Vacation Sagas

2005 Alaska Cruise

A Chilling Summer Vacation

Pre-Cruise College Fjord / Glacier Bay Skagway Juneau Ketchican At Sea / Post-Cruise

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Juneau

Donna and Jane went Whale Watching. This exciting cruise featured a guaranteed whale sighting! Following a short motor coach ride to scenic Auke Bay, they boarded a water jet-powered catamaran specially designed for wildlife viewing. The warm, comfortable, and spacious main cabin featured large viewing windows. They admired the majestic backdrop of snow-capped peaks and glaciers as their experienced captain guided them through the island-studded waters of Stephens Passage. An onboard naturalist explained the habits and habitat of the wildlife encountered, which included humpback and killer whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoises, bald eagles, Sitka blacktail deer and, maybe some bears. The tour carried a guarantee to see a whale.

Water jet boat.

Sherry and Steve went on the Best of Juneau tour. This excursion featured three of Juneau's premier attractions: the Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest, the famous Mendenhall Glacier and the Original Alaska Salmon Bake. Their adventure began with a wildlife-viewing cruise aboard a water jet-powered catamaran. They relaxed in the warm cabin surrounded by large windows, as the experienced captain guided them through the island-studded waters of Stephens Passage. The onboard naturalist explained the behavior and habitat of wildlife that they might encounter, including humpback and killer whales, Steller sea lions, Dall's porpoise, harbor seals, bald eagles and more. Again, this carried a guaranteed whale sighting. Afterward, a narrated motorcoach ride took them to view and photograph the world-famous Mendenhall Glacier. At the visitor center they talked with Forest Service interpreters and - through interactive exhibits - learned about the awesome force of glacial ice. An outdoor feast completed their Best of Juneau experience. They enjoyed wild Alaska salmon grilled over an alderwood fire, barbecued ribs and chicken, along with a variety of delicious side dishes. They could roast marshmallows over a crackling fire, walk the trail to a waterfall and enjoy the beautiful, relaxed setting.

Bonney's stop in Juneau was her favorite, and unfortunately the shortest. The daily high there was 64° and they had 17 hours of daylight.

Bonney, Linda, and Rudy wisely chose the Glacier & Dog Sled Via Helicopter tour. This is the one Bonney had most been looking forward to and she was not disappointed. One surprise was that the drivers didn't say, "Mush!"

Here's how it was described: Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience of helicopter flight seeing and dog sledding. Pristine beauty, majestic mountains and ancient glaciers are seemingly within arm's reach during your flight over an awesome landscape. Upon landing on a glacier, one hundred huskies eagerly greet you and share an essential part of Alaskan culture — mushing. Experienced guides talk about sled racing, back country experiences and answer questions while the dogs are hooked to the sleds. Then you're off — standing on the runners of the sled as the team pulls you across the snowfield. The lure of the trail and the thrill of driving a dog team make this an unforgettable adventure.

Mendenhall Glacier. Mountain helicopter view.

Mountain helicopter view.

Ready for take off. Bonney. Linda.
Linda, our two copter companions, and Rudy.

Rugged glacier view. Rugged glacier view. Rugged glacier view.
You can't just walk across this glacier in some spots!

Approaching dog city. Dog city. Dog city.
Approaching dog city.
There are more than you think.
Lots and lots of eager doggies.

Approaching dog city. Rudy and Chuck. Linda, Rudy adn Chuck.
Our helicopter traveled with 4 others.
Rudy and our musher Chuck.
Rudy, Linda, and Chuck.

Sledding. Sledding. Sledding.
Rudy and Linda.
Bonney and Linda.

Bonney reports, "As my turn came to sit in the sled, I had one foot in when the dogs lurched forward and I was thrown into the seat with my left thigh and right side under my arm hitting the sides of the sled hard. Of course, by the end of the day I had a large welt and bruise on my leg and a sore side which gave me a good excuse not to wear a bra. Yea '60's!

While there, I inadvertently donated a pair of clear reading glasses that fell into the snow sometime before the helicopters picked us up. I'm sure there must be a husky somewhere who's having trouble reading and will make good use of them!

Linda said, "Bonney, Rudy, I took the breathtaking helicopter ride out to the glacier for dog sledding. Did any of us tip over or fall in the snow? I don't think that we could ever be dog mushers. We got off the bus in town on our way back from the helicopter ride, and Bonney did some major souvenir shopping that afternoon before we had to get back on the ship. "

Mary Ann who chose to Experience the Best of Juneau—from Mendenhall Glacier and Macaulay Salmon Hatchery to a salmon bake in the lush rain forest—on this excursion combining two of the most popular tours. Learn about Juneau's rich history en route to a unique salmon rearing facility where displays inform you about this fascinating species. Then marvel at mighty Mendenhall Glacier and explore the exhibits at its newly refurbished visitor center. Next, feast on tasty Alaska salmon, chicken or ribs along the banks of a creek in the lush Alaska rain forest. Enjoy musical entertainment or explore the woods, a nearby waterfall and the remains of an historic mine.

Salmon farm. Salmon farm.
At the salmon farm.

This is where Mary Ann found fresh, wild salmon to mail to Chip.

Continue for more of the saga...
Pre-Cruise College Fjord / Glacier Bay Skagway Juneau Ketchican At Sea / Post-Cruise