After a day at sea, we docked bright and early on Sunday morning in Juneau, Alaska and here I was about to step foot on my most distant destination to date. I had been to the shore of Washington before, as a small child, but this, this was a huge step.
The clouds lay on the tops of the mountains winding down to the shore. The waterfalls streaming down the mountainside. The vividly painted buildings that lined the dock. It was a spectacular welcome to the 49th state. The last 24 hours had been filled with one new experience after another. Whale spouts, spinner dolphins, endless sea, dinner at the Captain’s table, and now, the historic dock of Juneau. I watched the machinery on the dock preparing the gangplank for the cruisers to disembark and wander into the town. My sister and I ran up to the Lido Deck and chose a few muffins to tide us over while we spent the day sightseeing and exploring. I actually think my sister had a nice healthy breakfast, I was into carbs like there was no tomorrow during this cruise. I tend to limit them every day as a rule, but I refused to resist them while on vacation.
We had two expeditions planned for the day and we watched as the buses pulled up to take us away. today, we were taking one of those buses to the whale watching excursion and afterward we were heading to Mendenhall glacier. The announcement came that it was time to head out. we were so excited. We grabbed our camera’s raincoats and got in line to leave the Westerdam.
Getting neighboring seats we started off on the wet, twisting roads out of town and along the shoreline before heading into the dense treeline on our way to a bay where the whale watching touring company was located. While heading out of town, we were given interesting and in-depth information about the first settlers of this historic town. The tour guide on the bus regaled us with the difficulties of getting products into this isolated area. The prices were amazing to hear and the fact that everything had to be brought in on ships, was hard to imagine. I found there are only three ways to enter Juneau, by ship, by plane, and by the birth canal. 🙂 Now you have heard the best joke of the day.
Once we boarded the double decker boat we were offered refreshments as we quickly sped across the bay and out into the open sea once again. The captain and crew kept us informed about whale activity and assured us that the whales were out there and we would make some memories today. It was such an exciting time. The large boat slowed and we began to see the little black dots that were in fact whale backs silently breaking the surface of the choppy water. The
And then, they showed up, close! A mother and her baby. Swimming close to the boat so that we could make a memory that would never leave us. We watched the mother and calf as they bobbed up and over then back down into the water. Graceful and magical, I had seen something so wonderous on my first day in Alaska. We were fortunate as the migration to Hawaii had begun and the mothers and calves left first. Over the moon, just doesn’t capture my emotion.
The boat left this area once the two slowed their surfacing and the captain got notification of another sighting. Again we zoomed across the churning water. Once again we were rewarded by a brave and daring whale that was curious enough to come close.
One of my most prized possessions, this cameo of a killer whale. The captain believed this to be a male that had not yet begun his migration. He slipped into the water easily yet, there was no breaching. That would have been amazing, but I was thrilled with the contact I had been given. After several hours seeking and viewing killer whales, we returned to the dock and began the second leg of our excursion.
Back on the bus, we headed deeper into the woods, winding our way to the Mendenhall Glacier.
Mendenhall glacier was a chance to get closer to a glacier than I would have believed. As we pulled into the parking area, we left the bus and were able to walk down to the lake that was right in front of the glacier.
Above on the right, the observation area and museum sat towering over us. First, we went to the edge of the lake and took a few special pictures. There is a man standing closer than we were. He is wearing a blue shirt. I never figured out how he got there. There is a waterfall hidden off to one side. The size and beauty of this glacier, simply overwhelming. That is a constant theme in Alaska, everything is larger than anything I have ever seen before.
After spending the hours on shore, we were exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. It was the most amazing feeling. We still had dinner before we would call the evening done. That was where I saw the most amazing and unique sight.
This is the yacht, My Sky. It has been traveling all around the northern hemisphere since I saw it one year ago in Juneau. I keep up with it on MarineTraffic.com. I shared this picture last year on the MarineTraffic website, so others could see what a beautiful ship she is. We were dining when I saw this outside the dining room window. I raced to get a picture of it. It was massive and beautiful. It touched me with its starkness and modernness. This ship was impeccable. I am in love. My Sky is now on the Eastern Shore of America, slowly moving up and down the coast, from New York to Baltimore.
Next stop, Glacier Bay!