Category Archives: Alaska
Last Stop, Ketchikan!
My final port on my Alaskan cruise job was Ketchikan Alaska. The reason I have been able to do so many things is I work only when the boat is moving. Therefore, when we are at port I get off just as the guests do!
The very first thing I did in Ketchikan was go snorkeling. Now if you do remember I was talking about temperatures between 60F and 40F degree. Not Idea for snorkeling, however they gave us 7mm (thick) wet suits. With those wet suits, it turned that 50F ocean into bath water! I have seen so many things snorkeling before but I never actually handled anything before. The black spiny sea urchin was actually crawling around in my hand and that was really cool. Random fact I learned about those black spiny sea urchins: When I was in the Caribbean, I stepped on one by accident and my foot was numb for like 3 weeks! Down in the warm waters of the Caribbean they have the ability to sting you but up in the cold waters of Alaska that ability no longer works!
Next, I went on a tour of the Saxmen Village. Many Native American tribes still exist up North. We got to see a traditional ritual dance and actually got to participate as well. These dances are very sacred so being able to dance with them is very special. There village is also home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. As you know, each totem pole tells a story. You will see that some do not look finished; however, they all are as traditionally they are not always full of carvings all the way up.
One of my last adventures was to go crab fishing and ending the day with an all you can eat crab fest! This was amazing and full of surprises. I got to handle the crab when they pulled up the fishing pots! While the tour guide was talking about the crabs and the crab pots, I saw a bear moving around in the background. I politely interpreted the guide and said there was a bear behind her! We all immediately glued to the side of the boat closest to the bear. They were all so grateful for my observation. Bears are one of the rarest to see out here as a tourist because they mostly come out at night times. This was actually my second sighting. It was not over yet because on our way back we got to see Bald Eagles diving to the water like 10 feet away from our boat it was so amazing. Even though I only hand my phone, I actually managed to get some great action shots!
Well that was it for my Alaska tour. I hope the doctor will let me start my regular job tomorrow. I find out from the doctor today. My leg is not hurting anymore and it is healing, but it looks like I will have a scar on my leg. I am grateful I had this journey to Alaska and I am grateful I did not lose my leg. Moving forward my post will return to more positivism as I reach for my goal to be a motivational speaker for our children.
Have an amazing rest of your week and as always thank you so much for your following and support.
Hey, Glacier Bay!
If you have been following my posts, you know that I saw a glacier before but in the actual time line I say Glacier Bay National Park first! Glaciers were one of the main things I wanted to see while I was up in Alaska.
The unique thing is we entered this National Park right from our ship. The Volendam was specifically designed to go places like this and do 360’s in the water for all to view everything and to be able to get back out. As we entered the Glacier Bay the scenery was breath taking. Most of my pictures today are of Ice so I apologies for not showing you the rest. You know where to go to see them! (Facebook). The reason for my visit was to see glaciers. Our first pass through it was raining, cloudy, windy and about 40 degrees with a lower wind chill even. Sounds like a terrible combo but I was at the Bow of the boat (the front) soaking it all in and freezing my butt off! My phones camera was running picture after picture for hours! Even with all this bad weather, the scenery we saw was stunning.
The 2nd time we came through was a real treat and labeled the best day of the season! I stepped outside to see the scenery it was sunny and it was still cold. I could not believe it. Everything I saw just a week ago was completely different. It was like a whole other realm of amazingness to see Glacier Bay this day. The first time we sat at Margery Glacier for about an hour. This Glacier was about a mile wide, 100ft above the water and 100th below. Our ship got close enough to this glacier where you could feel like you could reach out and touch it. It was just all so amazing! Now this time around we were leaving the Glacier earlier than normal, but it turned out they took us to see 3 more glaciers that day as well! The Day was made and my mind blown!
With my pictures, you will see a variation. You will see the same thing on a crappy weather day and then a sunny day! You will certainly be able to see the beauty in both times!
Now that you finally were able to see some pictures, I can tell you a little more. As we get closer to the Glaciers, the water is littered with ice. Too small to be called icebergs; these little pieces are actually called bergy bits and growlers! The ship was designed to just plow right through these smaller pieces! Titanic Was a smaller ship over all, however it was longer but weaker! Very few ships are allowed up here because of the size of ships today. Even though the ms Volendam was designed to travel Alaska, we still had to be aware of larger pieces of ice, or icebergs! The picture below shows the bergy bits and an actually Iceberg. Anything longer then 16ft is considered an iceberg!
(The bigger piece is definitely an Iceberg, other others are just bergy bits)
Traveling through Glacier Bay was not all ice and mountains. We saw a plethora of birds in a huge nesting area and we saw whales and sea otters as well. Glacier Bay was where I saw my first Humpback Whale breech clear out of the water into the air and back down what a site to see! Every time we entered Glacier Bay, we had to pick up rangers and guides to help us navigate the bay and get through safely. One more thing I want to show you is something called Calving. It is where the ice breaks off the glacier and falls right in the water. We sat and listen to the glacier each time in silence. You can hear the ice come alive! The ice was cracking everywhere and when large pieces of ice came down it sounds like a building being demolished. It was an amazing site to see and hear; I did at least get to catch some of the splashes in pictures. In the picture you are looking at is a splash that is at least 20-30ft wide if not more.
Next and final stop on our Alaska tour is Katchikan. Tackle quite a bit of firsts and other amazing opportunities here!
Next Stop Skagway
Skagway was my favorite stop. Scenically glorious, that is if you love the water and the mountains! You do not even need to get off the ship. You look forward to the boat yard and the old town of Skagway while further in the distance is a valley of mountain peaks. You look behind you and see 2 absolutely mesmerizing snow caped mountain peaks. Now I say mesmerizing because I saw these peeks 4 times in all weather conditions, but still somehow it was like a painting that never changed! To the left more mountains, and to the right we were cliff side. They only way to look left was straight up or straight down, and straight down you saw the train that took you into the Yukon Territory. I was signed up to take this train tour but then I had this incident that sent me home. Even without that, it was still the most beautiful port. It was also the hardest to just pick a handful of pictures to post.
My first visit was very exciting, I was going horseback riding. On the way to the ranch we were driving around this empty inlet where they explained that the tide came in and out 4 times a day. This was no normal occurrence for someone visiting because the water exchange was huge. They have 25 foot tides up here and that is so crazy. Random fact; I have not been a horse person but I seem to have found myself around them on many occasions, yet at the age of 34 I have never even been on one till today! It was so much fun, and the horses were so well trained, taken care of, and not over ridden. I got the lazy horse, of course I need some sort of challenge when I am doing something new! The scenery while riding the horse could not have been more amazing, and as we were heading back to the ranch I saw my first Alaskan bear as well. Maybe it was my height on the horse but that bear was adorable.
(Top right is just to show you the low tide line.)
(Then you have high tide in that same valley)
Next I just went walking through town. It was all original buildings so it was really cool to see even if they were littered with jewelry and souvenir shops! Now fast forward to the next time and I decided to go hiking on my own. This was hands down my favorite day! I grabbed my backpack, water, newly purchased hiking shoes and just went for it. As you will see in the pictures I was extremely grateful for those hiking shoes; the terrain was about as rugged as it gets. Climbing continuously over rocks and roots, there was switchbacks on the trail but the grade percentage up had to be higher than normal too. Then coming down your feet are smashed into the front of your shoes the whole time. It was all worth it! As you go up you see the ship and the town get smaller, and the natural scenery just get more spectacular. You could see mountain peaks not seen from below, mountain lakes that are always full of the clearest fresh water and stunning waterfalls the entire way up. Here is where I would like to say what everyone already knows; pictures never do there justice but I can provide you with a little sample of what I got to see today. I hiked a total of 8 miles round trip and starting at sea level I climbed an elevation of 3,100 ft.
(these are pictures of the trail)
The sunset and sunrise are a bit different up here in Alaska from what I am used to. Sunrise is at about 4:30am and sunset is after 11:00pm. Complete darkness does not come till well after 12 midnight. Below I took this picture at about 11:20pm.
Up next I will be taking you to Glacier Bay National Park. This was a park we went thru on our cruise ship. The ship I was on was designed especially for adventures like this!