Meanwhile back on the ship, the rest of the family happily carried on cruising. Here are the tales from the family:
All of the family went to The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan and said it is a must see. The history of the logging towns bought to life with real lumberjacks, Axe throwing, Pole climbing, Log running and speed cutting with chainsaws.
There are many wonderful excursions from this cruise and whale watching is always a favourite, some of the family did this. Depending on the time of year different whales and other creatures can be seen. As with all wildlife it’s on their terms so it’s a game of chance. Humpbacks are always around but the Killer whales migrate up and down the coast.
If you have the opportunity, as my husband did, then the helicopter tour around the glaciers is excellent and for the more adventurous even grab your ice axe and crampons once on the glacier and after a short walk then why not climb the face of the glacier! One thing the helicopter tour gives you is the scale of the area and the local knowledge from your pilot. They can really emphasize the fact of how the landscape has changed in recent years and the work they are doing in glaciology research.
As the cruise continues along the inside passage the evening entertain is in full swing with quiz nights, the casino, cinema and of course the theatre shows. Fun packed evenings lead to a great night’s sleep and refreshed and ready for the next port and excursions.
If you are the adventurous type, then why not try the high wire zip lines in the tall fir trees or paddle the ocean inlets with sea eagles soaring just above you and sea lions keeping a close eye on their kayaking friends. Or maybe just be amazed by the scenery and the culture as the coach takes you through from sea to summit, through alpine forest to tundra or you can even be standing in a desert all on the same trip. This Alaskan cruise has it all.
One of the highlights is the tour through Glacier Bay. Entering the bay, you will be amazed by the grandeur and majesty of the scenery. Sea otters can be seen, as you advance into the bay. Once on the edge of extinction in the bay from hunting, their numbers have risen to nearly 1000 now. The Forest Service send aboard some of their rangers who give a running commentary as the ship journey’s deeper into the bay. Always on the lookout for something with their trained eyes, they see an eagle siting on a beach, a seal lazes on a piece of ice that has floated down the bay from the mighty glaciers and there is an occasional glimpse of a whale, diving once again into the darkest depths of the ice waters. The day is all the more atmospheric as there is a haze over the distant mountains. This was due to over 60 wildfires blazing away in the north of the state, another reminder of these changing times. The rapidly receding glacier is a worry for researchers, but for those on board it is the opportunity to see the face of the glacier crumble and fall, ever decreasing its size. Seeing and hearing that crack of the ice as it falls into the bay is a moment to remember.
The trip ends at Whittier, a town of 300 residents with over 700,000 visitors a year. As you leave Whittier through North America's longest tunnel, the panoramic view of the ocean, mountains and glaciers surround you.
An amazing opportunity, experience and memory.