Showing posts with label Cruise Ship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cruise Ship. Show all posts

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 24: Seward and another Boat Tour

July 13

Today we left the Celebrity Millenium Cruise Ship.  Debarking proved to be a no fuss no muss process, a job well done overall by the cruise ship.

Here's a coincidence for you, back in May of 2013, I was in Steward riding my 2011 Ural Patrol Valencia.  I wrote on the blog how my stay at Seward was cut short as I saw this cruise ship come in and I expected hordes of people to flood the little town of Seward.

Link to the 2013 posting:  LINK.

Here's pics from that 2013 posting:

From May 10, 2013

If the ship looks familiar, its because its the same cruise ship that I just arrived on as a passenger on July 13, 2018!

We were led to our bus, along with 24 other people, who would go tour Seward Bay and Fox Island later in the morning.

We first visited the Alaska Sealife Center and toured the various sea life exhibits:

 Tufted Puffin

 A Sea Anemone you could touch if you wished.
I passed.

 Spotted Seal swimming about.

Steller Sea Lion

We also walked about a bit and I found the spot where the 0 mile marker for the Iditarod is marked:

If the above picture seems familiar, it's because I posed Valencia at the same spot a little over five years ago!

May 2013

 Larry on a replica of the iditarod sleds

Back on the bus, it was a short ride to the tour boat that would take us to lunch on Fox Island and then some wildlife sightseeing.

Our tour boat

Lunch on Fox Island was pretty nice and well organized.  After lunch, we reboarded the boat and went looking for whales and other wild life.

Yep, another Alaskan Glacier

Then, we found some whales, the circling birds would give away the whales' location and their sudden activity in flight would presage the whales coming to the surface some of the time.

A small bubble feed?

Closeup view of the previous pic

 At another spot, we saw a bunch of seals resting

As we headed into the tour boat's home harbor, we spotted a couple of eagles just watching over things.

Not a bad Wildlife Boat Tour, and the lunch was excellent. 

Back on the bus, it was a short ride into the outskirts of Seward to the Windsong Lodge where we'd booked rooms for the night.

Tomorrow: Anchorage.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 23: Hubbard Glacier

Today was the "Big Finale" for the cruise.  The Hubbard Glacier, stretching over 76 miles from its origin in the Yukon Territory to Disenchantment Bay in Alaskan waters.

We'd been told we'd get as close as 1/2 mile....well, conditions were excellent today and the captain got us  much closer than 1/4 mile!  He apparently beat his previous record from last year in terms of getting close.  The Alaskan Tour guide who's been doing presentations on upcoming locales said he'd never been this close in 15 summers of doing this.

 The view from our breakfast table.

 And then the ice floes started getting larger....

 I think that upper portion of ice in the distance is 
Valerie Glacier which merges at this point with Hubbard Glacier

 The ship would get even closer....

 This was, as you can see, the closest we got to the glacier.
To my eyes, we were closer than a ship's length!

 The blue ice is the compressed ice, recently exposed to
the air, as it melts, it'll reflect more colors till one
can see the normal "white" of ice.

 On the right, the opening into Russell Fjord
Hubbard Glacier continues to advance and will eventually
close off Russell Fjord, creating Russell Lake!

 The western edge of the Glacier's edge....

 Toasting a successful viewing of the glacier 
with Champagne back at our cabins

Exiting back into Yakutat Bay, headed for open water and Seward.

The Pilot Boat recovering the Pilot who guided the
ship into Disenchantment Bay....

During lunch, we passed by Moun St. Elias
over 18,000 feet in height!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 22: Scootering in Skagway, AK

Jul 11

Again we woke docked to a new port.  This time it was Skagway, AK, Garden City of Alaska apparently.

Serving as an entry point into the interior via either the Chilkoot or White Pass route for "Stampeders", the wannabe miners of the Gold Rush, to the town of Dawson City in the Yukon Territory.  Skagway, with the help of a railroad and a reputation for being less difficult than Chilkoot Pass; remains today while the town of Dyea has withered to nothing.

The regular population of Skagway is 832, today it swelled by more than 12000 tourists!

 Our initial view of Skagway, we were sharing the port
with four other cruise ships.

Martha had arranged for us to rent a couple of scooters for a guided group ride.  Turns out we were the only two to sign up so it was more of a personal guided tour by the guide, Rob.

 Lower Reid Falls, near the old town cemeteryt

 Scenic viewpoint overlooking Skagway and the cruise ships
in the harbor

  That's our guide, Rob, waiting patiently for me
to take pictures

 Overlook of the site where the Bark, Canada, come to rest
after being abandoned.

 Not part of the regular tour, we got shown a real
fixer-upper of a shack.  Known as the squatter's shack.

 Views near the site of Dyea, showing the shallows that
made it a very unsuitable harbor back in the day.

 View from a bridge on the Taiya river, of a small glacier

 Rob, our guide, also took us down by the river where they do kayaking and such:

 These little 50cc Honda Ruckus scooters did very good 
on the dirt and gravel roads we traversed.

 The sandy conditions led to Rob's Honda Ruckus toppling over.
It was fine though.

 A view of the mountain peaks as we made our way
back to town.

 Martha finds Godzilla

 Scooters returned safely with no mishaps, a successful
tour by scooter of the Skagway sights!

 Like this old miner, we were done and ready to return
to the ship.

 Snow blower 

Pretty good day of scootering, weather held out and we were barely sprinkled on at times.  A bit windy though, which makes the Tlingit name origin of Skagway makes sense: Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, that are caused by strong north winds

Martha, I'm very happy to report, did great on her scooter!