"2009 Alaska 7-day cruise + ..." Personal Page by jethanand
The weather during our entire 9 days of vacation could not have been better, we did not have any rain, no heat or cold to speak of.
That grin on my face ? - I have spoilt countless shots of me taken by my wife, but this was no fake shot, wonderful is how I felt at the time and this is no re-enactment!
My rating system , purley subjective
***** MUST DO
*** Very good
* highly over-rated
Wed July 29, 2009
Washington DC to Anchorage, Alaska to Carnival Spirit***
Thu July 30, 2009*****
Prince William Sound***** - Harvard Glacier***** at 6.00 AM - In my mind the Harvard Glacier "Calving" at Prince William Sound is at the top of our cruise experience in Alaska.
This was followed by a tour of College Fjord***** where serenity ruled. The beauty of this place held us spell bound. I had assigned myself the duties of a photo-journalist, so do visit my flickr journal for more pictures
Glacier calving*****... we all knew, sort of, what it is, then we saw it happen - a thick slab of flowing ice met the sea at the end, a large chunk broke off its edge and fell into the sea, made a thunderous splash and a mushroom of spray marked the spot. To see it happen and hear the sound was a wondrous , to capture it on my camera, in time-lapse fashion, was AWESOME.
Serenity - College Fjord ***** - glaciers flowing - if nothing else, some glaciers g e n t l y s l i p and slide into the water , take a look at their glistening shapes, they resemble lava flow
If you are into glaciers , Alaska is for you !
NET FEEDING - Hump-back whales feed cooperatively*****
This family of four formed a circle, trapping sardines, blew bubbles and rose together forming a net, then they rose from under, mouths wide open, feeding on a very rich diet. Of course, the sea-gulls are expert at spotting this pattern and get a huge helping for themselves ! There is a lot to learn about whales.
At times we were surrouded by 3 or 4 separate families of whales and at one time, three groups met and fed cooperatively, NEAT! The viewing, regulated, lasted one hour and towards the end, the humpbacks , as if on cue, were coming closer to our boat and waving their fins at us !
Wed July 29 2009
DCA to Seattle to Anchorage
Anchorage to Carnival Spirit Whitier Island
on boat entertainment ***
Day 1 *****
Thu July 30 2009
Prince William Sound *****
Glacier Calving *****
College Fjord *****
Formal night at dnner ***
in-deck photography ***
Day 2 ****
Fri July 31, 2009
Sitka **** - this is a small town of less than 1000 year-round residents, but during the summer, the cruise ships bring in lots of tourists and the resident population also swells to 9000
This place is surrounded by mountains and islands and volcano and natural beauty and wildflowers and berries and bears and beautiful people
Home made syrup *****
lunch at bar ****
Russian troupe dance ***
native artist shopping ****
Day 3 *****
Sat August 1 2009
Juneau ***** Capital of Alaska - has a lot to offer glaciers *****, whale-watching *****, salmon ****, kayaking ***, bird-watching**** , bald eagles ***, trekking ****, wild flowers ****, bears** , quaint town **** , bars***, employment opportuiites**, modern conveniences****, touristy stuff***, ...
lunch on ship **
Hump-back Whale watching*****
native artist's shop (must see !) *****
Red Saloon (famous bar)****
Day 4 ****
Sun August 2 2009
Skagaway **** - Goldmine**, Jewell Gardens*, Salmon run*****, trekking ****, wildflowers *****
Day 5 *****
Mon August 3 2009
Ketchikan***** - Heritage Center ****, Totem Poles***, Salmon Hatchery****, wood carver*****, hippie*****, Creek Hotel***, Creek Street***, Formal dinner**** with Kate e al
Day 6 ***
Tue August 4 2009
at sea***, Orca whale***, golden eagle***,
Day 7 ****
Wed August 5 2009
Vancouver BC****, Granville Island*****, Mr Mahtani, Ferry to Nanaimo** to Victoria BC
(FYI march and November are the rain-iest months in Vancouver BC, the best time to be there is June-July-August, the worst times are March and November, rest of the year, be prepared for cloudy, rainy days! )
Day 8 *****
Thu August 6 2009
Vancouver Island BC - (FYI, this island gets much less rainfall than Vancouver BC, the best time to visit is summer but this island is so pretty that I could spend most of my year here)
Victoria tour by Mr Vijay Punwani, Thai restaurant lunch, Mountain park, Butchart Gardens (must see) , Victoria Symphony, Government House
Inner Harbor light show
Day 9 *****
Fri August 7 2009
Victoria BC Museum (must see)*****, Governement House*****, Inner Harbor*****, COHO ferry to Seattle, Days Inn
Sat August 8 2009
Seattle airport to Washington DC to Germantown MD
Sun August 9 2009
Germantown MD at home resting
beautiful wild flowers..
Alaska is blessed with a rain forest and varieties of wild flowers not seen elsewhere, this is just one example
These dotted the landscape in the towns we visited. They were most profuse in Skagaway during August.
The plant is named so because it is the first to recover after wildfires. The flowers last into September, then its time for the children to go back to school, so the Alaskans ahve a day named for this event, the first snowfall in the mountains means ...
OK OK just having a blast on the open deck****,
the wind was so strong, we would have been swept off our feet had it not been for the railing behind us, so we re-enacted the moment for this photo-op
The Bear that is standing up...*****
meet Israel Woodbridge (Alaskan Tlingit) - Master artist / Carver , born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska, member of the Bear(Teikweidee) Tribe. His Tlingit name is Kinstaadaaal - The Bear that is standing up.
He creates commissioned works of art in his home studio on Vashon Island, WA.
I met him at the Salmon Hatchery in Ketchikan. He is a gracious, albeit shy , soft-spoken exponent of wood-carving. He has been commissioned for many prestigous Totem Poles, these are symbols of tribal pride and status.
Several of his pieces adorn US federal departments. The cultural heritage is extremey well preserved in Alaska and especially in Ketchikan Alaska.
Among others, I was struck by a solid, one piece wooden canoe carved by him and on exhibit in the cultural heritage center next door, my wife and I started dissecting its workmanship and HAD to settle the argument, we both learned a lot in the process and I just marvel at my luck in finding the sculptor , in my mind both the bear and Israel are unafraid of the woods, both stand up to the mighty trees and take their rightful place in nature.
Hats off to you, sir.
camera - ALL travellers to Alaska need a camera or two or three,
tripod - we carried one tripod, it was especially useful for pictures of galciers calving , the viewing lasted one hour. After that one hour , the tripod did not see any more action, so you decide.
memory cards - do carry one for each day, each camera, makes your life simpler when you need to organize your album.
Lenses - the 300mm lens was useful for whale watching, wildlife watching and distant glaciers. An 18-105mm VR zoom lens was very useful as a walk-about lens on deck and on shore excursions. A 28mm f2.8 was useful when taking pictures indoors if flash was not permitted
Good binoculars are cheap and essential
Weather - rain gear - depending on your luck, you will need rain gear or not, but it is a must have. Luckily, we did not need it badly, the weather was perfect, also luckily, the prices on shore excursions were very low due to intense competition.
Good walking shoes are essential
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