In August, we made a big check mark on our Life List. We went to Alaska. On a cruise. With a balcony. And, yes, it was amazing.
We flew to Seattle and spent a couple of days there in glorious weather. We walked, drank hometown coffee, ate, walked some more, and had a great night at Safeco Field. After those two fantastic days, we were off to a great start.
We boarded the Holland America Westerdam looking forward to an even more amazing week. We enjoyed the first day at sea by relaxing, reading, eating… there was a lot of eating on this trip. First stop was Juneau. Juneau, Alaska! We couldn’t believe we were actually there. The weather welcomed us with fog, rain, cold, but as we always say, at least it’s raining on vacation. Little did we know, this would be the only lackluster weather we would have the entire week. Our helicopter excursion to the glacier was cancelled because of weather, so we walked. We took the tram to Mt. Roberts to get an expansive foggy view of Juneau. And this was the point when our choice of Alaska really sank in. We saw bald eagles in the trees.
Day 3 was at sea, with a special afternoon at the Hubbard Glacier. This is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, with a calving face of about 6 miles. It is estimated that the ice takes 400 years to travel from the Yukon to the face, where the ice stands 5-10 stories high. We stood out on a deck in sunshine and watched ice all afternoon. Tim caught some amazing video, including this huge tower falling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjtXME9-bNE We loved the entire day.
In Sitka, we saw a bear preserve (http://www.fortressofthebear.org/), a bird rescue sanctuary (http://www.alaskaraptor.org/), salmon jumping & so many starfish (http://www.sitkasoundsciencecenter.org/?page_id=18). And we ate a reindeer hotdog – excellent. Sitka was where we learned more about preservation of animals and the land. We all must do our part.
In Ketchikan, we saw tourists! And shopping! Wow! We chose a boat excursion here though, taking the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour (http://56degreesnorth.com/). As Deadliest Catch fans from way back, this was a must. We spent several hours on the Aleutian Ballad (the boat that took the rogue wave hit in season 2). We heard stories, saw them bring pots in, got up close and personal with King Crab and Snow Crab, and even got a view of a 40lb octopus that was caught snacking on the crab in the first pot. Again, we saw eagles in the trees, whales spouting, and a local salmon boat bringing in their catch. A great day.
Next stop was a beautiful evening in Victoria, British Columbia. We walked along the harbor, found some crab cakes to snack on, met a jewelry maker who told us his Michelin tire story, and walked through a night market. Our awesome vacation was coming to an end. By the next morning, we were docking in Seattle, hopping in a taxi and heading to the airport. Both of us were already thinking of the next time …