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Alaska 2011


Riding the Carnival Spirit to my 47th state, Alaska!

This is the Alaskan ports page
Click here to see photos from non-Alaska ports (Seattle, Victoria, the ship, etc.)







Somewhere in Alaskan Waters

First humpback whale sighting!







Tracy Arm Fjord

Our first stop was the Tracy Arm Fjord, located about 45 miles south of Juneau. The fjord was carved out by the receding Sawyer Glacier. When it was first documented in the 1880s it was a single glacier but, as it has receded, it split into two creating the North Sawyer Glacier and the South Sawyer Glacier.

A humpback whale and a couple of bald eagles greeted our arrival into Tracy Arm Fjord.




Waterfalls line Tracy Arm Fjord. The last photo is of Ice Falls.

We boarded a smaller boat run by Allen Marine Tours and headed towards the North Sawyer Glacier while the cruise ship followed as best it could. The fjord became increasingly filled with icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Some glowed blue because the ice was so compressed.



Birds found the icebergs a relaxing way to float down the fjord.

We saw the North Sawyer Glacier calve several times (i.e. chunks break off and fall into the sea).

Despite mostly clear skies it was very cold as Doris, Stu, and Julie can attest!

At the South Sawyer Glacier we met up with our cruise ship and we found many harbor seals lounging on icebergs.







Skagway

Skagway served as the main port for stampeders seeking their fortune as goldminers in the Klondike in the late 1890s. The trek to the Klondike gold fields was extremely taxing until the White Pass & Yukon Railroad was carved into the granite walls in 1898. It climbs 3,000 feet in its first 20 miles and covers 110 miles overall with steep grades of 4%. It features incredible views, tight turns, tunnels, bridges, and trestles.



The train crossed over the Canadian border into the Yukon. Along the way, we could see our cruise ship in the distance and saw mountain goats grazing.

Many of the buildings in town are from the early 1900s. Painted on the mountains surrounding the town is a 1910 advertisement for the Herman Kirmse watch repair shop (long gone) and the names of ship captains who have docked at Skagway. Here, our captain, Captain Vito Giacalone, continues the tradition began in the late 1880s.







Juneau

The highlight of the trip, for me, was dogsledding on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. We arrived 12 miles up the glacir via Temsco Helicopter to partly cloudy skies and 60 degree weather -- I was waaaay over dressed having heard the previous days' glacier trip to Skagway hit a high of 40 degrees. I was on Kym & Dustin's dogsled (Dustin, wearing the hat, was our head musher). The dogs on the dogsled team were extremely excited to go. From the moment the helicopter landed they were barking and jumping and couldn't wait to go. Even after a good run we would stop to rest the team but they were immediately ready to get going again.






Following a smooth helicopter ride back to the city of Juneau, I immediately headed up to the mountains, again, this time I took the Mt. Roberts Tramway 1800 feet up the mountain for some hiking and viewing Tlingit totem carvings.









Ketchikan

They say that there's a drought in Ketchikan if it doesn't rain for more than three days. We hit the town on one of those rare mostly cloudy days with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain.

The original part of town, called Creek Street, is located right over Ketchikan Creek where the salmon run each summer. Due to abnormal weather, the salmon are running late this year and I did not see them.


Ketchikan is known for totem poles crafted by the Klingit. While newer totem poles can be found around town, original 19th century totem poles are preserved in the Totem Heritage Center.



With the salmon not yet running, I didn't see any flocks of wild bald eagles, but individuals could be seen close up at the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center.




Wild bald eagles around Ketchikan:







Victoria

Victoria was our final port. We docked at 7:30pm so there was not much opportunity to see much of the city.

I did have the opportunity to see Miniature World which recreates historical and fictional worlds in miniature.








Alaskan Sunsets









Click here to see photos from non-Alaska ports (Seattle, Victoria, the ship, etc.)