Sailing to Alaska, Day 4 – Icy Strait Point (Hoonah)

We were scheduled for a long stop in Icy Strait Point today, from 8:00am until 6:00pm. While Cathy and I really like the Icy Strait Point visit, many people don’t because “there’s nothing to do”. Maybe that means that there’s little shopping – I’m not really sure, because there’s actually lots to do.

This was my view at 05:10 as we sailed up Chatham Strait between Chichagof Island to the west and Admiralty Island to the east.

Morning light on Admiralty Island, Alaska

A broader look at the same view – sunrise was an hour earlier, at 04:03.

Sunrise over Admiralty Island, Alaska

The view as we turned into Icy Strait, which leads from Chatham Strait past Glacier Bay to the Gulf of Alaska.

The view as we turned into Icy Strait, Alaska

Our usual stop at Cafe al Bacio, at 07:10. This has rapidly become our favourite place on the Celebrity Millennium. The yellow lab, Janie, is a seeing-eye dog who is very popular with people who are missing their dogs. Only assistance dogs are allowed on the ships.

Cafe al Bacio

We were in no big hurry to get off the ship – this is the view from our anchoring position. Three different names may be seen for this spot – the anchoring position is Point Sophia, the cruise ship facility is called Icy Strait Point, and the village a mile away is Hoonah. It’s also commonly mis-spelled “Icy Straight Point”.

The view from our anchoring position at Point Sophia, Alaska

I’ve always argued that a balcony cabin isn’t a requirement to enjoy an Alaska cruise, as the weather is often not conducive to being out on it. On a morning like this, though, it’s very nice. And as I write this post, the door is partly open so I can hear the sound of the wind and waves.

Enjoying our balcony cabin at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

The Celebrity Millennium at anchor, with a tender at the Icy Strait Point dock and a whale-watch boat heading north.

The Celebrity Millennium at anchor at Icy Strait Point

We always take advantage of the wonderful walk along the beach and through the forest. We started our walk just before 11:30.

The beach at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

A little detour from the walking path takes you to the bottom of the ZipRider, a wild ride indeed! I’d be up for it except for the cost – I just can’t wrap his mind around paying about $1.50 per second for any thrill.

ZipRider at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

At the other extreme, the peaceful coastal rain forest.

The peaceful coastal rain forest at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Skunk cabbage was blooming at many damp areas in the forest. I heard another walker call it “stink lettuce” 🙂

Skunk cabbage at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Three of us decided to continue the walk to Hoonah, about a mile, while the rest of the group took a shuttle bus into town ($8 per person round trip). I was surprised to see that the path is being concreted – to me, it seems like a large expense with little or no benefit.

Concrete sidewalk at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

A lovely little waterfall along the path.

Waterfall at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

The view from the path as it cuts through a rocky bluff.

The view from the path to Hoonah, Alaska

The group gathered at The Office bar for some Alaska beer with a wonderful view on the harbor. Yes, we could have gotten the same thing aboard the ship, and with our drink package the same thing is free aboard the ship for Cathy and I, but we’re happy to put a few dollars into the local economy. Cathy and I had tried to book a whale watching trip, but our favourite operator was already booked and we didn’t look any further. We did see whales from the cruise ship, but not nearly as close as the sightings we would have gotten from a small boat.

The view from The Office bar at Hoonah, Alaska

On the walk back to the ship, the 3 of us stopped at the little cemetery beside the road.

Cemetery at Hoonah, Alaska

As well as some Russian Orthodox grave markers, there is this Tlingit Indian bear sculpture.

Cemetery at Hoonah, Alaska

Back on the ship, watching the tenders shuttling people back at forth, at 4:15pm.

Tenders shuttling cruise ship passengers at Hoonah, Alaska

Finishing this day with a shot of the moonlight at 11:38pm. For our visit to Juneau tomorrow, we have a van rented to do some exploring.

Moonlight along the Alaska coast


Sailing to Alaska, Day 4 – Icy Strait Point (Hoonah) — 4 Comments

  1. Have you ever met Bob the bear hunter in Hoonah? For $20 each he took 4 of us out in his van looking for bears. Quite the character. Used to live in Africa, did 3 tours in Vietnam. He’s also the pastor at the church in Hoonah (United church I think he said).