WE JUST LOVE ALASKA

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FIORDS & FERRIES - THE MAGIC OF THE MARINE HIGHWAY
 We headed to the terminal in Haines & following directions, I drove the car onto the ferry, ran upstairs to film Mike driving the bus on.  I could hear him reversing as the beeping of the RV resounded up on deck. The water was calm on the 4 hour trip to Juneau very relaxing and we saw whales in the distance, thanks to the binoculars. 

On arrival in Juneau, the capital of Alaska, we made our way to the RV park.  The only way here is by plane or ferry.  A visit to the salmon Hatchery was very informative.  The fish were born here, then go out to the Pacific Ocean and after 3 -5 years, instinct brings them back to lay their eggs in the place of their birth, then die!  They must swim up the man made 'ladder'
(similar to swimming upstream) before they will spawn.  The hatchery fertilize then hatch the eggs before releasing them back into the ocean, & so the cycle begins again.  It was most interesting.  There were sooooo many fish, Amazing! 

After walking along the main street, we enjoyed a meal of king crab, bisque, crab cakes & scallops at the famous Tracy's Crab Shack.  

A  hike to Nugget waterfall, near Millenhall Glacier was most enjoyable & standing 5 feet from some bald eagles who were eating huge salmon on the side of the river was amazing. There are a lot of eagles in this area, due to the abundance of fish.  

The next day we boarded a Sea Plane for the 'Flight & Feast tour over the glaciers.  Mike sat
up the front with the pilot, so he was in his element.  After the safety briefing, we put on headsets to reduce the noise & listened to a description of our surroundings. The pilot taxied down the waterway, then pulled on the throttle & effortlessly the small aircraft responding to his skillful handling, lifted into the air, and we were on our way.  It was amazing looking down at the town of Juneau & the Royal Caribbean & Princess Cruise Ships in port as we followed the course of the river, before he deftly turned the plane & headed further over the mountains & we could see into the deep crevasses of the glaciers, the vivid blue of the ice crystals formed over many years, glistening in the sunlight. Some of these glaciers are 25 miles long.  It was a different perspective, looking down on the snow capped mountains, trees & river from our little plane & a few scattered clouds in the blue ethereal sky, completed the picture of pure ambience, as we headed towards Taku Lodge on a remote island where a sumptuous feast awaited us.

Too soon it was time to bring the plane down on the lake & after guiding it gently along the calm water, we arrived at the lodge, built in 1923, where the aroma of salmon being cooked over hot coals, reminded us how hungry we were.   A cup of coffee was enjoyed, while waiting for brunch to be prepared.   We helped ourselves to a piece of beautifully cooked King Salmon & all the fixin's (as they say over here).  Very nice meal.

The trees along the riverside had an eerie moss hanging from them as we went for a short walk after our meal,  fortunately we had spray on as the mosquitoes were thick. Normally black bears frequent the area because of the salmon, but today they were elusive.

It was time to return to Juneau,  we boarded the plane for the 20 minute flight  back.   A fantastic trip, one we would highly recommend, which says a lot, as I am usually petrified of small planes.

It was time to move on so after checking in at the terminal, & driving on to the ferry, we left Juneau, sailing via Sitka & arriving in Petersburg about 1.45pm the next day.  It was a 23 hr trip, so we booked a cabin which was basic but comfortable. I enjoyed playing the piano in the lounge during the trip.  

Petersburg is a quaint fishing village, with many old buildings & fishing boats along the foreshore.  Mike LOVES looking at boat harbors, so we spent some time walking among the old sea vessels.  A lot of boats have huge nets  and catch fish that way.  He stopped to talk to some fishermen, made it as if he was their long lost buddy and as we left,  one of them chased after us down the pier and gave us a 2kilo fillet of King Salmon, so his talking paid off!!   We were so thankful, it looked very nice & was SO YUM,  as we found out later, when we cooked some!

A whale watching trip is quite expensive, in fact the local ticket office wanted $380 per person to do an exclusive 6 passenger maximum tour .... Mike thought that this was a bit over the top and so he rang the Captain of the boat and as per usual became best friends with him and so we got 2 for the price of one. He has this knack of getting a good deal on most occasions. 

Late afternoon we rode our bikes along the board walk, and a black bear was strolling along the
other side of the river.  We sat on the rocks, bear spray in hand, but the bugs were so bad!!  Before long another bear came from the other direction, both looking for salmon.  Sooo
exciting! 

The next day we were up early, to go see some whales.  After meeting our 3 other cruisers, we
boarded the boat and off we went.  The water was calm & it wasn't long before we saw about 6 sea lions all crammed onto a floating buoy.  

After this, a pod of orcas (killer whales) were swimming not far from the boat, There were at least 12 of them, including a baby.  Don, the captain, said it is very rare to see this, it only happens about twice a year. They looked so good. The rule is to keep the boat at least 90 meters (100 yards) away, but if the whales come near the boat, that is ok.  We continued on and soon saw the spout of water near the shore, & there were 2 humpback whales asleep, but after a while woke up.  Altogether we saw 29 humpbacks during the day. LOVED IT!!

We really enjoyed Petersburg, in fact we love Alaska, a great place to visit. 

Anyway, I think that's enough from me, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and we LOVE reading your comments ...keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all. 
 

Next blog, we continue on the Marine Highway....Ketchikan & Prince Rupert 
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Comments

Ursula on

I am so anvias of the two of you .Again thanks for letting us read your blog it is almos like we are with you ,keep up the good work

sue/ed on

we knew that you would love alaska. continue to enjoy each entry

Mel Pillion on

Love reading about your adventures - every time it's either ooooaaarrr over spectacular scenery or a great laugh. Some fabulous photos here. Take care xx Ben, Mel & kids

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