Saturday, August 3, 2013

Glacier Bay - Alaska Part II July 9 -13th

We cruised through Glacier Bay National Park on July 9th.  We had three Rangers who came aboard to advise us of sights, gave lectures and provided materials about the Park.  They greatly added to the experience.  I had no idea what to expect and it was amazing.  We got up very early to try to spot whales and we saw several, but quick glimpses of their water spouts or tails.  I do not want to be an animal photographer, they are elusive.

The glaciers were taller than our huge ship.  We could hear them "calving" and it sounded just like thunder.  We did see a small section crumble and crash into the sea.  Scenery and nature took up our entire day of cruising.  The raw beauty of Alaska is evident here.  Our guides said they had not seen such a clear day in 12 years, so we were very lucky.

Teal water from the glacial melt
This glacier was taller than our ship
Margerie Glacier
Blue sky day instead of rain or fog --
the usual weather.
Our naturalist told us he had not seen
a day this beautiful in 12 years.
Chunks of glacier look like blue ice cubes
It was pretty chilly up on the deck
My best whale picture
Tail is right in the middle (right to left), a bit higher
than middle of picture (top to bottom).  You can barely
see it is picture.  It was exciting though.
Beautiful mountains in background
Ship had 4 pools, 5 hot tubs
We never used one.
After a deep breath of all the clean air, we headed out of the glaciers toward Ketchican.  This port was a picturesque fishing village.  We took in the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show - fun and corny.
Ketchican, AK
Throwing a hatchet
Log rolling
After the show we went on a tour to Totem Bight State Park, home to 14 totem poles (replicas), each telling their own story, and a replica 19th-century clan house, offering a look into the Tlingit and Haida Indian cultures.  Most original totem poles were destroyed long ago due to rot in the moist Pacific Northwest rainforest, and certain Christian missionaries reviled the totem pole as an object of heathen worship; they urged converts to stop making totems and to destroy the existing poles. Any rescued original totem poles are stored in various Canadian museums in temperature controlled displays. 
The lodge
Back on the ship and headed for our last port of call, Victoria, British Columbia.  John and I have been here several times.  Only had 3 1/2  hours here, so a quick shuttle into town, window shopping, coffee and back to the ship.
Our ship was just huge
Mother and baby whale topiary
Downtown Victoria
The beautiful Empress Hotel
That's one big Mountie
Back to our ship for final night
as we cruise to Seattle

The trip was perfect.  So many new discoveries, scenery to captivate.  We will never forget our Alaskan experiences. 
Landed in Seattle, got our car and headed to Olympia to visit my friend, Colleen.  We've been friends since 7th grade -- a friendship of 50 years.  We had a short, but fun visit.  Talked and talked, went to the Farmer's Market and got some great fruit.  We had a nice seafood lunch and went to the Tumwater Falls Park.  Visited the State Capitol building, no surprise there.  It was the weekend so I didn't get a chance to go inside.
Washington State Capitol
John - hiding
(sort of Pink Pantherish)
View from capitol building
Tumwater Falls Park
Friends for 50 years
We met in junior high 1963