Monday, June 2, 2014

alaska - second post

Monday, 5/26: Today was a day at sea in the ship; pleasant enough, but of little interest if you weren’t here. I got a few pictures of the ship:

(Adult Sundeck? What goes on there?)

Just a few other things: first we were dragged off course when we had to have a passenger taken away by Med-Evac helicopter; we had to get close enough to shore fir the chopper to reach us, which will make is a bit late tomorrow. I have no details of the patient, but with the surfeit of excellent food that is a feature of these cruises, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were a contributing factor to his problem.

Second, we were alone in the room, and TEW was idly looking out the window, when she shouted that she’d seen a whale... or at least a spouting. I jumped up, and a moment later, I saw it, too. I feel all Herman Melville.

Third, my back’s been bothering me; TEW insisted I bring a cane I sometimes use when I’m going to be standing for a long time. I’m glad she did; it;s been a great help (almost as much o9f a help as a 60-mile ride). After dinner, We went to the library to sit (decent chairs there, for one thing), and there was, among other people, a fellow about my age, asleep. A younger woman came in and woke him, and he said he’d been told to leave the bar and couldn’t find anywhere else to go. Hrmph! Even on cruise ships, the people thrown out of bars go to libraries when no place else will have them!

Tues, 5/27: Today was our first day scheduled to be in Alaska. Because a guest on the ship needed to be Med-Evac-ed out yesterday, we were an hour lat getting into Juneau. We were assured that our excursion would be held for us, and the time would be shifted so that we got the whole thing.

Prior to that, though, we had the morning (and much of the afternoon) on the ship. We were smitten with the Alaska landscape; we tried to find words to describe it and failed: “awesome” has been overused, even “majestic” seemed trite. One of the things that struck me was that this landscape seems newer than landscapes on the east coast; I saw no beaches - instead, the mountains go right into the sea (in fact, just below the highest mountains are some of the deepest parts of the bay).

TEW is to be part of a “flash mob” tomorrow; below are some pics of the rehearsal.

Below, disembarking at Juneau. We got on a boat, and went around the bay. The excursion, to see wildlife in the area, promised our money back if we didn’t see whales. In short order, they earned their money. Below, a humpback whale (this one is actually known to the tour directors).

Some Steller’s Sea Lions on a buoy.

An unexpected treat: a pod of orcas (they are not rare here, but neither are they commonly seen):

The map of what we saw, and where:

My blow-up of flukes from one of the shots above.

Wednesday, 5/28: This morning, we landed in Skagway, a town made by the gold rush of 1898. Some enterprising Easterners decided that they could make money off the miners by building a railway over the White Pass... but by the time the railway was operational, the gold rush had passed. Still, Skagway exists today as a tourist town and one of the few coastal towns in Alaska available by road.

We went up to the pass on the railway this morning. Our locomotive was a diesel, but they still have a number of the old steam engines.

I took almost 100 pictures of the cloudy, snowy mountains, the valleys, the rocky terrain... but just a few of them were worth anything at all.

I like that one of the train going over the wooden trestle and into the tunnel.

After the train ride, we went around Skagway to see the town. Perhaps because of the gold rush theme, there are more jewelry stores in Skagway than anywhere I’ve ever seen. We let them go, and did our laundry in the spiffy laundry-and-gas-station.

The buildings in the downtown were all either really 19th-century, or made to look that way. This Arctic Brotherhood clubhouse was unique, though, covered in branches in a basketweave pattern. (The businesses the locals actually use are hidden away from the downtown.)

We got an engaging Asian man to get a picture of us.

And we are on this ship, the Pearl.

And, because it will light up my excellent mother-in-law to see it, a picture of us dressed up at dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment