... seriously he said he has been lucky that they have always found them... And we did that day... along with seals... and a huge Eagle's nest. We could have spent all day with Jay-- he was smart and entertaining. Shared his views on politics and turmoil cruise ships caused in Alaska.. the good for the economy and the bad for locals. I like him.. I like what he stood for. And could have talked to him for hours... As for the whales-- they are huge creature.. and you find them by scanning the water looking for the blow-- and Eureka when you did you knew you were in store for a show.. over and over they surfaced.. and then finally when you saw the tail you knew they would be gone soon... Jay took us to multiple spots and at each one we searched and luckily we saw multipe whales...
After our Whale watching adventure -- Sandy met us back at the dock. Our next item of the day was to go to Mendenhall Glacier. Sandy gladly said he would drop us off their.. What we weren't expecting is that he said if we would meet him in two hours he would gladly take us back to town.. WOW that is customer service at its best. We took him up on his offer and hiked down to see the Glacier.
Just as we arrived a broken peice floating glacier started turning in the water.. pretty amazing. -- Seeing glacier was an unbeleiveable sight.. monsterous peice of ice. And the color-- the bluest blue... we were told that on a sunny day we wouldn't have seen the color as easily-- ahh bring on the rain!!!
After our hike down to see the glacier we headed to the visitor center-- learned more about glaciers and how how they have moved and receeded over the years.
My Dad had seen the Red Onion Saloon on our way out of town and really wanted to eat there.. what a fun place.. a piano player who got the crowd singing -- and by that time any food was a good thing! He decided he had enough day and headed back to the ship... but we had heard of a Jewlery exhibit at the State Muesum so we headed off in the rain to walk about 6 blocks.. probably not what Mike needed to do... but he insisted on Joining us. It was a great exhibit and the Muesum had alot of historical memoriblia that told the history of the state. Glad we went.. but we sure were tired.
Again back at the ship we raced for dinner... hahaha seemed to be a pattern.. we skipped the show and headed back to our room after alittle window shopping....
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Today I scheduled an independent tour-- well really all of our tours were scheduled independly-- tours through the ship were too expensive and were a cattle herd of people. So I spent the time before we sailed and researched what was available and made our reservations with smaller companies. Todays tour was to Totem Bight Park. Here we learned about Totem Poles and how native americans lived. Once again the scenery was mind-blowing.... the walk through the forest amazing and the history we learned about clan housing informative. did you know that when they moved from summer housing to winter housing that they dismantled their clan house? Each family member was assigned boards to carry??? or that because the area was all rock that the dirt the trees had to grow in is only about 5 inches deep--very spongy to walk on? The trees actually wrap their roots around rocks.
After Touring we spent some time walking the city-- We went to Dollys house-- a famous madam who lived in town-- highlight of the tour?.. silk condems made into flowers on the shower curtain! hahaha ask me about it later!
It was behind Dollys house that we met an Eagle on the back porch-- Who realized how big they actually were? This one was injured and the Raptor center was trying to get him accustomed to people in small doses-- Great photo op!
Then it was on to Creek Street-- a few stores-- the local museum and then back aboard the ship--
We rushed to get ready for dinner and then went shopping in the mall on board the ship. I didn't buy anything but had a great time window shopping... unless you count buying cigarettes for $14.99 a carton..hey they may be bad for you but at half price who can resist? and they came in cute packaging.
After shopping we went to the celbrity theatre to see the comedy act of Michael James. Funny-- family fummy--
And then you know what we did next.... spent an hour or so on our veranda-- our favorite hiding place!
Monday, June 18, 2007
With highlighter in hand We all made our choices and planned out our day. I made the executive decision that Mike and I would go to a cooking demonstration. It was entertaining and tasty-- This was also our first time to meet Puto the bartender.. he put on a little cocktail making demonstration ala Tom Cruise-- again entertaining and tasty!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Our first day was Seattle & Vancouver where we boarded the ship- Unfortunately we did not have time to sightsee-- it was all we could do to get off the train with all the luggage--At the train station in Seattle we made our first true count of luggage-- Yes we had 11 pieces to transport with four bodies! 8 real suitcases, 3 large carryons, & one camera bag- that never left my side so it didn't make the official count... the rest of the trip it was that magical 11 that my mom was in charge of making sure we had.
Amazingly-- we came home with the same luggage we left with-- 2 train trips, 4 taxi rides, 8 flights between the four of us-- and no lost luggage!
The Train from Seattle to Vancouver was amazing-- The train itself was an Amtrak train-- very roomy with Seats that laid back and had recliner style leg rests-- fold down trays to put your stuff on-- Certainly a relaxing way to start out our vacation. And the scenery was like out of a picture book-- the pacific coast is beautiful with rocks, large trees, flowers and it was where we saw the first of many eagles we would see on our adventure.
Boarding the ship was an easy process-- security was much like the airport-- everything is screened as was everyone. Once we were on the ship they handed out Champagne- certainly a nice way to be greeted! And then we took one of the many glass elevators up the Waterfall Cafe (buffet area) for lunch-- It was amazing the choices of food available. From there we went outside on deck to see the Vancouver skyline. Much like any big city-- but it was Canada--so for me it that was enough to keep me busy looking!
Then we finally made our way to our rooms. We booked the concierge class- which included little special items like champagne, appetizers each night, special room service, nicer towels, bathrobes and a staff that was at our call-- literally if you stepped out into the hall they were there! Oh and a veranda that Mike and I practically lived on.
And if you didn't get enough to eat-- Dinner was at 6pm! Main dining room-- each night 4-5 course meal...now there were other places to dine onboard-- the buffet, the grill (hamburgers and such) the spa (healthy food) but we choose the Main dining room-- Seriously our waiter Ian took good care of us... but unlike other times you eat in a restaurant-- We had our waiter, his assistant, a bartender waiter, the sommelier and the maître d' all tending to us each night! Dinner was more like an event than it was a time to eat. And we enjoyed every moment of it. By luck the table we were assigned to was Table 506-- it was Aft (the back of the ship) right by the largest window on board. Our table mates were great -- they seemed to be down to earth people -a husband and wife, her sister and his Aunt- like us multi-generational- and we all agreed that rotating seats each night was the thing to do so everyone had a chance to stare off into the boats wake and see the mountains go by each night. That way no one spent the whole cruise with their back to the grand window. We truly felt lucky to have that table and spend our week dining with wonderful people.
After dinner there were shows, activities and such but we did alittle exploring and went to our room. Not the most exciting thing to do I am sure-- but we had unpacking to tend to-- and our first real chance to sit outside on our veranda.. a place we would retreat to quite often on this cruise. It was like our own private sancutary-- the ever changing view was better than tv-- theatre shows etc. We embraced each chance we got to just sit and stare off into the wilderness.