My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

North to Alaska

Back Post #1:

The week after school let out for the summer (the Friday before Memorial Day weekend), I met my fabulous aunt Sis in Vancouver for a 7 day northbound cruise to Alaska. Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and College Fjord were ports of call along the way.

For anyone considering a trip to AK, I highly recommend this start to exploring our marvelous state. First off - travel in May if you can. May tends to provide the best weather - sunshine & relatively dry. Then, after disembarking in Whittier or Seward (Whittier is closer to Anchorage), rent a car & do your own thing to explore. Lots of companies offer packaged tours, but remember you are on their time schedule - just a suggestion.

My aunt is my father's sister. Many of you may not know, but my father was killed in Vietnam - so she, and his twin brother, are my only biological/blood relatives that I have. I was fortunate enough to have a family (my mother remarried) that helped me maintain a strong relationship with my father's family. Aunt Sis (as I've always known her) is fantastic - she is a retired teacher & tons of fun to be around. She hadn't visited AK since I was married (almost 13 years ago), so we felt it was high time for a return trip. We took the 7-day cruise aboard the Island Princess. I chose this cruise line primarily for the fact that it went all the way to Whittier rather than disembark in Seward.

Day 1: Get acquainted with the ship and participate in the mandatory 'muster' drill.
Doesn't she look smashing in the orange life preserver?

We opted for a stateroom with a balcony. We were on the port side which provided plenty of afternoon sun. In fact, the head maitre'd, Vincenzo, gave me a hard time for the raccoon face attributed to wearing sunglasses.

Port of Call #1 - Ketchikan

Ketchikan is the rainiest place in Alaska. Rather than measure the amount of rainfall using inches, they use feet! I think I remember they have over 200 days of rainfall during the year - no shocker as to why the environs is a lush coastal rain forest. We left the ship to take a quick walk through the rain forest and coastal wildlife preserve. We didn't see any wildlife, but had a chance to experience a quick downpour.

This is a caribou - kept in at the preserve, for a reason I don't know. Perhaps to give tourists a chance to say they fed a reindeer?

The stop in Ketchikan was brief, so we didn't take time to wander into down town & find the local knitting shop. In 1995, my hubby and I (fiance at the time) took a cruise in the Caribbean with Princess as a perk for my summertime employment (I used to drive tour buses). We missed the ship at one port & had to have the pilot boat rush us to the ship & climb up a rope ladder to get on. Pretty crazy, so now I'm very cautious about being back at the ship at the correct time.

Of course, that meant being on board in time for happy hour.

Our evening ritual was to visit the Crooner's Bar on deck 7 - the Martini Bar & decorated with scenes of Frank Sinatra and his gang. We got to know Christian our bar tender & sampled several varieties of Martini. Yum Yum.... I think I need to go to a store & buy the appropriate supplies.

Next stop - Juneau!

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