The first day and a half we were in Vancouver. We spent the first morning walking the city, then rented bikes. We biked around Stanley Park and eventually all around the city. The next morning we saw China town and the touristy gas town district. Click on the link below to see pictures of Vancouver.
The Diamond Princess
Saturday afternoon we boarded the ship and left Vancouver. It was the 4th of July, but since we were in Canada, they did not have fireworks. We flew in the day after their national celebration Canada Day. After leaving Vancouver we spent a day at sea. Honestly, if you are going to skip an album, skip this one. Most of the pictures are the typical cruise ship pics.
|Day 1 & 2|
On Monday we arrived in Ketchikan at 6am. Luckily we were still on Eastern time, so it did not seen quite as early. We hopped on a bus to totem bight park where we saw the first of many totem poles as well as a Bald Eagle. The ships naturalist was with us, so she showed us some interesting sea life on the beach.
Next we headed back to town and in the opposite direction to Saxton Village where we saw even more totem poles. The most interesting thing was talking to the master totem pole carver. Last, we took a walking tour of Ketchikan including the famous creek street. Use the link below to see our pictures.
The evening after leaving Ketchikan the naturalist told us it may be a good opportunity to see whales, and it was.
In Juneau we headed directly to the Mendenhall Glacier. We did not take any tours so that we would have the opportunity to go at our own pace and would avoid the crowds. We spent about 4 hours on various hikes around the park and even got our feet wet in the cold glacier water. After 4 hours, Dylan had to make me leave. I could have stayed there all day.
Next we took a tour of a salmon hatchery. They breed the salmon at the hatchery, but then let the salmon go into the wild. The salmon return to the same location where they were born to lay their eggs, and I am pretty sure that is when they become dinner. It seems a little cruel, but it sure is yummy.
In Juneau there is a tram that takes visitors to the top of Mt. Roberts for a spectacular view. Do you think that we would really take the tram when there is a hiking path? It was an intense but rewarding hike up the Mountain, and we took the tram back down when we were done. Last we took a walking tour of Juneau and were the last ones to board the ship. Dylan's pedometer said that we walked 28 miles that day. Pictures below.
Next was Skagway, an old gold rush boom town. We took the White Pass railroad into Canada. You will see many beautiful pictures from the train ride. After the train we took a historic walking tour led by a park ranger. I am normally not the biggest fan of historical talks, but she was interesting. After that we took the 2 mile walk out of town to the cemetery, and then a hike from there to a beautiful waterfall. Then we took a self guided walking tour and finished up the day. Pictures below.
We got up at 4:45 am to try and see whales, unfortunately as we were able to see a few a thick fog came in and we had little visibility. In the towns we visited we were surprised with how warm we were, but we never expected to be hot in Glacier Bay. As we were leaving Glacier bay we passed back through the Icy Straights, the same area where we had seen whales in the morning. This area was extremely windy and a little chilly. We did see whales, but due to the crazy wind the pictures were not that great. There was a whale that continued to show with belly flops. My favorite is of a seal eating a fish.
That evening was the last formal night with lobster for dinner. This was definitely my favorite meal as I love lobster. We also tried cavier. Dylan finished his plate, I did not. I didn't particularly like it, so why eat it.
We were able to see more wild life including more seals and a cute mommy and baby sea otter. Apparently the weather and conditions were perfect that we were able to get much closer than normal to the Harvard Glacier. The glacier was extremely active and was calving often. We saw chunks of ice larger than our house fall off of the glacier and it makes a huge cannon sound as it hits the water. It really is amazing to be so close to such a huge glacier.
Whittier, Kenai Peninsula, and Anchorage
On Saturday morning we exited the ship in Whittier. We had arranged for transportation and were told that we were getting a free upgrade to the scenic tour. Great, except that we had hoped to get our rental car and see a few things before a 12:30 am flight. We ended up seeing amazing beautiful things, and have no regrets. Once in our rental car we headed north east from Anchorage through some beautiful mountains and ended up at the Matanuska Glacier. This was definitely a highlight of the trip. After signing away our lives we hiked on and around the glacier. The pictures do not truly show what it was like. The glacier moves 1-5 feet per day, and we could hear the water flowing underneath us. We saw others that had ice shoes, but we just had tennis shoes, so luckily no twisted ankles.
One thing about Alaska that is hard to get used to is the light. The sun set around 11:30 pm and rises about 4:30 am and dusk also last much longer. It was still plenty bright out as we headed to the airport.
|Whittier and Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage|