Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Alaska: Obsevations, and only 3 of 250 pictures!

As I write this, some of God's most amazing creation is in view from this fabulous balcony. Rugged, tree covered mountains are dotted with snow-caps melting, causing waterfalls of cascading, individual pearly ribbons on their way down to the sea. All of this glory is peeking out between the hovering, misty layers of cloudy bands, so strand-like I want to wind them into a ball of fluffy whitish-grey yarn. 

We're approaching Juneau, though still three hours away, there are power lines, fishing boats, sailboats, houses dotting the shoreline. Birds. An otter poked his head up to say “Hi!” about 50 yards from the ship! Yesterday, I saw a “teenage” whale breech four times as it traveled the length of our ship and disappeared astern. Reminded me of a skateboarder showing off. “Let's go! You know they want a show! I'll do my twirling breach – they'll go nuts!”

During my breakfast - fetched from the sumptuous, varied for all cultures buffet and brought to my balcony - the onboard naturalist gave us a brief glacier lecture, as we passed a hanging glacier. I didn't learn about this type on my last trip. It's a glacier the ends part way up the mountain and doesn't move much. Thus the hanging, I guess. Took me a while to spot it, until I saw a baby-blue dragon's head and followed it up the mountain. I know it's weird, but the dragon was wearing a princess dress, spread all poofy in it's hoop, with the hem at the top of the mountain. I didn't have my camera, and the iPhone photo is horrid so here's a link to a wiki article with a goodpicture. Mine was bluer though!

The water has changed color dramatically, from “ocean” to a gorgeous green-turquoise color. 

I think it's because it's shallower. Glad that there are 350 balconies on this starboard side because I was writing, not looking, when a little girl alerted me, “Daddy! Come quick! The water just changed color completely!” Sure enough. Thanks for the info!

We totally scored getting the upgrade to a private balcony stateroom. We have a roof that extends past the railing by a whole balcony width, so we can sit out here in the rain and not get wet, and we can sit out here in the sun and not get burned. We could also throw things at the three levels of balconies below us, which are staggered like a terrace.

I want to throw a ping-pong ball at the guy in the front row of balconies who has barely put down his iPad since we boarded. Seriously? You don't want to see any of this? Did you get dragged here? Probably. A dad type guy is out a lot with his binoculars.

If you had the chance to see all of this natural beauty, would you be sitting there in the virtual world, for a mighty stiff price I might add, or would you be taking in the scenery? C'mon, be honest. Ping-pong balls don't really hurt. That much.

Have you been to Alaska?  What's the best trip you ever took?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You should've thrown the ping-pong ball! Great photos, Tina. Feel free to post more.

Jo said...

Personally I am green with envy. I want to do an Alaska trip so badly.

I don't understand anyone who goes on any kind of vacation with a TV and an iPad or something similar. I take my laptop, but wouldn't use it if there was such scenery as you describe.

Would love to see more of your pictures.

Jen said...

I love Alaska. I visited in October of 2001. My best friend (also named Tina) was living there with her husband and she and I drove out onto the Kenai peninsula and stayed in a little cabin on a lake. It was beautiful.

The best trip I ever took was actually a business trip to Washington D.C. My husband and I stayed over Memorial Day weekend and visited most of the monuments and museums. It was just incredible to see things like Thomas Jefferson's library and the Declaration of Independence.

So, here is my question, if anyone will answer it...If you could take a trip to any place in the continental U.S., where would you go? My husband and I have two free tickets we need to use by October and we're stumped. Already been to Florida, Washington D.C., Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Nevada, California, Texas, Tennesee, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Montana and Alaska. Help?

Jo said...

One of two things, can't you go to Canada? Or on the other hand, give them to me LOL

Arlee Bird said...

What a great adventure! Alaska is one of the two states I've never visited. You can probably guess the other. I've had many wonderful trips and don't know that I could pick one as the best. Hope to do the Alaska thing some day.

Tossing It Out

Tina said...

Jen - go to Maryland and see the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Visit Ocean City at the very tip where the bay meets the Atlantic. Beach combing is better in the fall, and you'll get fantastic off season rates. St. Michael's, also on the Eastern Shore is a tiny, historic town famous for a great trick to fool the British during the Revolution. Stay at the Victoriana Inn, a great B&B on the water. Hubs and I spent our 10th anniversary there. Be sure to eat some of the famous MD blue crabs. There's a great restaurant on the water also in St. Michael's call the Crab House. I grew up in MD, spending my summers in Annapolis. Our family (as in extended two generations back) owns some waterfront property there, and I learned to sail, water ski, etc. We spent almost every summer weekend there. How lucky to have free tickets! Let me know if you end up picking MD because I have a lot more info to share.

Brian Miller said...

oh i am so jealous...alaska is on the must see list for me...and i would love to take a cruise up to there as well....cant wait to see more pictures!!!!

D.G. Hudson said...

I want to do that Alaska inner passage cruise one day to see the Northern Lights, but hubs grew up in the cool north so that's farther down the list for him.

Suggestions to Jen: Upper east coast and Atlanta, Georgia (lots of history and things to see there).

JoJo said...

I'd love to take a cruise up there...another thing I meant to do when I was in the Seattle/Tacoma area but never did. Best trip I ever took? Cross country last June from Washington to Massachusetts. Oh, all my solo trips to Vancouver Island, esp. in summer 2007.

House Revivals said...

It all sounds wonderful! I think I would spend most of my time taking it all in, but also spend just a bit of time recording my thoughts. But who knows? When we go to the island, I always take a journal type sketch book. Over and over I have taken me book out to a cliff that overhangs the water -- to sketch, write, design, whatever. Then I find myself staring at the water, searching for wildlife, lost in thought. Still haven't added anything to that journal....

Heather Murphy said...

Ah, Alaska is on my Bucket List! I would love to go kayaking with the whales

Lisa said...

Such a beautiful place! I went in July 2002 with the guy who became my husband. We went to Anchorage, Juneau & Fairbanks.

It sure wasn't like what I expected. You know, summer! It got downright HOT at times! And it still being light outside after midnight was remarkable. And seeing whales & glaciers on the dinner cruise was just WOW.

Next time I go I want to go in winter to see the Northern Lights.

Jen said...

Okay - We're prudent and lame. We remembered that we have to fly to Las Vegas in January (we go every January for a trade show) and we decided to just use the tickets for that.

To be quite honest it took a little stress off to make that decision. It was getting to be too much pressure to pick just the right place and not end up vacationing somewhere lame.

Maryland and the rest of the East Coast are definitely on the list of future places to visit though.


mare ball said...

Never been to Alaska, but know friends who have gone and say is just ethereal, like another planet. I lived in Italy for 2 years and I loved it. :-)