Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ketchikan, Alaska

On Thursday May 7, we arrived in Ketchikan. It was another relatively early start and the weather looked very promising again. We were blessed with unusually beautiful blue days for the majority of our cruise.

Ketchikan is an old gold mining and timber mill town with a population of 14,000 which doubles in the summer season when there can be up to eight cruise ships in port at the same time. Fortunately we were the only one in port and the fourth for the season. Tourism is the main industry in Ketchikan, as well as being home to the best totem pole carver in the world.

Our excursion was titled "Magical Misty Fjords by Float Plane". It wasn't misty, but it sure was magical! Our float plane had 10 passengers each with a window and it was a 1960 de Havilland Otter with a very experienced pilot.
What started as a gorgeous blue-sky day, soon turned into a rather cloudy day; the first day we'd had like this since arriving in Alaska!

The scenery was just breathtaking, passing over forests, lakes...

Snow-capped mountains...

Frozen lakes...

And landing on Big Goat Lake...

We all braved it out onto the plane floats for a better view and to experience the majesty and serenity of this remote landscape...

Soon, we were airborne again and, on return to town, we flew along the fjord, called the Behm canal.

Linking with these memes:                

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sitka, Alaska

We docked very early in Sitka, a traditional Alaskan fishing town with a population of 9,000.

Our 8am excursion was called "Otters, Raptors & Bears, Oh My!!". The catamaran tour around Sitka Sound was wonderful and the weather was perfect.

Sitka is surrounded by Spruce covered mountains, jagged snowy mountains and Mt Edgecumbe, a snow covered volcano.

Sitka only has a total of 18 miles of roads, so owning a boat is a priority over owning a car. Most teenagers have boats before they have cars.

In the protected areas of Sitka Sound, the reflections were gorgeous!

Sitka sound is a wildlife haven! We saw many Bald Eagles perched & in flight, families of Otters, colonies of Sea Lions, Grey Whales fluking & breaching and a single Humpback Whale. I was in wildlife photography heaven!

Common Murre

After 3 hours on the water, our excursion moved to a coach where we were taken to the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Centre. Here, rescued injured birds spend time in ICU before being moved to a large "physical therapy" area. There were mainly bald eagles, but there were some owls, kestrels and hawks as well.

From there we went to a rescue centre called 'Fortress of the Bear'. Alaska is the only state where rescued, orphaned or injured bears are not legally allowed to be released into the wild after rehabilitation, so the centre was established not only for rehab, but as a haven for these bears, who would otherwise be shot. They were gorgeous! 

Linking with these memes:                   

Friday, June 12, 2015

Glacier Bay, Alaska

After an exhausting and very late day in Juneau, we woke early the next morning to scenes like this while we ate breakfast on our private deck...

We were heading towards Glacier Bay National Park. While we ate, we continually clicked away on our cameras as the landscape changed to that of beautiful mirror like waters and stunning scenes of rocky mountains, snow & ice. The magical world of snow and ice become more and more spectacular until we reached to toe of the Margerie Glacier.

The Margerie Glacier, a tidewater glacier, was a sight to behold. It is 34 km long and 1.6 km wide and is named after Emmanuel de Margerie, who visited the bay in 1913. It begins at the south slope of Mount Root and flows into Tarr Inlet.

It is the cleanest glacier in Glacier Bay and also one of the most active glaciers for "Calving" (breaking and dropping of ice walls into the sea). The sound is like that of cracking thunder, followed by a rumble and splash as the ice drops into the bay.
The ship stopped here for about an hour slowly rotating 360 degrees so everyone could see. On the bow, staff served biscuits, cheese, champagne & mugs of hot chocolate.

On the miniature icebergs we saw Terns, Gulls and colonies of Sea Lions.

The reflections were as stunning as the landscape...

We were blessed again with more blue skies and subtle cloud formations...

It wasn't long until we were on the move again to John's Hopkins Inlet to marvel at another glacier.

This is the Lamplugh Glacier; a 13km long tidewater glacier with a width of about 1.21 km at the water face. It rises to height of 46-49 m with depth of 3-12m at the waterline.

Here we rotated for another hour, so everyone could enjoy the view from the bow, stern or their private balconies (if they were as lucky as we were).

While in Glacier Bay, we also passed quite close to the Reid Glacier. There were occasional sightings of whales.
This was a magical day in a vast untouched wilderness of snow and ice.

Linking with these memes:              
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...