For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013 - Page 20 - PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel
For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013
About This Page: This is a discussion on For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013 within the Globetrotting: General Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; Sigh............would LOVE to go whale watching in Alaska!!! Living in New England, we are fortunate to be able to go ...
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Fantastic excursion! I remember researching whale watching in Juneau also and Harv and Marv were highly recommended. I talked to Jaylene in the office about accessibility issues and they were very accommodating, offering to store my scooter and take me in a manual chair to the boat if I could climb aboard. I thought that was fantastic, and I booked it, but later canceled because I didn't think I could manage getting on board. As it turned out, our weather in Juneau was dense fog and we wouldn't have seen a thing. Although it's been cold and damp for you, you've really had great weather for sightseeing. So great to get that close the the whales and seals, and the mountains in the background are so beautiful. You clean up nice, too-- that's a lovely photo of the two of you.
love this report we are planning a land and sea trip for the summer of 2015
Heather - "I'm Tinkerbell's biggest fan!"
WDW - August 1997 Off Property
WDW - January 2005 AKL
WDW - May 2006 Pop Century
WDW- november-dec 2007 pop century
WDW- dec/jan 2009/2010 pop century
WDW- oct/nov 2012 art of animation
WDW- sept 2013 port Orleans riverside
I have really enjoyed reading your TR from the comfort of my warm house. DW and I have both lived in Alaska and have experienced a wide rang of temps. I met her just before she left to come home. She had been there for two years and her parents had taken the kids on a lot of sightseeing tours. I, on the other hand, was there with the Air Force and really did not get to see very much. I hated the cold, the snow and having to bundle up just to walk across the street. Spring and summer was much better and I enjoyed what I got to see around the base. (I didn't have a vehicle so I was limited in range.) DW has a brother living in Fairbanks and her other brother is visiting him for February and March. DW really wants to go back up there. I am not so sure about it. Your pix really look like you guys have had a lot of fun and the amount of wildlife you got to see was impressive.
This morning we got to sleep in and had a wake up call about 800am. Instead of breakfast in the room we tried for breakfast in the International Dining Room (which is normally open till 10) at about 915 and discovered it was closed. Lack of consistency drives me nuts! Instead we went up to the buffet and had breakfast.
We arrived in Port around 10am. Our plan was to get off the ship right about 1030am, our tour was scheduled to start at 1130am. I thought we could walk around town a little bit, get the lay of the land and then meet our guide. We tried to leave the ship on Deck 5 – but the line to leave wrapped completely around the Piazza and back to where the elevators were... a staff member said the line was shorter on 4 – so we went down one flight of stairs and tried that gangway – it too had a line – and we found out why – they had an orca and an eagle blocking the way as you left the ship, and everyone was sort of forced to take a photo before you left the ship... annoying way to increase photo shop business...
We took our requisite photo and walked down the gangway – out into the rain. Ketchikan is known as the rainiest city in Alaska. As of May 31 – they had received 180 days of rain.... you do the math. We were told that it rains 70% of the days.
Chris and the liquid sunshine gauge
Me and the liquid sunshine gauge
We walked over to Creek Street – sort of window-shopped took some photos (today we took fewer photos than on any other day of the trip).
The tide was very high at this point
Rainy day on Creek Street
Chris on the Married Man's Trail
Then about 1115, we started walking back to the rain (liquid sunshine) gauge next to the visitor’s center. Today's excursion was something we both love to do - kayak! We saw a young woman holding a paddle – this was Maria and she was our guide for our kayak tour. Maria told us we were her only tour participants – sweet! A private tour! She took us to Southeast Kayak Company’s headquarters about the Arctic Fjord (a boat in the harbor) and there we were outfitted in rain suits, spray skirts, life jackets and dry bags for our cameras.
We left our backpacks, etc. onboard the boat. Then we walked down to the dock and were taught ho to enter our dual kayak.
Chris and I would be sharing a kayak. This would be a first for us – previously we’ve both solo kayaked... and the decision was made that since I had kayaked with a rudder before – I would take “the helm” in the back and be responsible for steering the kayak.
We made it across the channel - looking back at the 4 cruise ships in port today!
While we were kayaking, the sun came out and the temperature warmed. It was beautiful! After making a security announcement on the radio to notify the ships and floatplanes in the area that we would be crossing the channel, Maria started us out heading for Piniak Island.
If you have heard of “The Bridge to Nowhere” – this was one of the two islands that were to be connected by this proposed bridge. Of course, the people who live on the island don’t have cars (they take boats to work) and there are no roads on the island.... plus the bridge would be built in 1,200 feet of water (the depth of the fjord between Ketchikan and the island) and it would have to be tall enough for cruise ships to pass underneath – all of this at an estimated cost of 300-400 million dollars... for a town of 14,000 people. Eh – yeah. Glad it died.
We paddled around to the backside of the island, passing homes along the way (and a couple of goats) and entered the channel behind the island.
Goats on the island
Right about then, a charter fishing boat went by – and then stopped.
The fishing boat arrives
Maria said that when the fishing is not good – the fishing guides bring people here to “feed the eagles” – and sure enough, bald eagles began to swoop down from the sky and the surrounding trees to grab the fish floating on the water.
We were in the right place at the right time... I managed to pop my spray skirt and get my camera out of my dry bag – I was terrified I would drop my camera in the water – but I really wanted photos. We’d brought waterproof cameras with us – but I wanted the zoom on my Sony... I was shooting back over my shoulder and with the sun shining on my view screen (I need to get an anti-glare cover for it) – but I got a couple of really good photos of the eagles.
Did I say how much I love my camera!!
We watched the eagles for a bit – and then paddled back around the island and across the channel. Maria took some photos of us before we paddled around the island and as we crossed the channel.
Our fabulous guide Maria!
Getting ready to paddle across the channel
We re-entered the harbor, passed the dock and up into Ship Creek... which was flowing out very strongly because the tide was falling.
Paddling at Ship Creek
Ketchikan has a tidal range of 21 feet – and it was RIPPING out of the creek channel. Maria told us that when the salmon come in and go up the creek – you are paddling with them – often whacking them on the head... made me feel a little sorry for them... but it would be really cool to be in a kayak with the salmon when they are running.
We turned around in the creek and paddled back out (basically letting the boat float out with the current) and then paddled around the basin a little bit more before returning to the Arctic Fjord to dock our kayak, unload and undress from our rain gear and spray skirts. We also changed into dry wool socks and shoes and based on Maria’s recommendation – headed to the Alaska Fishhouse for lunch.
Chris had the halibut tacos and I had the halibut fish and chips – with great coleslaw with cilantro in it (yummy!). Then we shopped more.
Chris brought me a beautiful pair of fossilized walrus tusk ivory and demin lapis set in sterling silver. They are so beautiful!
We picked up a few more things for friends and family before headed back to the ship – the skies had gotten grey and overcast again and rain was threatening to fall. We had really lucked into a lovely day!
After we got back to the room, we began the process of packing our suitcases... (I Don’t WANT TO!!!). We also got our debarkation paperwork – and realized that Rachel and George were schedule to leave the ship more than an hour before we were. Ok that won’t work. SO – Rachel and I grabbed our paperwork and luggage tags and headed for Guest Services. Chris and I were reassigned to be in their departure group – which should mean we would get off the ship an hour before we would have based on the original plan. I don’t like the idea of scheduled departures... since it means you have to sit around and wait for your assigned time – BUT you have to be out of your cabin by 800am... so no waiting in your cabin. Another thing is that Princess requests your suitcases be placed in the hall before you go to dinner... um – so what do I do with the clothes I wore to dinner?? I think I will wait until we get back from dinner so I can throw those clothes (and those shoes) in my suitcase and not have to carry them off and then put them in my suitcase.
Dinner tonight was Sterling Steakhouse... in Horizon Court?? This is Princess’ signature steakhouse on board = and they close part of the buffet and turn it into a sit down restaurant.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the theming – but I was more irritated that the reservation I had made for 830pm was nowhere to be found in the computer system. The Maître de found us a table. I started with the shrimp cocktail and the jalapeno cornbread muffin.
Chris had the mango and cheese quesadilla.
Our server was David from Mexico. He was very good. He also claimed our unfinished bottle of wine from the evening before. We both ordered steaks. I had the 14 oz ribeye – which I only ate ½ of because it was HUGE and Chris had the 8 oz filet mignon.
I had the corn casserole and sautéed mushrooms, Chris has the creamed spinach and baked potato.
For dessert I had cheesecake, and Chris skipped dessert. By this time it was almost 10pm and I was yawning for all I was worth. I went back to the cabin – Chris went to Club Fusion for karaoke. He said that he and one other gentlemen were the only singers – and that the DJ didn’t have any music by The Doors (points to DCL)... he did a song from The Animals. I have no idea when he came back to the cabin – I was out cold.
Next - Our last day at Sea...
Meeting Jacques in January 1976!! My first WDW trip.