Alaska 2010:

The Cruise: August 14 to August 21

The Cruise. Our first. I had always wanted to go on a cruise but the stars (and the budget) just did align until now. What a great experience! Joy had woried that she would be sea sick, but "the patch" took care of that.

One thing that amazed us was the food. Copious amounts of food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner and every time in between. We watched people eat more food at breakfast than I usually eat in a week, then waddle from there to lunch and start over.

The on board entertainment was great but could not come close to the beauty surrounding us.

Click on the photo for each day to view that day's photos.

Day 9 - August 14, 2010

Kind of a big day. Up early and onto a train that would take us from Mt. McKinley to Whittier, Alaska where we would board the Coral Princess for our cruise back to Vancouver. Along the way we would pass beautifull scenery, a military plane crash site that we were asked not to photograph, and finally our first look at the Coral Princess.

I had always wanted to go on a cruise but at the time, had my doubts that we ever would. Joy get motion sickness easily and really was nervous about this but "the patch" worked great! Anyway, I really was not expecting the opulence of the ship and was awe struck when we boarded.

Our first view of the inside of the Coral Princess

Day 10 - August 15, 2010

Our first day on the cruise was a day at see that took us past Hubbard Glacier. Just getting used to being at sea, the amazing amounts of food and the stunning beauty all around us. Getting to the railing for a view was challenging!

Hubbard Glacier

Day 11- august 16, 2010

Glacier Bay National Park. A calm bay (when do get to see the ocean so calm it has perfect relections?) surrounded by glaciers. In fact, there are over 1,000 glaciers surrounding the bay (most are high in the mountains and not visible) but there are 8 or 8 that come right down to the ocean and some are miles wide. (click HERE for more information). Simply breathtaking.

We were able to watch some calving (ice breaking off creating small icebergs), smaller boats and other cruise ships sail past the glaciers. You get a sense of the size of the glaciers when compared with giant ships!

A small iceberg being born.

Day 12- August 17, 2010

Our first port of call was Skagway, Alaska. Known as the "Gateway to the Yukon," it played a key role in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-1898. We opted for the "Yukon Expedition & White Pass Scenic Railway" shore excursion. Good choice.

A bus ride through Skagway, along the Klondike Highway, to the Yukon in Canada, stopping at the Caribou Crossing Trading Post, over the Chilkoot Tral to Carcross, YT. Magnificent.

Then on to the White Pass & Yukon Railroad (narrow guage) back to Skagway. So beautiful and loads of fun.

White Pass & Yukon Railroad

Day 13 - August 18, 2010

Next stop......Juneau, Alaska. Juneau is the capital city of Alaska and we booked a whale watching tour. As I previously mentioned, coastal Alaska is actually a rain forest and today was an example of that. We had a few hours to kill before heading out whale watching so I found a taxi and told him to give us the tour of Juneau.

The first thing he did was stop at a small stream on the outskirts of town, walk over to the water and without getting wet, reach in and grab about a 10 pound salmon. With a grin on his face he said "this is how we fish in Alaska"!

Oh, and we did see some whales. And eagles. And the town (population, about 30,000)

Juneau, Alaska

Day 14 - August 19, 2010

Ketchikan is the last port of call on this amazing trip. Our shore journey today is a catamaran boat ride to Misty Fjords National Monument where we boarded a small float plane back to Ketchikan. Unfortunately I don't see this exact tour on the Princess Cruise web site but there are similar. Anyway, a great day. How often do you get to taje a boat cruise through the fog into magnificent fjords, beautiful scenery, then take off from the water in a small float plane and fly over what you just was from the water. For me, once in a lifetime.

Misty Fjords National Monument

Day 15 - August 20, 2010

A day at sea as we head back to Vancouver for the flight home. Interestingly I got a shot of Telegraph Cove from a very similar angle as a shot I had gotten the day before 911 in 2001. We saw a few Orcas this day but was not really able to get any good shots.

Telegraph Cove, BC

Day 16 - August 21, 2010

Our final day. First thing in the morning we docked at Vancouver and I managed a few decent shots as we pulled in. Then off to the airport for the flight back to Calgary with a few shots of the Rockies from the window of the plane. Hopefully the photography on this trip was not not too terrible!

Vancouver Harbour and the Lion's Gate Bridge