Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alaska Vacation - Day Four

Our second morning on the ship we woke to cold, cloudy, drizzly skies!

It was raining a bit. Not pouring, but definitely raining.

This is one of the cruise ships that followed behind us coming out of the fog. It was kind of comforting to know there was always another big ship pretty close that could come to our rescue if there was a problem.

Without the glare from the sun on the water it was even easier to spot the whale spouting from our balcony.

Do you see those two spouts in this picture?

There is a whale tail in the middle of this picture. There were hundreds of whales that we spotted from the ship. A couple of them were really close, but we were never quite ready with our camera when they surfaced.

We took some family photos.

Cute boys.

We were dashing all over the boat, boys still in their pjs, looking for whales.

We saw several breach the water and that was a big thrill.

Kinda spooky.

Love this picture.

Harry pointing out the sights to Chip.

This was a huge waterfall. I wish it had been a clear day to see this even better.

We pulled into Juneau and were so excited to go on our whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier excursion.

This was the pier where we docked.

It was a hustling, bustling place with people going here, there and everywhere.

We took a bus ride up to the Whale Watching boats. Our driver's name was Max. He was awesome. Told us so many interesting facts about Juneau. Like...did you know that when they opened the McDonald's in Juneau that they set a record, selling 17,000 hamburgers the first day. They had to shut down for four days after that because they were out of food.

When we got on the boat, the captain said we were going to go over by the seagulls because sometimes they are a good indicator that whales are in the area. It was a short ten minute ride.

Then BAM - we were in the middle of humpback heaven. This pod of whales was working together using a method called Bubble netting to circle around the fish, confuse them and then eat them.
The naturalist on the boat said she had been doing this for 10 years and had never seen this many humpbacks working together. She said they are usually alone or in groups of two or three. I think she counted 15 whales in this group. The captain cut the engine and we sat there for 30 minutes watching. It was amazing.

Down they go again. They stayed down for about 3 or 4 minutes and then they would all shoot out at the same time.

That is a large animal.

With a large tail!

My little Chipster liked the whales, loved the free hot chocolate on board and absolutely hated this rain poncho. Big time hated the rain poncho.

They all pretty much hated the rain ponchos but they did the trick. Kept us dry.

Look at this beautiful lighthouse with the purple flowers all around it. Stunning.

Sea Lions hanging out on the bottom of a buoy.

This was another boat similar to the one that we were on.

Look at this picture that Hubby got of the lighthouse with the whale tail in the water. Good work. Might need this one framed on my wall.

Or this one! Spouting whale and lighthouse.

Bald eagle in a tree!

After the boat ride, we got back on the bus and headed over to the Mendenhall Glacier. I didn't think I would like this because it was just a 50 minute pit stop after I was on such a high from whale watching.

I was never so wrong.

If you are ever within 500 miles of this very spot on earth, you must go there. Take a detour to get there. Fly in. Boat in. Helicopter in. Just get there. My mouth just gaped open the entire time. Plan to spend several hours there.

Hmmm, this is a little concerning.

There was a stream there with salmon. The salmon were really swimming upstream, battling, jumping, fighting their way upstream. They were huge! I am happy to report that we did not see a bear.

I did look up from the stream and see this though. Isn't that just gorgeous?

Then I looked left and saw this.

Then I looked to my right and saw this and wanted to cry it was so beautiful.

Then Harry whispered in my ear that he had to go to the bathroom and the spell was broken.

We walked over toward the visitor's center in search of a bathroom.

And saw this and wanted to cry again.


These delicate little daisies were all over the banks of the water.

Then we heard the roaring of the waterfall. Do you see it to the right?

Look at this picture zoomed in! Do you see the people in front of the waterfall? It was a mile away to hike to that point and we didn't have time to go over there. So bummed.

Just cannot say enough how absolutely stunningly beautiful this area was. A slice of heaven on earth for sure.

Look at the reflection of the trees in the crystal clear water.

Even with all the pictures we took...I wish we had more.

Max was waiting in the bus entirely too soon.

He dropped us off in downtown Juneau so we could walk around a bit before getting back on the boat.


Harry got some Bacon Mints. Disgusting. Awful. Horrible. I almost spit mine out and hit somebody in front of me.

Little Chip got Bacon Gumballs. Double barf. Make me sick. He chewed a piece for about 5 minutes acting like it was the best thing in the world and then almost barfed in a trash can trying to spit it out. GROSS!!!

Before we knew it, we were leaving Juneau and heading to Skagway.

The whale watching was so thrilling. Mendenhall Glacier was beautiful. We wrapped up our evening with some ping pong and another meal in the Horizon buffet.

Slept so well!

1 comment:

  1. great posts! love the pix of the whale pod and scenery! i almost got cool seeing the pix.