Day Five, Six? Who knows and Who Cares?
We’re back underway after a day in Alaska’s capital, Juneau. Other passengers, upon discovering that we were from the 49th state, were surprised that our family had not yet visited Juneau. AK Dad explained that with Juneau’s famous foggy, stormy weather coupled with the lack of any cross-state road system connecting the capital to the rest of Alaska, visiting the city is not the easiest thing to accomplish.
I liked Juneau. For northwesterners who are accustomed to low-hanging clouds and the smell of alder and spruce in the air, the city and its landscape struck a long-missed chord of familiarity. A small but dynamic place, Juneau seemed to hold close the partnership between environment and modernity; coffee shops, trendy clothing stores, and tourist traps all wound around the ever-present monoliths of State government, all crammed in between two craggy peaks.
Allen Marine provided AK Fam with a splendid tour of the Juneau area, including famous Mendenhall Glacier in the Tongass National Forest, and Auke Bay, from whence we took a whale-watching excursion and were provided a classy lunch of grilled salmon, corn, coleslaw and carrot cake on Colt Island.
It was our first official “shore excursion” and as Alaskans we were a bit skeptical of the quality of a guided tour that had definite time constraints. AK Kid was the only child under twelve on the tour; I had crammed our backpack full of amusements for him should the day prove too much. No worries, he was a trooper and enjoyed watching the whales breach, wave, and dive using is own personal pair of binoculars. At Orca Lodge, our lunch stop, he ate his lunch (I did provide that) and then ran about on the beach and visited the Lodge’s tank of sea creatures while waiting to get back on the St. Maria, our boat. I was highly impressed by the professionalism and knowledge of Allen Marine’s staff and would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to skip the shopping and get out in Wild Alaska.
We’re at sea now; steaming towards an afternoon port in Ketchikan and a visit to Saxman Native Village, a Tlingit site, and a lumberjack show. AK Grandpa requested we attend to see if “things have changed much” since his logging days in the 1950’s and 60’s. Roger.
Only two more days on this ship/home we have come to love. Last night was the Formal Farewell Dinner, during which time AK Dad and I had cocktails with the Captain, James Russell-Dunford. Quite delightful and quite European in flavor, the cocktail hour was a first for us. We managed not to commit any dreadful blunders and were regaled by Captain Dunford’s tales of a holiday in Alaska last summer.
Going to pick up AK Kid from Club Hal; they are having “Music Morning” today, and Game Night tonight so he needs some down time before that.
Check back later next week for photos; the internet is very spotty on board and pictures do not upload well....