I have to admit that when we rolled into Juneau, I was a bit disappointed at first. It was raining and the trip was coming to an end. It had been absolutely perfect up to that point, so I couldn’t see how Juneau was going to add to the trip. However, I kept my head up and thought about my Alaskan friend, Cara, who had grown up in this town. I wanted to finally see through her eyes and live the beauty she had shared with me for years.
Ray and I got out our guide book and decided to do a “walking tour” through the town. We followed the suggested paths, stopped off at the places they recommended, got totally soaked and had a fantastic day in Juneau.
We started off with a trip to this tiny museum that hard all sorts of eclectic things, from Harley Davidson posters to Tlingit traditional feathers. Strangely enough, Juneau has the highest number of motorcycle owners per capita. It’s a rather bizarre idea, since it rains here constantly and there are only 91 miles of road. Roads here end and don’t connect with other cities, like in other […read more…]
Today, we woke up early to the sound of our engine starting and then slowing down. As it happens, we picked up some Park Rangers who were going to go explore the glacier with us. The rangers camp for 9 days, then are home for 5 and do this type of rotation for 6 months. They were smiling even though they were very cold last night and had to put their tents away in freezing rain. I think any chance for a meal not consisting of trail mix and oat meal puts a smile on their face! […read more…]
This morning we left our anchorage around 6:30am in search of whales. Before breakfast, we saw some blowhole puffs in the distance, but nothing closeby. Soon after our delicious feast, as if on cue, we saw almost a dozen whales. One in particular is quite memorable, a humbpack putting on a show for us. He was flapping around his pectoral fins, while on his back. He’d jump up out of the water and lay on his back and just kept playing around!
Later in the day, we took a skiff ride out near Sail Island where we got a chance to spot some sea lions, grunting and calling at each other other. What was quite impressive was learning that they can open their nostrils to breath and close them when diving. This was discovered after we snapped the shot above. The sea lions were quite interested in us. They kept appropaching the skiff and flapping around. Their calls sound like really loud burps!
Someone else was quite interested in us as well–a humpback whale who came toward us, under us and circled around us! What an adrenaline rush to get a large mammal up close and […read more…]
Yesterday evening turned out to be a bit of a surprise. We jumped into the kayak after applying some natural Burt’s Bees bug repellent, which smells incredible! Not sure if it works as well as deet, but it was a relaxing smell while out in the middle of the ocean.
We kayaked around Scenic Cove off of the Baird glacier. The water was cool and I decided that it was time to take an Alaskan dip! Ray didn’t require much encouragement and we quickly changed into our swim attire. As I stepped ont o the swimboard, I became very aware of the temperature, having the glacier give the air and water an even cooler feel. However, after announcing our tomfoolery, there was no turning back!!
With the crew cheering us on and our shipmates kayaking in the distance, Ray started with a running jump high in the air, and I followed timidly after he got to the swim step. The water was certainly a shock, but after I was out of the water, I felt exhilarated and did not really feel cold. I suppose it was because the air was warmer than the water! We went toward the […read more…]
Petersburg, Alaska is a quaint little fishing town. A sea lion greeted us when he arrived yesterday, so I thought I’d post his photo–he really enjoys all the ground up fish waste that comes from the hatchery and clearly the seagulls enjoy it as well! As I last posted, we had a chance to take an evening walk around the town last night. We docked for the night and had the opportunity to go on and off the boat as we pleased. The tide was so incredibly low that many of the boats were completely stranded.
Being a Norwegian settlement, the style of houses here were right out of a gnomish fairy tale, with their blue shudders, lace curtains and overflowing flower buckets. Ray and I went to the only Catholic Church in town and as we walked back, I was taking in all the colors of the houses and the beautiful murals drawn all over the town against the grey sky. It’s hard to imagine that most of the year it is only light from 11-3pm and then when there is light, is either rainy or grey, as the whole inside passage is part of the Tongas, […read more…]
This morning we woke up and ate delicious orange French toast with berry compote, sausage and fruit. We did a bit of motoring in the morning and finally got to St. John’s Bay.
Though it was pouring rain as we arrived, once we changed into our rain gear, the sun came out and we were able to do some skiffing and kayaking around to explore the different islands and watch eagles fly overhead.
Ray and I found an abandoned boat and kayaked around it a bit, until our kayak got stuck on a rock. We were able to pull out with no problems, but apparently another kayak had gone out and come back to the boat and as they were pulling in, one person fell into the cold water. There has been talk of all of us jumping into the cold water and then running up to the hot tub, but I guess Shirley, the British oncology research scientist, beat us to the punch!
Tonight, we’ll reach Petersburg, where I’ll hopefully be able to post these last few days, if we happen to find internet at the public library and a usb plug! I have a feeling […read more…]
We awoke early this morning to do a 7am hike to Margaret Creek. This was another place where you had to have a boat or sea plane to hike here! The total hike was around 5 miles. We observed several black bears playing in the river, grabbing at salmon. One mother and her two cubs came along and attempted to eat some salmon before spotting a male bear and running away by the threat of being attacked. Ray snapped up this great shot of a black bear that was around 3 feet away from us. He seemed pretty afraid since we were towering over him on an inclined hill. I guess the trick with black bears if you encounter them on a trail is to lift up your hands, making yourself look larger and slowly stepping away, while talking to them, telling them you are human. I?m not sure that telling them you aren?t a bear is really pertinent, but that is what the guide books say to do!
We then headed back to the yacht for some delicious lunch, filled with cinnabons and eggs benedict all home made delicious goodies. Any attempt to use the adventurous travel […read more…]
I woke up with a card next to my pillow-Ray had found a honey bear (which is his nickname) and a card that made smooching noises! How sweet! I know I say this all the time now, but how quickly time has passed. In just five years of knowing each other, four years of being married, how much we’ve learned about each other, experienced in our lives together and apart and how much we’ve grown in general. Just in the last five years, Ray has been to 15 countries and I’ve been to 18 countries. The amount of learning and experience that takes place in a few years of marriage is immense and adding these experiences on top of everything just makes you think about how much more there is to learn and understand in this beautiful world.
This morning, after having our blackberry pancakes, we headed up to the bow and looked at some pictographs which were possibly Klinkit. These were territorial markings. Although Klinkits are a matriarchal society, the women were responsible for grinding up the paints by chewing fish eggs in their mouths. The deepest red pigment would come from sockeye salmon eggs. I can’t really […read more…]
We woke up early since our room is above a propeller and headed to the 8am breakfast. After the feast, I grabbed tea, Ray grabbed coffee and we headed to the deck to read and write. After a few hours of relaxing, the yacht got into Walker’s Cove, fjords surrounded us and a light rain created a mist off the mountains, certainly a glorious sight. We jumped into our sea kayak in our rain gear and spent the rest of the day exploring coves, chasing after harbour seals and birds and watching the shoreline for bears. This was certainly a tranquil location. Looking up at the mountains and the vast seas makes you realize how glorious God is and how amazing it is that we can see His work around us.
At one point, the captain put the bow up to a big waterfall and Ray and I got a bit of cold water rushing over us! The Misty Fjords area we were in had thousands of water falls. Pulling your kayak up under a waterfall creates an impression. There are many people in this world that have never even seen a waterfall and here we were, almost […read more…]
We took an early morning flight from Vancouver to Prince Rupert Island, Canada. Upon arrival, a bus took us down a road and onto a ferry which crossed over the sea to the main part of the island. A large amount of the population of 12,000 people own boats as their major source of transportation. Prince Rupert is one of these towns that peaks my curiosity. I often wonder how people can live in such small and remote towns. Prince Rupert’s only industries for quite some time were fishing and mining. However, they now have plans to expand the shipping port and related infrastructure. If all goes according to plan, they will be one of the largest ports in the northwest. Apparently, the in the winter, when there is light only from 11-3pm, people in the town read a lot or become really good at video games. Because of a performing arts center installed in 1987, the children of the town have become experts at dancing and several of them have gone on to make careers out of the sport years later. The common sentiment is that in a small and remote place, a person tends to become […read more…]