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!
Vacation of Positive Stories
I know all of you want to hear about how Alaska was and I will tell you soon. When you work on a cruise ship for any number of weeks or months you meet some amazing people. On my working vacation to Alaska I had the pleasure, opportunity, and requirement to meet new people on the ship. I love meeting new people and I felt It was important to share some of their stories first. I talked to people of all ages and I seem to find teachers or retired teachers the most. Those people have given me such a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to take home with me. Not to mention several books I need to read now too!
Most of the stories or moments I want to share with you were shared with me after I have inspired them with my positive journey in life. Where I was, when I started, where I am now and where I am going. I was so fascinated that these people were so inspired by what I am reaching for in my life. It really keeps the fires of hope burning on my end to keep going.
So here is a couple of short stories of people I met on board!
This lady had heard my background of working with Students with Autism and she then told me her story. She used to be a Peacock Dancer. She had to explain this to me. She was a folk dancer back in the olden days and she would literally dress as a peacock and perform on many stages. She was with a performing group that allowed the audience to come up and meet and mingle with the dancers after the show. One of her favorite parts. A girl in a wheel chair came on stage and this lady was first to greet here. The girl said “that was an amazing performance” the lady can see that she was also blind graciously accepted the compliment and proceeded to ask if the girl wanted to touch her dress. The girl was thrilled. She touched the silky dress, the big feathers and even the sequenced shirt. The girl was in heaven the whole time and lastly said “you must look absolutely beautiful.” I was about in tears at this; there was no way I can repeat this story like the lady told me, but man it was so touching. After all these years she has been able to hold on to that beautiful memory and I bet the girl will remember it for years to come too.
A lot of starter conversation are, is this your first time to Alaska? For this older couple it was, for a lot of people it was. They were a very modest and quite couple but they held a key to their long marriage that was one of the cutest things I have ever heard! This was their 50th wedding anniversary, so congratulations were in order that night. I asked them what made them choose an Alaskan Cruise for their 50th? “Every year we visit a new state for our wedding anniversary. We started at our 2nd year but we have been visiting each state in order ever sense. Next year we will visit Hawaii as the 50th state of the United States.” I was in such awe, that was so cute. I left a bit of mystery though; I wonder what they plan to do next?
As a worker on the ship I got to go on tours for free, if I was chosen of course. I went on this tour to hear about Alaskan Native Indian culture and see the largest collection of totem poles in the world. There was a lady in a wheel chair and she was there with her sister. I took it upon myself to take over pushing the wheel chair around because I know the sister would not be able to do the hills. I also realized had I let one of the tour people assist her she would not have gotten to see very much, or as much as she wanted. I took her where ever she wanted and made sure she could get the best picture from each spot. I never thought twice to help these ladies and I still enjoyed the tour also. The lady in the wheel chair and I small talked here and there. I have no complete idea why she is in the chair but she has such a positive outlook on life and a positive attitude to prove it, it did not matter. She just made this day even better for me.
When you meet people that have cruised a lot chances are they love the ship that they are on too. I meet this amazing couple that I talked to everyday of their cruise. They have been on the Volendam (ship I was working on) for over 180 days worth of 7 to 14 day cruises. Now that is a lot of time on one ship for sure. They loved the ship and loved the idea of knowing where everything is as well. They also loved to collect unique jewelry as well. Not just for them but to pass down thru the generations to come. They find most of their unique items well cruising for sure. I asked them how much longer there will be cruising. They had no end date. I do wish them all the best in their continued adventures.
There are so many stories that I could share with you but I figured I would stick with a hand full of the best! Meeting new people was only a morsel of time in Alaska. I did so many new things, and my time alone with Alaska was always adventurous and breathtaking. There will certainly be more posts about Alaska!
I Am Different
I have had cellulitis for over a week now. I was stripped from my Alaskan cruise adventure but I had a great time when I was there. You will hear more about it soon! I am at home healing now; I have no desire to eat, watch tv, listen to music, read, do anything artsy, and I am struggling to write this even. My mind has given me no shortage of a thought process. I am thinking about EVERYTHING! I am grateful that I have learned to be more mature and productive with my thoughts at least.
The biggest thing I think about is my life. Who I was and the transition to I am and want to be. 3 years have gone by sense I saw the dark depths of my life for the 2nd time. Only this time I ran out. I climbed out with a plan. A plan for a better me? Taking risks that average people will never take. Some I succeeded some I failed. I stand and continue to move forward. I have harnessed a completely new life. There is no backup plan to my old life, the old me. Some people can’t handle the change; some people don’t understand the change and others could care less. I got away from those people. I may disappear into the beautiful and busy lives some of you have but when you think of me or reach out for me, my hand will always be right there!
Meeting new people has been slow but promising because the positive people I search for are being drawn to me little by little. Most of my time however has been spent pushing me to be this person I envision. Someone to inspire many with everything I do in life.
Everything happens for a reason right? Well I get the reason for cellulitis. I am moving too fast right now. I am conquering things and moving forward so easy and so fast and I am about to step into a new amazing wave of my life and I need to slow down. The Illness is forcing me to slow down. I don’t need to be an overnight motivational speaker but I do need to motivate this world as soon as I say I am ready. I have told my story time and again and I leave the heartache out of it yet people are still completely inspired with what I am trying to achieve. People stop and listen to the end and they have nothing but encouragement to share after that.
I am different, and I will make a difference!
Mr. Hashbrowns Goes To Alaska!
The last time I did this, I mean the last time I worked on a cruise ship my life was in a different place. I had quit my job as a design director, quit my next job as a marketing and events planner and I took my first cruise ship job as a huge risk with great adventure. I say huge risk because I packed up my whole life into a storage unit. When I returned from this job I had no place lined up to live and no job lined up. This time around as I set sail from Vancouver thru Alaska and back many times I feel way more comfortable. Sure last time I survived but this time I did not pack up anything, it will all be waiting for me when I return. This time I will have a job that looks forward to my return.
As if going on this work travel journey is not exciting enough. I already have goals lined up for when I return. I have mentioned this in just about every post recently and I am sure it will be said more; I am excited for my next big goal to be a motivational speaker for children.
Getting what you want out of life is really easy……..REALLY EASY! You have to live and breathe your goals…you have to have goals period. I could start a whole blog just on my goals. I have goals for my goals and I have more goals when I meet other goals…..upon my return to my job in Florida I will emerge myself into reading, watching, learning, listening and thinking about motivational speaking. I will have little motivations running around (the students) to remind me every day that I want to motivate and speak to children. I will be writing speeches and at the same time reading and watching other people speak.
This venture will not be void of challenges and failures, but how else am I to properly learn? Many MANY years ago I was thinking about the best ways to end my life. Today I cannot even start one new adventure before getting excited to live up to my new high standards of effort toward my next adventure! Positive thinking, that is it!
In my last post I said 70 years to make a difference in other people’s lives. I thought about that ever sense and that is so much time when I look at everything I have done in just 3 years time. I might just be at that time to give myself a name! I know it’s cheesy to some but what the kids simply call me at school should be good enough: Mr. Marc. Or I could use other names they call me: Mr. Marc-e, Mr. Marcs-a-clause, Mr. Marc-e-mon, Mr. Hashbrowns, Mr. Hippo, Mr. Crazy, Mr. Halla, Mr. Smile. I could keep going but they just get more random. If they say something inappropriate I correct them but whatever makes a good connection to address me I answer to everything! After all they are kids and they know my real name first and then call me whatever.
Wow I did a tangent in my own blog, but I am leaving it because I think it’s cute! Anyways ahhhhhhhhhhh here I come Alaska/Canada it’s time to make my MARC in a new place.
I love all of you and I am grateful for your support in any or many ways. You will start seeing changes in September but until then I will post when I can. Receptions not to good when you’re out on the ocean on a glamorous ship for 2 months! 😛
I have a love affair with the Ocean and she is so excited I get to see another side of her, and she is exicted I will be by the mountains and the ocean! Bye for now I love all of you.
Goals and Adventures.
This month I stuck to my reading goals and towards the end I was doing more than 20 pages a day! I found the beginning and end of 3 great books and I have started another one today to keep it going.
“Black Hole Focus” by Isaiah Hankel
“Everything Happens For A Reason” by Mira Kirshenbaum
“The Carpenter” by Jon Gordon
“More Notes from the Universe” by Mike Dooley (just a book of quotes but still great)
I have learned so much from reading but it seems that my education went far beyond the written words. I was inspired in many ways but most importantly to finally narrow down what I want to do as a motivational speaker. I want to speak to children and teens about a more positive lifestyle and the ever-growing subject of bullying. I have full confidence that I will get where I want to be and I am ready for the challenges that will arise on my way there.
Over the summer I hope to have time to start writing presentations and presenting them to the school district I work for right now. One small step of many.
I do have some sad news for those that do gratefully follow me regularly. June through August I have a lot of adventures going on in my life and my time to write from the heart will not be as wide open as it usually is. One of the major things I am doing is working on a cruise ship in Alaska. I have always wanted to go there and now is my chance. I will be working a lot and when I am not working naturally I will be enjoying the wonders of the Pacific Ocean, Canada and Alaska.
I will be posting when I can, Maybe sharing other people’s things on Facebook and stories here and there as well. I hope I do not lose many of you in my absence but I WILL BE BACK. Every day is an adventure I am just going to have a few months of them in a row. I will return with lots of inspiration and tons of pictures I am sure. If you wish to friend me on Facebook feel free to, to see my pictures.
Have a great weekend and remember I am not gone for good and I will post when I can. Thank you so much for all of your support on this journey.
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