If you are considering going to Canada or any Country where a Visa eTA is required this con be obtained on line but take great care to use this official govt site for that Country For CANADA :-Link
Use this official Canadian Govt web site site and not a travel agent who is presenting their application Form in such away to make you believe you are using the official site. I am most careful but have still been caught out. The Canadian Govt state that the Visa is 7 Canadian dollars we have just been charged £77.00 each, 10 X Plus extra cash, for the same Visa and having now done some research many other people have been caught and are being ripped off by these Companies. So don't join us.
The site that ripped me off was :-www.etravelcanada.org/eta DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY, which is at the top of the list on the www.I hope this warning saves you money. We have been to Alaska from both the US and Canada both now require eTA(Visa's)
Now please enjoy.
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The blue numbers on this page are the GPS coordinates, if you copy and past these into search download google Earth pro. it will take you to the spot where the photograph was taken or cruise ship was located.
Back to Alaska August 2017
Length of Cruise 14 days. Distance Cruised 3670 Miles
August 2017 and we find our selves drawn back to Alaska, However on this visit we have started our cruise from Seattle in the USA on the MS Amsterdam part of the Holland America Cruise line.
Seattle High rise buildings can be seen in the distance . Mount Rainier making a great backdrop, can be also be seen.
Previously we have departed from Vancouver in Canada on Norwegian cruise line ships.
Why the change? Well this cruise ship goes to different and additional ports to the ones we have previously visited in Alaska some of which are further North.
We left port on the 31st of July 2017 and are currently headed for the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful moon lit night and the water is as calm as a mill pond. Tomorrow 1st of August is a day at sea prior to entering the inside passage which takes up to Alaska, our first port being Ketchikan which we should reach on Wednesday.
Other ports we are scheduled to visit are Juneau, Icy Straight Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka, Canada (Vancouver Island, Victoria)
We spent a 24 hour period at sea with the coast line of Canada and America in view some of the time, We did see a couple of whales but apart from that it was a peaceful resting day getting over the nine hour time difference between USA/Alaska and the UK
We have a tour arranged once we reach Ketchikan on Wednesday one we have done previously but on this occasion are hoping to see bears feeding on the salmon which should now be running up the rivers and streams to spawn.
We arrive in Ketchikan and who should be already docked but our previous cruise ship the Norwegian Sun, we continued to see her at various ports during our cruise.
Although Ketchikan is notorious for being one of the wettest parts of the world, we arrived at 0800 in the morning to a warm sunny day.
Well we went on our tour and saw young and mature bald headed eagles. This eagle even though young has a fearsome beak and claws and is now quite capable of tearing a fish apart. Red Squirrels were also busy foraging for food, taking little notice of us visitors encroaching on their space.
We also saw the Salmon some of which were very large fish but no bears, although one was seen in the think vegetation of the rain forested area through which the guided tour took us.
Yes Alaska does have rain forest the large trees including giant red woods are covered in moss, thick vegetation that covers the ground, some of which was down trodden by the bears that populate this area.
Did I see bears at this venue? No, not even fresh foot prints like we did on our 2015 visit.
Click on the white arrow to see the video. Enlarge to full screen by clicking the small box bottom right hand side. Adjust the sound to your liking. I prefer it off, just click and the speaker icon and select off.
We saw a lot of large salmon attempting to get back to the place of birth to spawn and black bears had been seen in the area in previous days. If you look closely, in the video you can see the salmon fry (Young Salmon) swimming near the waters edge where they will stay for a year or so in fresh water, they will eventually head for salt water and the open sea (Pacific Ocean) returning in 4-5 years.
We also visited the Raptor centre where injured Birds of prey are looked after and where possible returned to the wild, in some cases this is not possible due to the type of injury sustained as was the case with this female Bald headed eagle who has lived at the centre since 2002.
There is a disused timber mill on this site which is now being used as a visitor centre along with of course the visitors shop who provide free drinking chocolate and a sample of cooked salmon.
On this visit one new section of the mill was being used for carving a large Totem pole, all by hand no power tools at all! The notice by the pole reads:-
The tree is a 40 foot Red Ceder.
This project will take about 11 months
Yes we use red and black paint
The pole will stay on site.
Yes we carve with only hand tools
It's a story of a cannibal giant
please tip you Guide.
There being other very large carvings crafted from wood, such as this large salmon, and a blacksmiths making very nice knifes. (bare in mind that you cannot bring these back to the UK)
Back into Ketchikan, with plenty of spare time to look around the shops, one word of warning, if you are purchasing items/presents etc during your trip to Alaska, tax is not including in the advertised/asking price so be prepared or you will get caught out when you come to pay as it can add several dollars to price at the till.
We left Ketchikan and Wednesday afternoon and have traveled north overnight towards Tracy Arm.
The sunset on the evening of the 2nd promised good weather for tomorrow
We woke this morning to a bright sunny day with snow capped mountains in the distance, the sea is so calm its like cruising on glass and being at the front (Forward) of the ship there is total silence.
On our first visit to Alaska now some twelve years ago we had an inside cabin, the major disadvantage to that was that because you need the cabin lights on all the time you could not tell day from night, and you have to leave to see anything and that means going to an upper lounge or deck.
Yes an outside cabin and in this case with a balcony is costly but if doing this cruise it is worth the extra cash.
Today Thursday we were on our way to Tracy Alm, but the visit is cancelled due to large ice flows which could endanger the ship, to get to Tracy Arm several bends have to be negotiated in the fjord, which means that large ice flows cannot be seen before they are too close to avoid.
So we are visited another glacier in the near vicinity which is a little more direct to get to, Dawes Glacier which is just as spectacular as Tracy Arm 57 30 17N 132 50 23W This can be located by putting the (In blue)into Google Earth. which can be downloaded free from the internet. 57 30 17N 132 50 23W The Dawes glacier is just as spectacular and the ice cold winds in the area demands warm clothes and layers of them if you are going on deck and want to stay warm.
Viewing areas from the Amsterdam are very good, as can be seen many of the passengers took the opportunity to get as close as possible, in this case right out on the bow (front) and on balconies open to passengers, and like the other cruise line hot chocolate was served to the passengers while they viewed the glacier.
The views of the glacier are truly breathtaking The odd very large bang reminding one that the glacier is always on the move the ice cracking as it does so.
No photograph can capture the true beauty of the scenery. Fellow passengers, a lot seeing glaciers for the first time just look on in wonder, even if you have seen them before they still capture your attention to the full, their appearance changing all the time due to the calving ice falling from the face of the glacier.
On our way up to and back from the glacier there were great views,
waterfalls high up on the mountain side, cascading down the mountain eventually flowing into the fjord bringing with it sediment that colours the water.
As the ship cruised up the fjord the view continiously changed, on the video it looks as though the mountains were sliding
Large icebergs take on all sorts of shapes as the slowly melt in the water, in one case I though the ice shape looked like a hump backed whale. The reflection in the calm water enhancing their beauty.
Wild life in the area is at a premium, although we have seen a number of birds gulls etc, as well as harbour seals riding on the large icebergs, who apparently have their young on these as they are out of reach of the Orca, the whales do not like coming into contact with the glacier as it affects the sonar,
although hump back whales have also been seen as we entered the fjord but you cannot of course be on both
sides of the ship at the same time, so some you see and some you do not.
Either way photographing them is almost impossible as they are there one second and gone the next. The slight delay with digital camera's is also a disadvantage.
One of the interesting things about a camera with GPS setting is that on return from your Holiday you can look to see exactly where you were when the photgraph was taken. In this case it was a glacier on the mountain side on the way up to dawes glacier, use google if you have wifi or on your return from holiday and you have the exact location.
Friday and we have left the glacier well behind and anchored over night in one of the fjords, whether by day or night the views were picturesque, the setting sun on the mountains followed by the moon on the water in the early hours. 58 11 9 3N 134 27 3.3W We are cruising again at the break of dawn and made our way to Juneau 58 17 54N 132 24 48W where we are tied up almost in the town centre.
Our previous ship had tied off outside the town and a shuttle bus was necessary, so this was much more convenient. The weather is bright and warm.
Plenty to watch , large salmon trying to find their way, north of the port,
some have obviously become exhausted after their long journey migrating back to the rivers and place of their birth . Some flounder in the water at the side of the ship. Sea gulls attack them trying to get a free meal. The fish respond with a sharp flip of the tail making the gulls aware that they are not yet done.
Float aircraft coming and going with tourists sightseeing is also an attraction if not seen before, although it is a very common sight in Alaska.
In Juneau 58 17 54N 132 24 18W most of the high street shops are either jewelry or tourist gift shops selling everything from fridge magnets to high class jewelry including nuggets of gold. Much of the art work, carvings etc are produced by locals during the long winter months using the natural materials available bone, horn and wood beautiful products are produced. There are many items carved into mammoth tusk which is found in the area of Alaska. Animal furs are readily available, however not all items are made local or by local people, so if you want something special ask the helpful staff who are on hand in most of the shops.
This afternoon we are off on another tour, this time to a Salmon hatchery then onto Mendenhall glacier followed by a Salmon supper.
There are five types of salmon, some better eating than others, all come back to Alaska to breed and thus have their uses.
The visit to DIPAC/Macaulay Salmon Hatchery ( DIPAC = Douglas Island Pink and Chum, Inc) was beyond anything I have seen before, This is a very interesting venue complete with educational displays.
The hatchery raises just over 130 million, chum, king and coho salmon every year they harvest, hatch and rear the salmon and then releases the fry back to the wild. They return to the place they were released approx four to five years later to spawn, as a result the millions of fish that were released 4-5 years ago have returned as part of the great salmon run. In this case they climb the 450 foot fish ladder and finish up in the processing portion of the company. The females are stripped of their eggs and the males milked for their sperm which is used to fertilise the new eggs, a high percentage of these will be hatched and the young fish released when about a year old, then the cycle will begin again.
They like their parents, providing they survive all the other natural hazards presented to them during their life as well as commercial and recreational fishermen will return in four or five years time, only then for the cycle to be repeated.
It is worth bearing in mind that even if these fish had spawned naturally in the wild they would still have died days after, their bodies deteriorating in the rivers and streams, their life cycle having been completed.
The whole process ensures that massive salmon stocks come back to Alaska to support the Alaskan economy.
Where man has intervened a much higher percentage of the salmons eggs hatch. The maturing fish live in the wild for the 4-5 year period, In the case of the Hatchery, the carcasses of the fish are used as by-products, compost and animal feed etc.
In the wild Bears catch and eat a large number of salmon but they only eat the best bits the rest they just discard, some of their left over's will be consumed by other predictors what remnants of the fish will rot and fertilise the trees and surrounding vegetation.
Salmon making their way towards the fish ladder.
This is a series of large tanks each higher than the other, the fish swim through the tanks against the water flow getting higher at every tank until they reach the top tank which is much larger and is sited within the hatchery area.
Thousands and thousands of fish desperately trying to return to their place of birth,struggling to get on and up the fish ladder.
Each of the steps (tanks)in the fish ladder was full of salmon competing to get to the top, such was the confusion that some tried to jump the wrong way. The opening that can be seen at the back of each tank is where the fish swim through to the next tank, a few manage to jump up stream.
As in nature the strongest fish will get to the top of the ladder first, several fish were already weak and unable to fight against the strong water flow, some had already given up and laid dead at the of the fjord .
It was interesting to note that just outside the shoal of salmon is a seal, He must have had his fill because we never saw him take one fish, although it does not look as though he needs a meal!
We then went on to visit the Mendenhall Glacier, well worth a visit a small glacier in beautiful surroundings this was where we unexpectedly saw the black bears.
There is little doubt that you could spend hours at this venue a most beautiful spot with lots going on; mind you once again the weather was very much in out favour it could have been wet, windy and cold instead it was very warm and sunny day with bright blue sky, not good for the glaciers or the bears who were obviously feeling the heat.
We named this bear Lazy bear because he did not move, accept to sit up when he heard my camera beep. He or she was obviously full of fish and very hot, certainly the bear was not going to waste energy moving around.
One hungry black bear feeding on the large fish, which of course he will continue to do as long as the fish are available which is only for a very few weeks each year, certainly the salmon run is in full flow at present. (4th August 2017) If you look in the foreground of this video you will see the remnants the bears have left which was already starting to smell.
I thought we had seen our first brown bear but was put right by one of the park Rangers on site who said it was a female cinnamon coloured black bear, the female was apparently well known and ear tagged, she is 17 years old and had three cubs last year all of which were the same colour as her, as well as cubs in previous years. It is believed she could be pregnant again, so may well have more cubs which will be born in her den during the cold Alaskan months of winter 2017/18 where she will stay emerging with her cubs in early spring.
It was very obvious that the bears like us were feeling the heat the temperature being in the seventies, the first sunny period in Junaua since the end of May. For Alaska it was hot little wonder most Glaciers are receding. I would just make the point that we were on an elevated wire fenced board walk which goes through the forest and undergrowth in which the bears were located, the bears are free to wonder and their freedom is not hindered by the elevated board walk they being free to pass beneath, for a change it was the man who was fenced in!
These sock-eye salmon have fought their way up to where they were born and are now spawning, the females laying the eggs in the gravel bed and the male fertilising them with sperm, hence the cycle begins again, the salmon in this pool have run the gauntlet of the hungry bears and achieved their aim, meanwhile the bears feast on the less fortunate.
We finished off our day with a salmon meal, (Salmon Bake) which was great. We returned to the ship wiser in many respects but tired.
At 2130 hrs this evening we leave Juneua and head for Icy Strait Point, and our tour again includes bear watching, it was one of our main reasons for returning to Alaska, so I wonder will we see more bears?
We have arrived at Icy strait point 58 17 54N 132 24 18W and on this occasion are docked unlike our last visit where we lay at anchor. The new docking facility having been opened in 2016 this has eliminated the need for passengers/visitors to be transported to shore by ships tenders which also double as life boats. The provision of this facility has apparently increased the number of cruise ships visiting as they do not now have to use tenders to get the passengers/visitors to and from the ashore. The new dock does however only cater from one ship at a time, so management of cruise ships visiting will either have to be managed or some ships will still have to tender their passengers to and from the shore. This does happen at some other ports of call.
Well the bear search was another failure, we had an interesting walk through the woods even if the bears had stayed in bed, they obviously had more sense than us! We have decided no more specifically bear watch tours, we will take our chance like the visit to Mendenhall glacier. I think there is more chance of seeing wildlife than on what appears to be over organised tours. But do not go alone Bears kill people,
one of our Alaskan guides on this last tour was carrying a gun.
There was little doubt that bears were in the area as there was scat (bears droppings) along the board walks provided through the woods which quite obviously they found to their liking. Mind you we did see a number of rivers and streams packed with salmon all trying to make their way up stream.
The weather this morning is still great, we have been very fortunate with the weather, 13 days out of 14 days dry with some rain and night, I think that must be a record for Alaska?
This afternoon Saturday 5th August 1400 we depart for a day at sea and then onto Anchorage.
Ironically the cruise ship that appeared behind us was the Norwegian Sun, she was the ship we were on in July 2015.
It is interesting to note how the water coming from the various glaciers meets with salt water from the pacific ocean. the water from the glaciers containing a lot of sediment causes it to look chalky in comparison.
Today 6th August is a day at sea. The views from the ship are wonderful, snow capped mountains in the distance and a sea that look like glass.
Outside the cabin on the balcony and in open area's warm clothing is a must as we make our way towards Anchorage, for the next 24 hours we will be at sea.
After several hours cruising between islands where we saw many commercial fishing boats obviously looking for and catching salmon in large numbers.
We are now in the open sea location
58 09 01N 136 54 4W and although it has been sunny all day there is now a bitter cold wind coming off the sea.
Sunday the 6th August and we are currently cruising through the Gulf of Alaska
58 53 16N 149 54 4W the sea is calm and the temperature very acceptable.
Monday 7th August we have reached and are docked in Anchorage, 61 14 49N 149 53 26W Initial impressions is that Anchorage is an uninteresting place. We are docked very near a commercial dock with no apparent facilities specifically for cruise ships.
This afternoon we are off on tour which includes a cruise to the Portage Glacier 60 45 12.3N 133 34 58.4W and the icebergs that dot Portage lake. The Glacier is small in comparison with some of the glaciers seen on this and previous trips but still interesting to see because we could get very close, being in a smallish boat.
To the east of the dock Mountains can be seen, hence the locals say that Alaska is only twenty minutes away. Certainly the flat area around the port bares no resemblance to the place we have become to know as Alaska.
Now there is a street sign you do not see in the UK very often!
Our coach driver explained that moose that get killed on the roads are not wasted, apparently residents can put their name on a register and they then stand a chance of getting a phone call telling them of the location of the unfortunate animal, The registered person can then go to the scene of the accident and claim part of the dead animal, free meat mind you they also have to job of butchering it at the location.
Once out of the dock and town the scenery changed dramatically with large areas of water and rivers and streams being heavily fished by locals, after their share of the salmon and from what we saw the were achieving their aim.
On our return trip we visited the wild life conservation area, really worthwhile visiting, with brown coastal bears, bison, reindeer musk-ox, elk, moose, and other animals found in Alaska and the USA as well as Canada of course. It is claimed that these animals have been orphaned or injured and in some cases like the porcupine rescued it having been kept as a pet for many years.
All of these animals were in large open areas free to wonder as they pleased and where housed in life like facilities.
I do not know if anybody has told this reindeer but it looks as though he might get a job around December the 25th. Although I couldn't see his red nose! Perhapes it only goes red after dark?
We are now back on the ship and depart for Homer later this evening when the height of the tide will allow us to sail.
We are now docked at Homer 59 36 33N 151 24 8.3W
The weather is still fine a little chill in the air but bearing in mind where we are situated the weather has been very mild, with very little rain mainly at night. We are hoping for a little sun which brings to mountings to life.
There are masses of gulls taking advantage of the food which is being stirred up by the ships bow and stern thrusters fitted on the ship, used when docking. In years gone by before ships were fitted with thrusters tugs would have been needed to assist the ship in docking now they are self supporting and accept in exceptional circumstances of very high winds there are not needed although are still present in most ports.
Homer appears to be surrounded with mountains with a large spit of land extending into the sea on which masses of small buildings and structures have been built.
The dock is at the extrema end of the spit, so to get to the town we will need to use the shuttle bus.
I think I will call this stop 'kittywake' rather than Homer, there are thousands upon thousands of kittywake's every where you look every inch of the metal structure making up the dock is covered in nests and young as well as parent birds.
And it is obvious that they live hand in hand with man and as a result are quite tame. It cannot make things easy for the port workers who tied our ship, masses of bird poo on ladders and foot ways. Before the four securing lines were tight they becomes just another perch. I suspect that if we stayed here many days the ships hull would be white rather than black and we may well have a few birds nests stowed away.
That is what I call living on the edge, There were young birds in every nook and cranny, not a single nesting site left unoccupied. It was obvious that the port authorities had fitted spikes to try and keep the birds off, problem was nobody told the birds who just ignored them and in some places used them to secure their nests in position a bit like footings in a building site, young birds were literarily growing between the metal spikes.
We have been ashore and had a walk around the town which we enjoyed, the displays of flowers in the gardens were a real surprise as it is a very short growing season.
The town is interesting, sparsely populated and has decidedly fewer cars than the South of England with masses of space between buildings
The properties were a credit to the owners, especially in view of the winters they get.
The roads are wide and the traffic is very disciplined drivers stopping and giving way at crossings and road junctions unlike home. In fact the pace of life is totally different and very noticeable.
The spit leading to the main land is about 4-5 miles long and only a couple of hundred yards wide, less in places. There were dozens of large motor homes, the salmon run had brought the fishermen to Homer hoping to catch salmon
Back to the ship by shuttle bus a good rest and then evening meal.
Later this afternoon we depart for Kodiak, like Homer we have not been their before, so it will be interesting to compare it with the ports previously visited in 2005, 2015.
After a choppy trip through the Gulf of Alaska we have arrived at Kodiak.
57 47 01N 152 25 7.0W
This morning Alaska is showing its true colours misty and wet with cancelled trips ashore.
We have been exceptionally lucky with the weather it has been sunny at most of the ports we have visited with just a few overcast days thrown in.
We are hoping that the fog will lift and that the rain will stop and later it did clear up.
We were due to tour the harbour but that was cancelled so we will do our own thing.
Kodiak has one of the largest fishing ports in the United states. It is here where the famous king crab fishing fleet who appear in the 'Deadliest Catch' moor up for the summer months.
Apparently it has been raining like earlier today for the last week, so its not hard to see why the boat was covered in rust and look a bit neglected. It was obviously a working vessel as crew members were seen aboard.
We visited the Alutiiq Museum where we saw many exhibits of the local culture, followed by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge exhibition, they supervise two thirds (2/3) of kodiak island, their exhibition has some of the best exhibits I have seen anywhere with many life like exhibits, Kodiak Brown bears fishing and occupying their den with cubs, salmon species and birds all presented in very lifelike situations.
The Kodiak Brown Bear is apparently the largest bear in the world, when standing up it looked to be about 9-10 foot tall and weighs between 600-800 lbs.
There are approx 3500 inhabiting the island. Of the 500 hunting permits issued each year less than half of the hunters are successful. That's good news for the bears although you certainly would not want to meet one on a dark night or at any time.
The exhibition was free and it would interest adults and children, although the very large, very life like Kodiak bear may frighten some young children, there again thinking about my own grand children they would probable want one instead?
On the upper level of the building there is the skeleton of a large grey whale, it was found dead on the shore line. It was preserved by locals who buried for 4 years to allow the natural process of decay to take place, then they it dug up cleaned the bones and they are now exhibited at this venue and entrance is free.
Our next visit is to the Hubbard Glacier I suspect the weather will determine whether we can in fact get to see the Glacier. The forecast is good and the sky is also confirming a good day, What a sky I have never seen anything like it.
Thursday 10. 8.17 we are currently in the gulf of Alaska 59 05 09N 142 58 07W the sea was quite choppy last evening and into the early hours. However this morning it is windy but the sea is quite calm and viability is fare.
We are now heading for the Hubbard Glacier inlet, as we head towards Hubbard another large Celebrity cruise ship leaves. I was just hoping that they had not abandoned their visit due to visability or icebergs.
1330 hrs and we will shortly be entering Yakutat Bay and then the cruise up to the Glacier which is apparently 6-8 miles wide.
We are now heading for the Hubbard Glacier inlet, we have visited this Glacier before so it will be interesting to see if we can see the amount it has grown
Our visit was every bit as spectacular as the last time with large icebergs all around the ship, very hard to access their true size until you compare them with things like ships tenders and life boats.
Some are very large particularly as 90% percent of each iceberg is below the water line, not as large as the one the Titanic was claimed to have hit but certainly sufficiently large to cause damage to the ships hull if stuck hard, hence the ship is moving very slowly up to and from the glacier. 59 54 20N 139 38 10W
On the port side (left) there appears to be another large glacier which almost joins to make one glacier front.
We have been at the glacier for about 30 minutes and now another cruise ship can be seen moving slowly up the fjord towards the glacier. She is part of the Princess cruise line fleet but we cannot read her name.
We are now slowly heading back down the fjord back towards the Gulf of Alaska then on to Sitka arriving
We have arranged to go on a tour in a catamaran with the possibility of seeing wildlife but as with previous tours nothing is guaranteed apart from the price. As we expect this to be our last tour in Alaska we are hoping to see some wild life.
We have arrived in Sitka 57 3 11N 135 19 48W the weather is fine at present but it is one of the first ports that we have ever visited where umbrellas are provided on the dock side, clearly indicating in my opinion that they do get more than their fair share of rain.
We have just returned from that tour and yes it was successful, we saw loads of sea otters, sea lions, a seal with a very nice sized meal, almost certainly a halibut flat fish, hump back whales and a small black bear as well as small sea birds. Disaster, no decent photographs as my Sony camera has decided not to accept a battery charge. Good excuse to come back though. My advise to anyone going on a cruise like this if you have two cameras then take them both neither will go wrong then!
It appears Sitka is quite large the harbour was full of small leisure and sailing boats and there were several fishing boats loading up with provisions getting ready to go to sea, the crew member I spoke to confirmed they were after salmon.
I'm not sure how large town is but this dugout canoe is extremely large and is made from one tree, the raised bow and stern features are laminated onto the canoe, Beautiful decoration. Apparently it is a hand carved Tlingit canoe made from one tree, would it I wonder be from a giant red wood.
We are now safely back on board and making our way through the 'Sitka Sound' which is doted with hundreds of tiny islands, we are now making our way to the open sea and on to Victoria (Vancouver Island) which will be our last port of call before we disembark back in Seattle on Monday.
Our last day at sea is a very wet, heavy rain and reduced visibility the sea is moderate to rough with strong winds. At 1500 hrs we are situated 51 10 18N 130 14 55W
We have just been to a presentation where the passengers ask the captain questions, very enlightening. This was interesting because the captain used photographs, I have not seen this done before by captains so well done captain John Mercer. He did make the point that although the ship is old in cruise ship terms she is kept fully upto to date with all the modern technology that is required for safe and comfortable cruising, including stabilisers which today are playing an important part in our relatively smooth cruising.
Our cabin is located at the front (bow of the ship) on deck six, outside cabin, just behind the bridge, the most stable part of the ship today in my opinion would be mid ships about deck 3-4 which due to its location would experience less pitching (up and down movement) than at either the bow or the stern. the rolling of the ship (side to side) would be less noticeable on lower decks.
So Saturday is a day at sea, while we head to Victoria.
This morning Sunday, at 1130 we are just off Vancouver Island we are due to dock at 1300 and have now decided to go for another whale watching tour, this time to see Orcas, whether we will see any is a different story although we have seen two hump back whales this morning while having breakfast.
We are now docking at Vancouver Island 48 24 9.4N 123 23 49W the temperature is 57F 14C
Well we took the tour and although the sea was rough we did see and follow a pod of Orca whales, this pod are of the type that eat seals and sea lions and could be see thrashing through the water in groups to head off seals swimming in the waters around the small islands and rocks.
The captain of this vessel has kindly given us a link to the photographs he took on out tour so I'm hoping that we will retrieve some photos from that source.
Having had a very satisfying afternoon we headed back to the ship for our evening meal and a well earned rest.
We left Vancouver Island late evening and arrived in the port at Seattle early morning, disembarkation was well organised and speedier than on the larger ships. Norwegian (NCL) Sun, and Star.
We had arranged a tour of Seattle partly to consume the long day, as our flight back to the UK was not until 1720 hrs
The coach took us from the port to the Space needle, nice 360 degree views if you like tall buildings and build up areas
We then visited the Pike Place market, well worth a visit, you name they sell it but what I enjoyed was the fish stalls, a fantastic array of sea food, massive Halibut and of course salmon. A stall nearby sold sea food samplers, that was most enjoyable.
I have decided I love Alaska with all it has to offer. Mind you I have not been there in the winter months. At least out tour of Seattle consumed some of the time between getting off the ship and getting on the aircraft for our flight home which was delayed by a further hour we got home at 1430 hrs on Tuesday 15th August. landing London/Heathrow.
The worst bit for me was the time changes and jet lag, would I do it again you bet.
I hope you get as much pleasure looking at these photographs and video's as I did taking them, enjoy