Our Juneau day was simply amazing; we went on two excellent excursions, one a catamaran tour of the Tracy Arm glacier, accessible only by smaller boats, and the second, a photography land and sea tour of the Mendenhall Glacier outside Juneau, with a trip on the sea channel as well. We saw icebergs, a rare gray whale, humpback whales, eagle nests and eagles flying, and a very funny porcupine scurrying across a parking lot.
We also saw the Juneau state capitol from a distance and heard a few funny Sarah Palin stories from a fairly irreverent tour guide. For a day that started with boarding the catamaran at 7:30 am, and ended just now with a room service dinner, it was wonderfully exhilarating and oh so tiring. We are now watching CNN in our suite, and drinking some wine.
David, who has the much better camera, is going to download some of his wonderful whale breeching pictures to my computer and sometime later, when we are home I will post them for you to see. Our afternoon guide, a college student from California who attends a photography school, was very helpful in showing us, particularly me with my digital point and shoot skills, how to set the camera for different types of photos. In essence, perhaps if I had bothered to read the manual . . . as an aside, we have been really impressed with our tour guides, a mixture of native Alaskans and students from the lower 48, working the tourist summer trade. I know that I have joked that we were coming to “see” Alaska, not “do” Alaska (referring to those tours that involve seaplanes, helicopters or other scary, to me, things), but in all honesty, I never expected to learn as much about life in Alaska as I have from these incredibly personable guides.
Mendenhall Glacier outside Juneau
David taking whale pictures:
We had some fairly nice weather in Juneau today, a little rain out on the morning glacier tour, but Juneau was rather balmy for this trip. Today is the summer solstice, it is quite light still at 10 pm, and we are also a hour farther west from PDT. We set sail at 11 tonight, for our next port of call, Skagway, another historic Alaska city. Our cruise line newsletter for tomorrow says that Skagway was established as a result of gold strike in the Klondike region of Canada’s Yukon Territory. We are rising early for a Sunday champagne and caviar breakfast, then a streetcar tour of historic Skagway, and David’s Father’s Day treat, a steam train ride up into the White Pass.