Cruising Alaska – Juneau and Skagway

Yesterday we spent all day in Juneau, and today it was Skagway. Our weather so far has been good – very good until we reached Skagway and even today was far from being bad.

Just south of Juneau (at 09:15) we spotted the first land wildlife of the cruise, a mountain goat, just seen in this photo as a dot to the left of the waterfall.

Being close to the water, the window of our cabin got a good layer of salt and grime on the trip up the coast, and our visibility had become quite poor. Within an hour of arriving at Juneau, that was taken care of.

There’s seldom a need to go looking for things such as blankets – everything has already been thought of.

A little bear watching for fish in the swimming pool – without any luck!

I love watching floatplanes such as this Turbo Otter.

This crow was happy to share a bit of my breakfast.

There’s a fair bit of painting being done, both on the exterior and interior of the ship.

We took a Juneau Tours shuttle bus out to the Mendenhall Glacier ($14 per person there and back), intending to walk out to Nugget Falls.

Mendenhall Glacier is receding at the rate of about 65 feet per year recently – when I was here in 2007 this waterfall was flowing out of the glacier.

Nugget Falls.

Nugget Falls and the Mendenhall Glacier.

Although we walked out to Nugget Falls on the old route, we went back to the parking lot on the new trail, which isn’t officially open yet but is complete except for one small bridge.

A visit to the USFS Visitor Center is well worth the $3 admission charge. Both the static displays and film are excellent.

We did a bit of people-watching while enjoying a latte at Heritage Coffee on Franklin (our favourite place for both activities), then popped across the street to the Alaska Fudge Company to get survival rations for the long trek back to the ship (nearly 6 blocks!) 🙂

I decided in Juneau that I need a small camera for trips like this, so bought a Fuji S1800 at Art Sutch’s little camera shop downtown – all but one of the photos that follow were shot with it. Contrary to what most people expect from stores like that, the price I paid was only a few bucks higher than Amazon.

Attendance at the late show (10:45, for those with 2nd-seating dinner) has been light every night. It may be the older-than-average passenger list, or having more non-Americans than usual (many who don’t speak English).

I awoke to a cold, light rain – this was shot at 05:30 about half an hour out of Skagway.

An extremely low tide.

The crew held a lifeboat drill that was interesting to watch parts of. This view was from our cabin on Deck 3.

It’s an easy walk from the Ore Dock to town, perhaps 4 blocks.

The free National Park Service walking tours provide an excellent introduction to Skagway’s history. Each ranger develops their own program so you could go on 2 or 3 and get very different perspectives on it.

Friends drove down from Whitehorse to have lunch with us. I’d heard that the Skagway Brewing Company now has the best halibut and chips in Skagway, and it’s true. The Red Star ale I had was also very good.

With the sun out, the view up Broadway looks really inviting, but there was a strong, bitterly cold south wind that made the SMART shuttle buses a very popular way to get back the ships.

A cute touch on the front wall of the Chilkoot Trail Center.

Looking down Broadway to the Radiance of the Seas.

Boarding the Infinity, a very simple, quick process. You log off the ship with your SeaPass card, and log back on, going through a basic airport-style x-ray machine.

The Radiance of the Seas sails down Chilkoot Inlet at 7:05pm.

The view from our cabin as we sailed down Lynn Canal at 10:45pm. This was shot with my Digital Rebel because the same shot taken with the Fuji didn’t turn out as well. This was shot at ISO 1600 with a 1/2-second exposure, hand-held.

Tomorrow we have an early start at Hoonah (Icy Strait Point) – we’re meeting Floyd (F.I.S.H.E.S.) at 07:30 for a whale-watching tour. It’s heading towards 01:00 now, so time for bed!


Cruising Alaska – Juneau and Skagway — 4 Comments

  1. Heck, you do such a good job of this, I don’t need to take the trip myself!

  2. I agree with Tracy that you do a wonderfull job at showing and explaining what you see. I never got around to an Alaska trip when I lived in Canada but it on the list of things to do now.

  3. Oh, this trip I am taking “with” you is bringing tears to my eyes. So many of your pictures put me right there with you. Right now I’m so “homesick” for Alaska. My plans are to go back in August 2011.

    Also, the Alaska Fudge Company has the best fudge on this earth.

  4. We missed The Alaska Fudge Company!!!!!!

    The Mendenhall Glacier was breathtaking. And I had a very close (but safe, I think) encounter with a mother bear and her two cubs that she was teaching to dig for ground cones. I was on the little walkway bridge near the car-park and the bears came around from the lake and were just below.