Sunday, August 30, 2009

JUNE 2009- Home for a month to Celebrate MOM's 75th Birthday

Our trip home went far too quickly. By the time we raced around the first 10 days with appointments it was time to celebrate MOM's Birthday.

We are only disappointed we did not get to see everyone on our list. We do want to give a special Thank You to Jim and Toni for opening their home to us and friends.

Celebrating Mom’s 75th Birthday on the Cruise Ship---Serenade of the Seas--- heading for Alaska.

Thank you Ash,

and Sean and Carlie for taking time off to join us making this such a memorable trip.

Celebrating already??? Must be Happy Hour.

We all had staterooms with windows and were all on the same floor. We were most grateful the main dining room “Reflections” accommodated our request for the 6pm dinner seating. The staff was friendly and professional.

The ship itself had recently been renovated. The elevators were glass facing out to sea.

I had fun each day spending a few dollars on the slot machines. Ash preferred playing cards while Randy and Sean were focused on the “quarter machine” with the challenge of getting the fifty dollar bill perched precariously on the edge. You put quarters down a shoot, landing at the base which was constantly shifting slowly back and forward. Be darn if they didn’t get it even if it did cost them fifty dollars. Carlie enjoyed sharing our machines and Mom—well, she preferred a quiet time reading in the solarium.

After traveling the first two days through the Inside Passage we arrived at the Historic Fishing Town Hoonah on Icy Strait Point home to the largest native Tlingit Indian settlement in Alaska. As if on queue as Serenade of the Seas anchored we watched Humpback Whales and Orcas frolicking off starboard.

In 1912 the Hoonah Packing Cannery opened. What I found amazing was within two years this cannery canned 2,367,072 cans of Salmon which then was shipped to Seattle.

Heading to the Hubbard Glacier. I was surprised there was no snow on the ground and I expected more on the mountain tops.

Beautiful pieces of ice floating by.

Randy trying to keep warm. Yes, we were all cold.

The Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier on the North American continent extending 76 miles.

In stark contrast to most glaciers Hubbard Glacier is in fact thickening and advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska.

Absolutely breath taking.

At the Glacier the Captain gently spun the boat 360 degrees for two hours giving everyone on board breathtaking panoramic views.

Are you ready to Rock Climb?

Sean is first

Way to go Carlie…Up to the top and ring the bell.

Then Rand's turn.

It continues to be cold…16 degrees Celsius and overcast.

We’re at Skagway, a Tlingit name meaning “a windy place with white caps on the water’. Skagway is at the northern tip of Lynn Canal. Skagway was one of two “Tent Towns” back in 1897 that was a jumping off point for the 600 mile trek to the gold fields. At times this town was home to more than 10,000 transients. Of coarse the town is full of tourist type stores which we enjoyed. Mom even found a quilt shop.
We rode the local bus out to try our luck at panning for gold. Of course the few slivers we all found were well planned in our pans filled with sand. We were taught the correct “art” of panning and if we were not careful we would loose the gold in our pan.

Our afternoon excursion was on the Whitepass & Yukon Railway train which took us 2885 feet above sea level slowly but surely to the Alaska British Columbia Border. This train now operates purely for the tourist trade. It is in fact designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark, shared with the Panama Canal, Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

Again we had incredible views and could only imagine the trials and tribulations that the miners went through back some 100 years when they had to make this trek by foot with mules packing a years supply of provisions. We saw the steep narrow pathway they used.

We were told this is the steepest grade railroad in the world with cliff hanging turns, two tunnels ,and I have to admit when we started to head back down the track I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. We were all reminded the train had a specially engineered brake system.

We’ve arrived in Juneau along with four other cruise ships. Juneau is the capital of Alaska founded during the 1880 Gold Rush. We passed beautiful fjords along the Gastineau Channel. The town itself is totally for the tourists. I have only seen this many jewelry stores in St. Thomas. We did have fun trying on a few rings.

We all decided to take the tram ride up 1800 feet to the crest of Mt. Roberts.

Spectacular view..

We got our share of exercise hiking the trails.

Why are the trees so crooked?? The curvature of the trunks of the hemlocks is called snowcrook and is caused by the gradual creep of snow downhill bending the young saplings causing them to develop a down slope curve or where a slope is not too steep the snow gets blown upslope by the strong prevailing winds.

The weather has finally warmed up with the sun showing its glowing face. We actually managed to put on shorts and t-shirts and sit out on deck.
Our last night formal night on board. Enjoying the scenery before dinner.

0600hours and we’re all out on deck early, not because we want this week to end but to enjoy the Vancouver skyline.

Lyons Gate bridge ahead

What a wonderful memorable week.....


Dance Aweigh said...

Glad to see your blog back! You guys sure get around. Looking forward to your next adventure.
Margaret & Rich.

Anonymous said...

Brrrrrr!!!! Sure does look cold compared to the tropical heat of Grenada. Love the new blog post.
Rum Runners