Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vacation in Pictures -- Day Juneau

Pulling into port that morning, the weather was beautiful. Sunshine everywhere, temps in the low 50’s, at least, already that morning. We saw two bald eagles in the harbor, and enjoyed a room-service breakfast of cold cereals, coffee, fruits, pastries and croissants on our balcony …. Great way to start the day. Of course, get real -- I was on a cruise ship in Alaska --- short of a raging thunderstorm or a scorching case of herpes, I can’t think of any way to start the day that *wouldn’t* have been great.

Mid-morning, we left the ship and walked into Juneau to the (purple!) offices of Orca Enterprises, the company with whom we had booked our whale-watching excursion for that afternoon. We intended to go to Mendenhall Glacier beforehand, but Orca said they had fewer people booked for their morning tour and offered us the option to switch, so we did.

We had just a small bit of time to kill before the tour, so we went downstairs from their office and bought drinks and snacks, and sat at an outdoor table at the mall, totally loving the sunshine and great company, enjoying a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains in the background. If the whole thing sounds a little cheesy, well, I was well-ensconced in my mid-vacation bliss by that point. You know what I mean? How the first day or two of a vacation you’re still trying to orient yourself, and the last day or two you’re sad that it’s ending. But right in the middle, you can just breathe deep and appreciate a gorgeous morning with friends, and that’s what we did.

Orca shuttled us to their harbor, where we climbed aboard the (also purple!) Orca Odyssey for our whale-watching tour.

Weather-wise, it was probably the most fantastic day of the entire vacation. While the boat was moving quickly, heading out to the more open waters, it was breezy and I was glad for my coat and gloves. The people who stayed inside the cabin never even needed a jacket, but I liked being outside on the back deck of the boat, watching the scenery and enjoying the fresh air. Once we stopped, however, I not only didn’t need my coat, but I stripped off my sweatshirt as well. *THIS* was the warm weather people said was a possibility in Alaska, and we were enjoying it to the fullest!

(I took this picture just because I think he’s handsome)

We did see quite a bit of wildlife that day …..

Whales, of course:

Even a momma and baby whale, which was really neat:

Sea lions, engaging in a very serious game of King of the Hill on a bouy:

The always cool blow-hole shot:

And of course, the image I captured over and over, probably a hundred times on this day … the humpback of the whale, as it came up for air and dove again below the water. Seriously. At least a hundred different pictures, all of them looking exactly like this one:

It was a fun tour, and I’m glad we went on it, but had to admit I was a little disappointed. I had envisioned some sort of Free Willy moment, where a great white whale would breach the water and jump over the ship while I stood atop with my arms flung open wide. Alas, that didn’t happen. But it was still a great day, with fabulous weather, and we still had Mendenhall Glacier to enjoy before heading back to the ship.


Becky said...

Dear Kristie

Very cool holiday pictures especially the flight. I have updated Ms Feisty in case you wondered. Hope you're still surviving Summer. Would like to hear more of the kids' antics.
Best wishes

krueth said...

Hi Kristie, I am so enjoying your vacation pictures adn stories. I would so love to go to Alaska one day. Wendy

JoAnn said...

I am sure the pictures don't do any of it justice but it looks just breathtaking!!! This is my husbands "someday" vacation. I have a feeling an Alaskan cruise might be in our future!

Amy said...

I love hearing about your trip. sounds like such an amazing time! The pictures are awesome and i did see the teeny tiny bear butts! THey were cute little bear butts...notice i can say that viewing them from a photo...different story if i came across one in the outdoors!!! WHOLE different story then!
Anyway..cant wait to hear about your next day's adventure in Alaska! Great job on your website.

Leeann said...

You are so funny! You totally read my mind. I was reading about the whale cruise and looking at the pictures and wondering if I would feel let down...exactly like you said, no Free Willy moment! It looks absolutely gorgeous just the same.
And yep, that is a great picture of your DH!

Connie F-G said...

I too have tons of humpback whale pictures just like yours! I went on a half dozen of those trips and never had a Free Willy moment but still, each sighting was magical.

Thanks for the fun pictures!


~*~Snappz~*~ said...

Love the photos :o)

Dayna said...

Wow, I've never wanted to go to Alaska, until I saw these pictures.

I'm totally enjoying your pictures!

Mrs. Who said...

One of our favorite part of our cruise to Alaska was seeing the whales. We got lots of pictures of backs and tails also. One breached RIGHT beside our boat and blew vapor in the air. Everyone shrieked and jumped back and then leaped forward to see the whale. It's just amazing to see them up close.

Tammy said...

Great pics,
but i am just wondering how big this scrapbook will be!

cute bear butts :) hee hee

Clara zimmerman said...

Have you read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant?
Clara Zimmerman

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, he is very handsome :-) Next time, not BEAR butts....I wanna see a BLAINE butt!!! (you once mentioned to me it was a very nice tushie!)

Love hearing all about your holiday, have totally convinced me that I must now take an Alaskan cruise....just catching up, off to read more....

Tracey in Calgary
ps if you loved all the fjords/mountains,etc, you would LOVE Banff/Lake Louise, just a very short drive out of Calgary, come anytime you want, you'll always have a place to stay!