Sailing from Sitka, Alaska

Some of you may be wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately. Well, I’m off on another Alaska cruise and there just haven’t been enough hours in the day to get everything done. A few family members want to see some photos, though, so here they come ๐Ÿ™‚

This cruise has been incredible so far. I’m on the Radiance of the Seas for the 3rd time, but this time I have my 87-year-old father with me, and it’s a 14-day itinerary that started in Vancouver and ends in San Diego.

Back on the 9th, I flew to Vancouver – the first photo shows valley fog along the Yukon River just east of Whitehorse.

My room on the 20th floor of the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel was beautiful, with a killer view – and the service in the hotel is superb.

I did a tour of the Empire Landmark Hotel that afternoon, looking for a good downtown hotel for future clients. The lowest-level rooms are too small for me to recommend, but the next category up (for $20 more) offers great value and there are some very nice bi-level suites. That night, I took my niece Sari out for dinner at the hotel’s Cloud 9 restaurant. The view is fabulous, the food not so much but not expensive either.

September 10th: The next morning, I looked out the window at 06:35 just as the Radiance sailed into Vancouver harbour – timing is everything! I turned off all the room lights to eliminate reflections, but in my rush to get the shot(s) missed my laptop, which is the reflection you see at the lower left.

After a relaxing morning, I took the Canada Line back to the airport (the fare is $3.25), met Dad at the baggage carousel and headed to Canada Place by taxi. While the Canada Line is half the price (an airport surcharge raises the fare to $17.50 for 2 people), the Waterfront station is too far for Dad to walk even with me handling his suitcase. The taxi cuts a total of about 4 blocks off the walk, as it goes far into Canada Place toward the ship boarding area.

We sailed from Vancouver at 5pm, and this close pass by Point Atkinson Lighthouse gave me a good feeling about the captain, a feeling that he understood what people want. That feeling proved to be true – “Captain Claus” Anderson is a gem.

September 11th – At Sea: We had a few hours of scenic sailing on the morning of the 11th, passing the north end of Vancouver Island just after 10:00am.

The seas got a bit rough between Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlottes (this photo was shot at 5:30pm), but the ship was rock-steady. This was the roughest seas Dad had ever seen (the first of many “firsts” for him on this cruise ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but it didn’t bother him at all.

September 12th – Ketchikan: The short days of September are quite a shock to me after all of our 24-hours-of-light cruises – this was shot as we neared Ketchikan at 05:50am.

I got stumped by a question following my presentation about Ketchikan yesterday – she asked about the location of a new bronze sculpture and I hadn’t heard about it. Now I know that it’s down by docking position 1. A short walk around town was enough for us today.

September 13th – Icy Strait Point: Dad wanted to stay on board today, so I walked to the far end of Hoonah and back (a little over 4 miles in total) as I’d seen little of the village of previous trips. The next photo shows the walking path and road back to the Icy Strait Point facility.

As Dad and I were up on an open deck, a pod of orca swam right by the ship – somewhere between 15 and 18 of them! In the photo below, the dark spot above the gravel point is a huge male orca – his dorsal fin was a good 5 feet high.

Lunch on the back of the Windjammer on Deck 11. This weather was a total surprise – the long-range forecast just before I left for Vancouver had showed rain every day, and I fully expected 11 days of rain.

September 14th – Juneau: I had no idea how well Dad was going to handle the trip, so hadn’t booked any excursions. In Juneau I decided to go whale watching with Orca Enterprises again (this is the view from the deck outside their office).

The trip started out slow but we ended up with some excellent close-up viewing of humpback whales, and the naturalist, Jeff, was excellent.

September 15th – Skagway: Cathy took the day off and brought the dogs down to see us. Monty and Kayla, of course, went nuts when they saw me ๐Ÿ™‚   We went for our final halibut-and-chips lunch of the year at the Skagway Brewing Company, then went over to Dyea to run the fur-kids.

We then explored up the West Creek Road, an old logging road that I’d never been up in good weather, and discovered this impressive glacier. This is precisely what Dad and I spent many weekends doing when I was young, and it brought back some great memories.

The entertainment in the theatre every night has been excellent with one exception (the hypnotist was bloody awful).

September 17th – Hubbard Glacier: sailing past Mount Fairweather in the pre-dawn light – 06:32am.

As we sailed into Yakutat Bay, I went up the rock climbing wall a couple of times (Dad took this photo of me). Sixty doesn’t have to be “old” anymore!

This was one of my finest days ever at Hubbard Glacier – superb weather, a captain who got us the closest I’ve ever been to the face (perhaps 700 yards), lots of calving activity…

… and lots of seals – about 100 of them reasonably close to the ship!

September 17th – Sitka: We went ashore early, and I decided on a 1-hour city tour with Tribal Tours as the best way to show my favourite Alaska community to Dad. The first photo stop was at Sandy Beach, offering a fine view of the Mt. Edgecumbe volcano.

Our guide, Jeremy, was excellent. Recently retired from the Army, this born-in-Sitka Tlingit Indian gave us great information in an easy-to-digest way. He was explaining medicinal plants when I took this photo.

There, I’m caught up now ๐Ÿ™‚   In a few minutes, we sail for Victoria, and I want to be on deck for the sailaway!

Comments

Sailing from Sitka, Alaska — 8 Comments

  1. My wife and I walked to Hoonah also so that path looks very familiar. Interesting place. We walked into the grocery store and looked at prices….wow…expensive. Did you go to the zip rider….that thing was 5330 feet long and dropped 1300 feet if I recall correctly. We saw a baby seal that had just been born when we went to Hubbard Glacier. There was blood all over the ice and the mom was in the water trying to get the baby to come in but the baby wasn’t having anything to do with getting in the cold water. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. what a great trip so far…and your dad looks so much younger than 87…i had to go back and re-read his age because i thought my memory was mistaken. love the whale and glacier pics!!
    ellen

  3. ps showed my grade 9 class the pics of our trip up montana….lots of comments on how amazing it is and how beautiful too ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Been a glorious fall all over Alaska this past week or so according to friends (with photo posts) who live there. Beautiful, and wonderful to do this with your father. Good on you.

  5. Pingback: The ExploreNorth Blog ยป Cruising from Sitka to San Diego