Category Archives: Travel

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!

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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!

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(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.

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Next and final stop on our Alaska tour is Katchikan. Tackle quite a bit of firsts and other amazing opportunities here!

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First Stop, Juneau

My first adventure in Alaska, or my first port of call was in Juneau. To kick it off I hike to the top of Mount Roberts. This being my first hike I cheated and took the tram car up the first 1800 feet. I was not going to wait for people to go with me. I am here in Alaska for a limited time so I was not afraid to go alone.

It is funny I should say I went alone, you guys know I am a people person so I ended up catching up with this couple from another ship and they were on the same path I was. It was great because it was dangerous to hike alone. We were basically up in the cloud cover. It was wet and most of the time you could only see about 10 yards in front of you. However there were plenty of clear moments as well and the views from up on the mountain tops were absolutely gorgeous! There were these hoary marmots everywhere too. Picture a very large and fat ground squirrel and that’s what these cute little creatures were. Also on our hike we saw ice and snow in the mountains. At one point we found one piece that was safe enough to slide down! So much fun and the fact that we were a group now we were able to get all these amazing pictures for each other. My most favorite part aside from the view and the wild life was Mount Roberts was bursting with minerals. Quartz was just extruding from the mountain everywhere. At times this beautiful white stone was littering the trails. I also found a small piece of jade, one of the gemstones Alaska is known for. The jade mines are all closed but you can still find it on the mountain sides. As a reward for all the hiking I did I ate the biggest plate of crab nachos I have ever seen!

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The beauty of my working trip to Alaska is I come back to each port several times. The normal cruiser can only come here once and pick one thing to do. I came back again this time I took a tour of a salmon hatchery, the Glacier Gardens, and Mendenhall Glacier! What an amazing day. I learn so much about Salmon and their part in our circle of life. The hatchery was a nonprofit organization trying to balance the ecosystem with the salmon. Now it was off to the gardens of the Alaskan rainforest. What a beautiful site. The couple that started these gardens years ago came up with this great Idea for hanging gardens. They had taken fallen trees and turned them upside down and made them large natural flower pots! Lastly it was off to the glacier. What a beautiful site to see and this was the first of many glaciers I saw on my trip. Right next to it was a beautiful waterfall that you could walk right up to, so naturally I did.

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The shows not over yet in Juneau! It was time for some rainy day whale watching. I think the guest loved having me on the tour I was the token whale spotter. There was so many! I stopped trying to get pictures and just enjoyed the fun these whales were having fun jumping in and out of the water. What an amazing site to see and as if the whales were not enough we saw some sea lions as well. We did not stay to long because these big guys were lazy and they wanted to board our boat to relax!

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When you cruise, you can count on every port you stop at to be full of shops and souvenirs. I made a quick pass thru my first time but that was it! I was here to see nature; the mountains, the water, the wild life and the glaciers. There was still more stops on our trip. My next post will be Skagway. I hope you enjoy the stories and pictures. I know these posts are off topic of my ultra positive posts but hey it’s my blog and adventures are a part of a positive life. I am grateful to be able to share my journey with you.

(I took over 400 pictures while out in Alaska; it was really hard to pick a small sample for my blog. If you we wish to see way more pictures please feel free to friend me on FACEBOOK if you have not already!)

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