Thursday, July 6, 2017

At Sea And On Land (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

The Wednesday of our Alaska cruise was unique. In the morning we sailed through a fjord. Later in the day, we docked in Juno, Alaska, where Hubby Tony and I went on a whale-watching adventure (complete with a salmon dinner) and got to see a glacier up close.

View from our balcony when I woke up
We didn't want to miss anything, so we ate breakfast early.  After breakfast we did a few laps on the ship's Promenade Deck, multitasking by getting exercise while watching the scenery go by. This was the only time I used my winter coat, but I was glad I did.  The wind was brisk, and it was cold enough for icebergs.

Iceberg calf
Originally the plan was to sail into Tracy Arm Fjord. However, several weeks before the cruise that changed because Tracy Arm had too much floating ice.  Instead, the ship was diverted to Endicott Arm. I just wanted to see the area up close, so the specific fjord didn't matter to me (and I doubt I would have been able to tell the difference).  While we sailed into the fjord the naturalist was on the ship's bridge, talking about what we were seeing.  You could hear her remarks from the speakers on several decks, but  they were also broadcast over the ship's TV.  Because we were fortunate to have a balcony, we saved the open decks for those without one, turned up the TV volume, and left the door open so we could hear.

The ship sailed in as close as it could get to the Dawes Glacier, where it turned around for the trip back out.  However, before it did the passengers who signed up for a glacier tour got off onto tender boats and we watched them sail away.  The naturalist had promised the ship would do a 360 degree turn so everyone could see everything.  However, it was a 540 degree turn to get the ship bow pointed in the right direction.

See the glacier in front of the mountains?
After the ship turned around we went back inside, and the rest of the morning and early afternoon was more 'at sea' time.  We docked at Juno mid-afternoon.  Tony and I had signed up for a tour that included a salmon dinner, whale watching, and a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier.  We left the ship and did some shopping before it was time to get on the shuttle bus for our tour. 

The bus drove us to a dock where we boarded a whale watching ship large enough to hold several dozen people.  Our first stop was Orca Point Lodge, where we had a lovely grilled salmon dinner.  Then we got back on the boat and headed out to find some whales.  The tour guaranteed we would see some, and offered a refund if they couldn't find any. At first it was slow going (and I was afraid we would be receiving the refund), but all of a sudden we came upon a pod.  The first indication was seeing a spout of exhaled air from the whale's blowhole, followed by its arching back, and then the fluking, where the tail rises up out of the water as the whale dives.  The whole procedure is awe-inspiring.  I was sad that I wasn't quick enough to get a good photo of the event.

After we returned to the dock it was time for the third part of our adventure.  Because of changes to the ship's schedule, we knew that by the time we arrived at the Mendenhall Glacier the visitor center would be closed, but we were still able to walk down to an observation point for some photos.  I have never seen a glacier in person, but now I can cross that off my bucket list.

Glacier selfie
Five years ago today: Sew It Then Throw It


  1. Whale watching's also on some people's bucket lists! A balcony's also a nice treat!

    1. This is the second time we've had a balcony on a cruise ship. I'm getting spoiled.....

  2. This is so cool. You're bringing back such lovely memories.

  3. I've got that exact picture, you can tell we were just days apart in taking it. The tracks are still there. I decided to give up my effort of trying to get whale pictures. I didn't want to miss anything. It is awesome. It was funny, the day we were in the area, the lady came on the speaker and said she just realized she had been talking for two hours and no one could hear her. So nice to read your post to know exactly what I was looking at. I honestly didn't know that was a glacier in front of the mountains. Though this makes no sense it just looked like and iced over road that drop off into the ocean. See, some narration would have helped.

    1. I've already forgotten a lot of what the naturalist said, but I do remember that those lines weren't tracks. I think they may be different sections.