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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alaska Cruise 2009

June 28 - July 12, 2009 We sailed on Holland America - Veendam. This was a medium size ship that carried around 1500 passengers.
Before leaving port, we all had to take part in the life boat drill...just in case. Thankfully we never had to use the life boats!

Pulling out of the port in Vancouver.
It was very windy on deck!
On our first formal night we ate KING CRAB LEGS! Yum! Barrett was able to eat 3 orders.
All dressed up for our first formal night. We were able to get our own table for two for the entire 2 weeks.

Here we are at our first stop - Ketchican, Alaska.
We are in disguise as a black bear and moose.
Pretty mailboxes of Ketchican.

This entire town is built over water at the base of a mountain. It was beautiful!
Our first excursion was a ride on a float plane through the Misty Fjords.
Flying above the clouds.
We landed in the middle of a lake. The pilot let us all get out of the plane and stand on the little tiny float of the plane. We really had to watch our step - otherwise we would land in the water - which was 1000 feet deep, and very cold.

Here we are standing in the middle of the lake holding on to the side of our plane.
There was a total of 6 passengers and 1 pilot on the float plane. Here are 2 of the lucky passengers.

Around Ketchican there were many streets that they called "stair streets." Since many of the homes are built up into the side of the mountain, this is how the homeowners get to their front doors - climbing a great big set of stairs. What a hike that would be each day.

Ketchican, Alaska

Well, this is as close to a bear as we ever got.

We had a comfy room for our stay on the Veendam. It was wonderful having a cabin steward there each day to make the bed, clean the room, and fold down the sheets each night - leaving a piece of chocolate wishing us a good night sleep.

In Juneau, Alaska we took a whale watching trip. We were able to see about 10 whales along the way. Here are some of their tails and some of the water spraying out of their spray holes.Here is one with its mouth wide open. If you look closely, you can see its big teeth.

Some sea lions were taking a break on this buoy. It is had to tell from this picture, but each sea lion weighs hundreds of pounds.

On our way to Mendenhall Glacier.

Mendendall Glacier
It was fairly cold here with all of the cold air blowing off the top of the glacier. I was even able to wear my my new blue scarf that I knit right before going on the cruise.
Back in Juneau, we decided to take a spur of the moment hike up Mount Roberts. It was a 2 1/2 mile hike up an elevation of 1800 feet. It took about 1 1/2 hours. We loved it! It was hard work but we made it just fine. There were beautiful views!

We made it to snow!!!

We chose to ride the tram down from the mountain.
Skagway, Alaska
This was an old town. Here we took a train ride along some of the trails used during the Yukon gold rush in 1898. We went about 20 miles on the train until we got to the US/Canada border then turned around and came back.

Leaving Skagway.

On the decks there were these nice warm blankets around for everyone to use to keep warm while sitting on deck enjoying the views.
Coming up to Glacier Bay we were served nice warm Pea Soup on the bow of the ship.
Glacier Bay

Lobster and Fillet Mignon Night
Once a week they had a "Dessert Extravaganza" at night by the pool.
I went to a class/show on how to make vegetable and fruit "flower" creations. I'm looking forward to trying this out at home. I have a feeling it won't turn out quite the same when I try this out myself.
There was a special dinner night when all of the passengers got to wear chef hats and all of the crew and servers sung and danced around the dining room for us.

Seward, Alaska - Exit Glacier
We took a 2 mile hike to this glacier. Our guide said we could possibly see black bears or moose on this hike, but we didn't see any.
Barrett was the king of food on this cruise. Here are his 3 desserts he ate at this meal after he had already eaten 2-3 entrees and 3-4 starters. I don't know how, but he fit all that food in every night. Coming up will be a picture of his lunch dessert plate. Wow!

In College Fjord we saw these cute seals. It is just like you have seen in pictures. They just live here, swim in this cold water, and get hang out on the iceburgs.

This is a view looking straight down off of our ship at the ice floating in the water.

Barrett's lunch dessert plate. Yes, he was able to eat it all! And he is still just as skinny as he was before we left for the cruise.
We really enjoyed finding quiet spots around the ship to take in the views and read a book. It was so relaxing!
Every night there were broadway type shows in the "Showroom At Sea."
11:30 or so at night on the back deck. It got dark really late here in Alaska.
Our 2nd time at Glacier Bay. This glacier was 1 mile wide and about 26 stories high of solid ice. We were able to see it calve a few times (when ice would break of and splash into the water.)
A water fall was coming right out of the side of this glacier.It was actually very warm here at this point by the glacier, and very sunny. I still have my jacket on so I wouldn't get a sun burn. The sun was very strong right here. We actually ended up getting burned on our face and neck. You can't see it in this picture, but right next to us there is a group of guys without their shirts on working on their tan. It was very warm - like in the high 70's. Okay, that isn't all that warm when you consider that it was 104 in Dallas at that time, but for being surrounded by ice it was warm. An evening stroll around the main deck.Haines, Alaska
We took a 4 mile hike here in Haines through the woods to Battery Point. Our guide here said we were in brown bear territory. She carried bear spray with her just in case. Thank goodness we didn't see any bears here. Brown bears are the type that are more aggressive. It was another beautiful hike with tall, tall trees. You really had to look out for the roots of the trees because they grew out on the ground and not so much into the ground.

I was brave enough to take off my shoes, roll up my jeans and put my feet into the waters of Alaska. It was cold! Apparently not for the local kids though. They all had their bathing suits on and were swimming !!! We were told that this right here was their swimming pool. I guess a day in the 70's is a nice warm day for Alaska.
Back in Juneau we took a 6 mile hike along a trail to towards Mendenhall Glacier. Towards the end of the hike it got pretty steep. We really had to watch our step.
This was the trickiest point of the climb - both up and down. We were never told that we would have to go rock climbing!
This was one of our favorite places to sit in the evenings - right by big windows looking out into Alaska with a string quartet playing in the backround. It was so peaceful!

Here I am standing in front of Sarah Palin's Governor's Mansion in Juneau, Alaska.
So cute. The backyard was all set for the kids - a swing, and to the left there is a trampoline. What a view. Palin turned in here resignation between our first stop in Juneau and our second time through a week later.

This was our favorite dessert on the trip - Baked Alaska. Each evening we ordered one of these with a different topping on it each time. Delicious!!!

Another favorite spot to sit and relax - the library. They had these wonderful recliners that faced giant windows out to the sea. We spent a lot of time here reading and relaxing.

We had a fabulous time here in the Inside Passage of Alaska!