Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Alaska Bound

After many years of talking about it, then planning for months, my family finally went on our Alaskan Cruise! Joel and I were really grateful for the timing because we needed a break from working on our house. Plus, it ended up being in the 95 range here in Denver, too! It was H-O-T! (We know because our grass is completely brown!)

Joel and I left early on Saturday morning and arrived in Anchorage around 2:30. We met up with my family and loaded on a bus for a 45 minute drive to Whittier. On the way, we made a stop at a Conservation/Nature Center. They had all sorts of animals: brown bear, coyotes, fox, owls, moose, muskox (a very strange animal!) and black bear. Joel got some really cool pictures of the bear.

Then it was on to our ship--the Diamond Princess. It really is amazing how large the cruise ships are!

Then we were off! We had 2 days of sailing through beautiful fjords and then through Glacier Bay. We sat for about an hour or so outside watching the glacier drop off pieces into the water. It was COLD! Here's me with my nice warm blanket!

You have to stay about 1/4 to 1/2 a mile away from the side of the glacier because when the ice drops, it makes large waves in the water. It was incredible! The pictures don't even show the magnitude of the glacier! You can see some of the ice falling into the water in this picture.

Our first day in port was in the town of Skagway. For all of you literature fans, this is the town mentioned in a couple of Jack London's books. It is also the town where many of the people came through during the Gold Rush of 1898. Joel and I splurged on a fantastic helicopter ride. It was his birthday, so it was a great gift! We ended up getting to sit in the front seat (I asked the pilot "Can we play the 'what's this button do? game! He said "no"). We flew for about 20 minutes and then landed on a glacier. We were there for about 20 minutes and then flew back. It was incredible! Joel even drank some of the cold, refreshing glacier water! Flying in a helicopter was on both Joel and my lists of things to do in our lifetime. Definitely worth it! Here is us in the helicopter & a picture of the beautiful scenery!

My mom, sister, Joel & I then rented bikes and went out to an old cemetery and water fall at the end of town. We met up for lunch--yummy pizza. Then Joel and I hit the hot tubs on the ship. It was a great birthday for Joel, indeed! (much better than last year--we had a toilet installed!)

That evening we were off to Juneau. Our events in Juneau deserve their own blog entry, so I'll save that for another day!


Flogger said...

So now I know when you were on your cruise since you were in Skagway on Joel's birthday. (We were in Denali on the land portion of our tour on Joel's birthday.) Helicopter ride was way up there on our faves list. Still can't believe we were in the same ocean on the same line on almost exactly the same dates! We probably missed each other in Whittier by only a day or two. What a small world!!!

Beverly said...

Ahhh...this brings back memories of the helicopter ride/glacier walk that Ted and I did in Juneau on our Stampin' Up! Alaskan cruise! Definitely a highlight for both of us, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! I'm so glad you guys got to do this!