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.