Saturday, October 3, 2015

Alaskan Cruise - Day 7

We woke up in Ketchikan!  It was a smooth docking - we didn't even realize we were here!  After a quick breakfast with a wonderful Bostonian couple, we headed off the ship early.  We walked to Creek St - where salmon and men come to spawn (LOL!) ... and even got our totem pole charm. 

Our excursion today is:

Herring Cove Bear Adventure    8:00        3 1/4 hours                         

Join this bear viewing opportunity, which is accessible by road. You'll begin with a narrated 8 mile coastal drive to the forested area of Herring Cove located within the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary. Meet your guide and set out on a walking expedition to locate some of the black bears that call this area home. 

You will pass thru tall stands of hemlock, spruce and cedar as you explore the sanctuary. A boardwalk and a series of 5 elevated bridges lead to a private viewing platform overlooking Eagle Creek where bears often come to fish for salmon in the stream. The nearby Whitman Hatchery ensures that the river is teeming with salmon every summer.  

Typically, large numbers of black bears gather here to feed on these huge runs of salmon that are returning to spawn in the stream. Bald eagles perch in the trees waiting patiently for scraps left by the bears. Mink and marten often frequent the area and seals can usually be seen near the mouth of the stream feeding on the bountiful fish runs.  You will have ample time to observe the wildlife activity. 

At the conclusion of the mile-long trail hike you will have an opportunity to interact with and feed Alaskan reindeer and walk through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Co sawmill established by legendary pioneer Ben Fleenor.  See bird of prey up close at the raptor exhibit and visit with a native master carver crafting a totem. Enjoy a snack and beverage at the General Store. Transportation to and from the sanctuary is by motor coach.

The Sanctuary is not exclusive to your tour, it is a multi-use site. so you will encounter guests participating in other tour activities. To minimize resource impacts and maximize wildlife viewing opportunities, this tour is available only to small groups and on a limited basis.  

We caught the bus to Herring Creek. They were very strict.  No gum or candy in your mouth; no food, candy, gum, wet wipes in your bags!  So we cleaned all those out into a bin and off we walked.

It's good luck to touch the totem when going in!

We climbed up the first ramp to the bridge and looked.  And looked and looked!  There were zip-liners going by above our heads!  

When we asked our guide about the set up and why it doesn't bother the bears.  He told us bears have no predators from above, so that doesn't alarm them.

Our guide told us all to look up the hill for bears headed our way; and here they came from down the hill by the creek!  A mom and her 2 cubs.   We took thousands of pictures because we weren't sure where they were going to stop!  But they came up to almost under where we were standing!

They are under the swinging bridge!

Here they are, almost under "our" bridge. For the first time in my life I understood why hunters wanted to take trophies!  Their coats were gleaming black and looked so inviting and cozy ... I wanted to take one home!  I think we watched them for 20 minutes or more.  

You can see the claw marks on the tree where the cubs have climbed.  The cubs stay with Mom for 2 years.  The male bears will try to kill the cubs.  That put mom back into heat and then she can have HIS cubs!

There's a joke of how you can tell what kind of bear is chasing you:  When you are being chased by a bear, climb a tree - if the bear shakes you out of the tree, it's a grizzly or brown bear.  If the bear climbs the tree with you, it's a black bear!

Here's a 'money' shot of salmon jumping.  We walked thru the forest - saw bear scat (yes, they do ... in the woods!); banana slugs and the fish hatchery.  Saw totem poles and met a totem pole artist. Here's a 'topper' in progress.

And we got back into town in time to look thru the jewelry stores.  We picked up all the free gifts I could for Miss P's new jewelry box!  How fun. But we were not in time to take the city bus out to the quilt store.  Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!  

Later that night I kicked myself.  We should have hired a taxi to take us to it, wait for us and bring us back!!  But it never occurred to us when we were there!

We were back on board for the salmon bake.  The promised rain didn't show up or at least waited until after we left at 12:30. It's been a charmed cruise, weather-wise.

The rest of the day was "at sea" so we went to "The Fragile Oceans" presentation.  I thought it would be a video from NOAA, but it was an interesting lecture.

We stayed for the Captain's Talk and had Mimosas.  He was a good speaker.  And even when asked for questions, I didn't bother to ask why we were out of dill pickles!  A serious situation for lunch sandwiches!

Then we went to the Dancing with the Stars on board session.  I really wanted to try it, but when the instructor said, bring out the sexy ... ummm, no thanks!

Tonight was Gala night, luckily no one at our table was really dressed to the nines.  Met a lovely Japanese woman - N and her husband B.  Then J&S joined us.  They knew each other too.

N is a quilter!  She asked how long I'd been quilting - 41 years.  She said I beat her.  And (thank goodness) I said, that doesn't mean I'm good, just have stamina!  WELL, it ends up - she's a Paducah Show winner!  A pattern designer! and has been accepted into the invitational Japanese shows!!!!  Canon Beach Quilt Shop carries her bag patterns.

What fun to meet her and talk. So tomorrow morning, we're meeting at 10 in the Crow's Nest with our projects for show and tell.  I let the other quilters we've met know too.  Can't wait to see N's hand quilting she's working on!  You do meet the nicest people on cruises.  Especially if they are quilters too.

Dinner was really good: shrimp cocktail; pear, blue cheese, arugula salad; sea bass with Italian veggies; and flourless chocolate cake!  It was excellent.

We went to the show "Ever After " and there were a lot of children there - but it wasn't really a kid show.  An adult version of 3 fairy tales!!  I think there was something like that on IOTSs cruise.  I don't care for them.  We got there late, because we headed the wrong way AGAIN!  So I sat partially behind a pillar! Didn't help endear the show to me!

Tried to get into the piano bar; nope! Tried to watch a video on our dvd player, nope!  So Ulli is sewing and I'm 'blogging' and we're losing an hour tonight anyway. Good night!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Alaskan Cruise Day 6

Three days left on the ship ... but don't worry - we also do a fabulous Quilt Shop-hop going home!


Oh my God, what a great day!!  We dropped anchor in the Sitka harbor early. We don't dock today, we tender in.  Ask me how I know we're here???? - the most god-awful sound vibrating up thru the floor!!!  I showered and ran up to the Lido for breakfast. Yogurt, watermelon and croissant!!  Yeah, I missed out on the strawberries, didn't see them until I was leaving.  

I sat with a pilot and his wife from Texas.  They were pretty funny, and they make their own excursions - he won't do a tour.  So they do a walk-about.  They actually went over the bridge into Douglas yesterday.  Miles of trekking.  She is a quilter too!

Here's our tour today:

Explore Sitka, Raptor Center and Native Tales     8:15        3 1/4 hours        

Explore an open bird habitat where eagles fly free, as well as stunning examples of Russian Colonial architecture, captivating native tales and the ancient rain forest of Alaska's oldest National Park. On this tour, Sitka's Russian, Tlingit and American culture, past and present, comes alive. On a brief panoramic drive thru the historic district, see totem square and castle hill - site of the 1867 purchase and land transfer ceremony of Alaska from colonial Russia. You'll also pass the Pioneer Home, the Russian Bishop's house and the St Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral. 

Discover the Alaska Raptor (Bald eagle) center, staffed mostly by volunteers who rescue the birds, provide rehabilitative care for them, and hopefully release the birds back to the wild. After your introduction to the facility, you will see the fascinating bird on a glove presentation.  View the clinic, outside deck habitat area and the eagle flight center. Photograph the birds throughout the grounds. 

At Sitka Nat'l Historic Park, wander through the lush forest along scenic paths where totems depict the rich culture of the Tlingit people. A short optional walk includes topics such as edible and medicinal plants, the life cycle and traditional uses of various salmon species, and rain forest ecology. Discover the park's visitor center featuring local native artists along with both ancient and modern displays, and view a fascinating audio-visual presentation on Sitka's history. 

Next you'll experience authentic Tlingit stories and songs during a visit to a traditional-style clan house built on the site of a former govt school. The Naa Kahidi Community House features the largest carved house-screen in the Pacific Northwest and comes alive with songs and voices - including your own.  Admire the beautiful regalia clothing and even learn to speak a bit of Tlingit before you leave. Your tour concludes with the transfer back to the ship or you may choose to be dropped off in town.  This will allow you to explore the main street of a unique Alaskan town on your own ad perhaps visit St Michael's Cathedral .   Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers.

Since we had an early tour, the group met onboard at the Queen's lounge for the Raptor Center tour.  Thank goodness U noticed I didn't have my camera!  I had time to run back for it.  The Raptor Center was very interesting.  

We met Volta the eagle who's been an "ambassador of the species" for 22 years!  He's been on TV; even rang the bell for the Stock Exchange.  The center accepts injured birds from anywhere to try to  rehabilitate them.  The birds who are too injured to be released into the wild again are given homes in captivity (zoos) or become an ambassador.

It's a well known center.  A friend from Brookings has a sister that lives in Alaska, and her sister sponsors an eagle at the center.  I'm glad she recommended that we tour it. 

Joke to tell kids:  Who does a killer whale see when he has a tooth problem?  An ORCApedist!!!!

On to the Natl park with Totem poles - but after leaving the bus, we first walked over to the stream to see the salmon spawning.  They were "pinks" and basically holding their own against the stream.  They're not dramatic at this point.  Mostly staying in one place, guarding the roe. But an eagle was flying along the creek above us!! Always a thrill.

U and I walked along the stream on a forest path.  We saw a few totems and ended back up at the museum.  The guide recommended that we watch the short history film.  We did that, then went to see the artisan in residence.  Today it was a Native woman working in beads.

She was very interesting.  I'm sorry I didn't get her name.  She was brought up by her "auntie" as most Alaskan children are.  Her birth-mom brought up other children.  Her beading was exquisite. Some was beaded on antelope skin that she cured herself. 

One piece was a small pouch open on top - it was her cell phone holder!!  After that announcement, we all just looked at each other and my brain was stupefied!  Then we all smiled and she said, there are many uses for their art in the modern world.  It was amazing and we could have stood there and talked with her for hours.  BUT the bus was leaving ...  we shook her hand, thanked her and headed out of the center.

Then to the Chapter House where we saw native dances.  There were some really little guys in the dances - a 3 yr old and 6 yr old.  It was fun.  A lot of us joined in the "invitational".  Hold our arms out slightly and limp like Raven. (You know I can limp on occasion!)  My grandson D would have loved to see them, the Native dress here is CAPES!! And D is never without a cape if he can help it!!

Our guide told us they are the only cruise stop that doesn't have the cruise company stores lined up.  When approached by the cruise companies, they said, "No. Our stores have been owned by families for generations and we like it that way."  The cruise ships said, "Then we won't come."  And Sitka said, "So, don't!"  Well, they came anyway. And Sitka does have a different ambiance than our other stops. I like it.

We ended back in town for a little shopping and the quilt store!  We were a little nervous that we wouldn't see bears on this trip.  But they were pretty easy to find, after all!!!

 We were due back on the boat at 1 - we had lunch then took photos from the ship.  We sewed on Lido deck for awhile.  Sitka is a beautiful harbor amongst small islands.  Gorgeous sailing through them.

Dinner tonight in the dining room, and oh what a dinner it was!!!  Our table mates were NOT a match made in heaven!!  But I thought it was hilarious to watch and keep up!!  M, German and her husband; and the 2 women we sat with at breakfast one morning.  (From the US, but originally from Palestine.) First M didn't think Jerusalem was in Palestine!  After a 12 year war???  

Then she said she didn't recognize the name because Germans call it "Palestina"??  News to U!  She was hoping no one would ask what her name was!!  (It's German!) and she did not want to join in these conversations.

One of the gals wanted everything that someone else had,  and not what she ordered and had in front of her!! But M wanted what she was giving up!  Our poor waiter was probably tearing his hair out in the kitchen!!   The whole dinner was oh-so-very-funny!  

I had beet and blue cheese salad; (I picked around the beets!) rainbow trout and Strawberry/chocolate ladyfingers.  AND the chocolate filling from the gal's second dessert!!  I liked it, she didn't!  U and I laughed and laughed as we walked down the hall afterwards! Very discreetly, of course!!  And every time we thought of it again!!

Recycled Percussion was the program tonight and it was awesome!  They handed out drumsticks, something to pound on, and ear plugs to everyone in the audience!  It was so much fun.  My grandchildren P&M would have loved it.  I bought the DVD of their Vegas show for them, for a donation to the "Stop Bullying" program they started.  My daughter, their mom, may hate me!!!

After that program we ambled over to BB King's and listened to that set.  P&I, the sisters we met, joined us along with their husbands. We sat together and talked about our tours until the start of the next set.  The guys seem very nice too.  I thought I ordered the non-alcohol Strawberry daiquiri with some rum added - but no rum was in it.  Very refreshing though!

Tomorrow is our last stop in Alaska, we're going to the Sanctuary for the Bear Encounter ... it takes up most of our time - hope to have time to see the salmon at Creek St and get our totem charms.  Know we won't have time to go to the quilt shop.  Darn!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Alaskan Cruise Day 5

But first ... our local quilt store is having a paper-piecing BOM.  It's so easy for us, Thanks Country Keepsakes!!  We bought the book - Seascapes by Cheryl Peck. Then just show up at the appointed time!  She has reproduced the blocks that we will work on that day.  She even brought in tubs of "left-over fabric" from the store!!!  Oh, my!!!  There were some real goodies in there!!

Our first meeting/class was yesterday and we made the Sea Stars. This book is filled with treasures!  I hemmed and hawed for a few times before I bought it.  I knew I liked it, but would I really make something out of it??  This group is perfect for getting me to work on the blocks!

Now on with the "Cruise along"

We had a beautiful day to enjoy cruising Glacier Bay.   The crew was just as excited as we were!  They said it was the first nice day they've had in Glacier Bay all season!!  

The petite older female ranger said to us this am, "we had a controlled collision with you and I climbed up a rope ladder to get here!" They offered a thumb drive of Alaskan pictures and U and I shared the cost.  - I had glass reflection on most of my whale watching pictures - darn-it!

We walked back and forth on  the ship all day.   Going between the 10th deck Crow's Nest to hear rangers and sit inside and 4th deck bow being out in the beautiful weather and closer to the glaciers.

We woke to finding the deck doors were all open and it was cold onboard.  But the sun came out this afternoon and it was pleasant. 

The water was so still.  It really reminded me of Crater Lake.  The vegetation was stunted like at Crater Lake too.  But not because of the elevation, because it was relatively recent that it came out of the bay.  It was hard to believe we were still at sea level!

On deck in the morning - we were still wearing our sweatshirts!

We're at Marjorie Glacier.  One of the few glaciers that are still growing!  This is where we saw the calving and heard the white thunder.

Considering that we are 4 decks up - it's bigger than it seems!!

This picture was taken by Greg Streveler.  It was included in the Glacier Natl Park Thumbdrive.

Rivers of snow is what they call a glacier - they look like roadways curling down between the peaks and sometimes they look like ATVs have been driving on them.  That's because they can scrape the rocks along the sides and the debris looks like tire tracks!  We were assured, no, ATVs are not allowed to drive on the glaciers.

We sat quite a while at Marjorie and saw several small calvings - they looked more like little avalanches. But they were bigger than they seemed, we heard the white thunder as it tumbled into the bay. I was expecting more blue color in the ice, but there was too much sun, and it's hard to complain about that!  In Alaska or on the Oregon Coast!

We had breakfast and dinner in dining room.  We lunched up at Lido.

For breakfast I had the parfait (ok, but not enough granola) Ah, but dinner was wonderful: a gourmet greens salad and crab cakes both very good.  Then snickers cake which  was yummy but a little dry.  We ordered an extra dessert for the table and passed it - chocolate of course.  We had a good group.  T&J from Wyoming and S&J from Utah. 

T&J were wildlife enthusiasts and have Swarovski crystal 10/75 binoculars that cost $2000! But they used them all day in Glacier Bay and they saw a whole lot more than we did!!!  We didn't bring Binoculars, the tours both furnished them.  Next time I'll bring some.

 But T&J knew Brookings by our description.  (We're from a small town on the Oregon coast right by the California border.) They had actually been there!!!  They stayed at Driftwood RV and were there for a kite festival!!

S&J were readers and we discussed our favorite books, both new and as children!  Fun group. We convinced J to read Harry Potter and heard about the new addition to the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series.

U and I went to the Broadway Songs show tonight and met two sisters, I&P; we later played "group Majority" trivia game with them.  The correct answer was determined by the crowd.  And it was fun - maybe because we had a dirty minded crowd!?  Sample question:  Name another Holland America ship.  Two of the answers were "Titanic" and "Idon'tgiveadam"!! (Holland ship names always end in "dam"!

The 4 of us often came up with the right answer, but didn't always write it down!  Our Cruise Director was pretty funny! After one really raunchy majority answer he said he was never touching the handrails again during this cruise!!!

Quick early day tomorrow for Sitka.  We arrive at 7 and we leave for the Raptor Recovery Center at 7:20!!  We meet onboard so that should help.  Hope the weather holds.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alaskan Cruise Day 4

Thank goodness the sea was calm today!  Everyone was relieved.  We sailed into the Inner Passage - never to go back into open water again!!  I think!!

We saw two whales swimming beside the ship at breakfast! Check!!  It's shaping up to be a great day!!  We shopped the sidewalk sale upstairs; then sewed in our usual spot,   We went and listened to the lecture on Volcanoes and Glaciers.  It was good, but tried to put me to sleep, so I went back to the cabin and took a snooze! 

The bow was open and we went out to watch us come up to the docks in Juneau. It's beautiful here.  We took our time and ate lunch in the dining room before they were ready for us to debark! Our tour here is a late afternoon tour - we won't be back in time for dinner.  So we very casually walked out of the Lido Restaurant with an extra sandwich, some yogurts and fruit to stash in our room for dinner tonight!  Not that anyone would have cared!  We have a mini-fridge in our room!!
First thing we did on land was check for cell coverage, yes! 5 bars!!  Then find the quilt store.  We did and it was a good one.  Much bigger than expected AND prices were the same as Oregon?!  

Juneau's Quilt Shop - Changing Tides - had a good Row by Row too!  Win, win!  I found 'word' fabric and it was logos of Alaskan towns!  Perfect!

We went back to the room; dropped our shopping bags, read guide books and found all the parts and pieces we needed to go on our tour.  There was a little time to kill, so we waited in the Pinnacle Bar again, and someone had found my needle and put it on the table!!  Hope finding it didn't hurt!!  

I took a picture of the ship when we got off. Cruise ships are so-o big. Docking them in a little town puts them in perspective.  It's such a nice day - 70s and sunny - although, are you superstitious of saying anything when something is going really well?? Afraid you'll jinx it??  I felt like that today!

Our excursion in Juneau was Whale Watching 

Whale Watching & Wildlife Quest             4:30        4 hours                

This sightseeing cruise features guaranteed whale watching. Following a short motor coach ride to scenic Auke Bay, you'll board a water jet-powered catamaran specially designed for wildlife viewing. Relax in the warm, comfortable cabin surrounded by large windows as you ply the island-studded waters of Stephens Passage. 

This area is world renowned as a favored summer feeding ground for humpback whales. Once whales have been sighted, your captain will gently maneuver the vessel to allow exceptional viewing and photo opportunities as these graceful ocean giants slowly arc their massive tail flukes into the air. The whales are often close enough to hear them breathe. 

An onboard naturalist will explain the behavior and habitat of the humpback whale and other wildlife you may encounter, including killer whales, Steller sea lions, Dall's porpoise, harbor seals, bald eagles and Sitka black-tail deer.

Bring a warm jacket to wear on the topside observation deck. The operators of this tour guarantee that a whale will be sighted on this excursion. If not, you will receive a partial cash refund from the tour operator at the conclusion of the tour. The vessel is restroom-equipped. Binoculars and souvenir route maps are provided along with snacks and beverages.

The excursion was perfect except no Orcas :<   We had a good bus driver, and the tour was run by a great boat company (family owned, since 1970, and very knowledgeable)  And we saw whales - lots of them.  Even got to see a breech!!!  Bubblefishing!!  WOW!  Follow this link to see some amazing professional photos of this!

At one time our guide thought she counted 15!!  One baby calf!  When we came back, all crews already back were on deck of another boat, cleaning the windows!!  Pretty conscientious, even if under protest!!

Whales setting up to bubble-fish.

A breech!

The splashdown!!

Let's talk about tours!  My first cruise was to the Caribbean.  I had awesome tours there too.  But there were differences. English was very proper and a second language.  There was alot of messages form the tour guides about 1. They were so glad to see us.  We felt welcome and not at risk.  2. Come back and see us at leisure, you're not really seeing all our charms in 4 hours. 3.  If you like our tour, please tip us, (ok, words to that effect)  several times during our time together. 4.  Give us a good evaluation if you liked today.  There was often trinkets to buy while on the tour.  All was said in a light manner, with some humor, but we knew what was expected of us.

In Alaska, language and manners were normal. Only once was something available on the tour to buy from the tour company. We were "fellow Americans" and they were glad we came, but if we hadn't, life would go on!? 3 tours on this cruise, tips were only asked for once.  Our bus driver was happy but surprised to get one when we got off the bus!!  We were still asked for good reviews, which we gave gladly!

We got back onboard in time to spend time at Elvis Night in the piano bar!  The Piano Man is good, a crowd pleaser and he needed to be in a bigger room.  Seats were hard to find.  Apparently he was a member of the backup band for ELVIS! 

I introduced U to Mojitos!  They were a "good do" and we both liked them. Then we headed back to the room to eat our purloined dinner - yogurt and 1/2 sandwich from the Lido lunch buffet!  Tasted excellent!

And we're off - the ship just started up.  Next stop Glacier Bay!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Alaskan Cruise Day 3

Sunday At Sea Day or as we refer to it - Queasy day!!  This ship has been rocking and rolling since early last night. No pills for me yet, but queasy off and on all day.  Kind of sucks the joy out of it.  

But should be the only day - we're out on the ocean; at 7 am tomorrow we head back into the Inner Passage.  Crossing my fingers for flat waters again, please!

I went up on the Lido deck this morning at 6 am and it was amazing! The pool was wild! Splashing and slopping continuously.  It's not just our imagination - we are moving in odd ways!! 

I finally figured out where the Fitness Center was and joined the early morning stretch - on the floor on mats! Remember I have two artificial knees and a touch of vertigo!!

What was I thinking??  I survived, but would have preferred to do the stretches in bed or a raised platform!  The floor was hard, the "yoga mat" didn't add much comfort to the stretches!  

And trying to hold positions with the ship rocking was problematic!  I apologized to the gal next to me, I almost turned over all the way and joined her on her mat.  We chuckled and she said that she couldn't see the instructor without her glasses and was following me anyway!! It was the blind leading the halt all the way!

Then I staggered around the deck 3 times for a mile walk!  Weirdest feeling! The floor is up, then down and then all of a sudden you're headed left then right!!! There's no time for cadence - each step is a complete surprise to you!!!  Sea legs, where are you!!

I had breakfast with a father and his daughter from NYC.  He was such a typical NYC male! All about who's in charge!  The daughter was 12 and told me she was "getting too old for Club HAL," Nice little gal. Her mom and brother was on the cruise too, Dad and DD were just having a late breakfast.  Ran into them several times later too.

U and I got out our sewing and sat in the 2nd deck Pinnacle Lounge (sorry,bar was closed, but the window seats were open!) and looked out the window while we sewed.  We're both working on our wool applique bouquet of flowers.  Pictured above; U's on the left, mine on the right.  These are pictures from former work-days. Our final project may differ greatly ... 

We attracted another quilter from Illinois.  She's serious about quilting - she's been to Houston several times and just started when she retired!

One thing I missed on the Quilting cruise I went on last year - participating in what's offered on the ship!  We were busy in quilt classes on our "at sea" days.  Well, that's going to be different this cruise!!

Today I went to a Photo Editing class.  Windows/Microsoft provided a computer lab on board. The teacher was good, and I learned alot!  But I got pretty queasy after looking at the computer with all the movement, the deck windows to the side didn't help either, Solution:  back to cabin for 45 minute nap!  There is an advantage to having an interior cabin - you can sleep anytime - it's always dark!

After lunch went to the Dancing with the Stars on board - an official satellite program with Holland America.  Today they were doing the jive.  It's tempting to join the dancers for a slower dance, we'll see. It's fun to see the dancers that are good, but maybe a little more fun to see others flailing about!

We left that early to go hear the presentation on Alaska's wildlife.  It was very good.  There are 5 types of salmon - using fingers as memory helper -  Chum,(rhymes with thumb), sockeye (pointer finger pokes eye 3 stooges style), king (biggest finger), silver (ring finger), pink (pinkie)!!  There are other names for each type - but they didn't drum that into our minds as well!

Later in the afternoon, I attended another Digital photography class, dealing with cameras.  Standing room only! It wasn't as interesting, but I relearned a few things that helped me remember how to use our Nikon!!  Thank you!  I wasn't excited about reading the instruction book on this wild day!

We went to the movie.  Ketchikan: Our Native Legacy - an excellent short, Emmy winning film.  The interviews with Natives were good. As one Native gentleman said, "The people aboard the ships need to know who we are, because, I think, some of them came here to see us!" 

It's a great film and it was perfect timing to see it.  It got me ready to notice and learn!  The link takes you to the film, it's worth watching.  It's only 27 minutes long - give it a try!

But fighting the "queasies" ran me out of steam today -  After the film we went and just sat on the 10th deck looking out the library window.  But I saw a whale spout quite close to the ship!!  Yay!  It is hard to see a whale spout twice while we're moving.  We're going about 25 mph - and they probably are too.  We're usually going the opposite way and by the time they come back up, we're way past them!! Luckily, someone else spotted it too!  So, on the check list - see whales - check!

Tonight we were lucky - we met L&M going into the cafeteria for dinner. So we got to sit together again and had a pleasant conversation.  Someone at the next table pointed out a rainbow!  Perfect day except for the queasiness - it took out a lot of passengers!  There were a few "clean up on Aisle 9" moments.  I finally took a Dramamine after dinner - and dreamed of being on a roller coaster all night! Please let tomorrow be smoother!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alaskan Cruise - Day 2!!

We had set the alarm for 8!  Ha, dreamers!  Bad night, I slept like my DH!  We got up early for breakfast and then "North to Alaska" for us.  But first, a side trip to Bayside Quilting.  

I've been following them in ads and online for years.  Don't you just love their logo?? I've always been fascinated by "Rosie the Riveter!!  
Image result for rosie the riveter

The store was not as big as I pictured but I loved it. and it lived up to my ideal!  We found lots of goodies there.  After shopping they pointed us toward the farmer's market, 

One of my missions (yes I have more than one!!) was to find a birthday present for Miss P, my granddaughter who turns 9 in September!  Asking directions for the farmer's market headed us the wrong way, so we got sidetracked into a flea market and U found a great jewelry box for P!!  HooRay!  AND I got a sewing tray too!

Here's a preview of how much she liked it!!!  Her hands are showing the 2 necklaces that were in the box. More on her birthday later - I promise.

Time to get on with the cruise. The docks and parking is W*A*A*A*A*Y downtown and guess what - the biggest party yet!  Holey Moley!  I had to stop at a rest area to unclench my hands! But we found it and was still on schedule. We boarded the ship about 1:45 and our room was ready.  HooRay!  The room is small, but we will make it work.  After all, we're ARE ON the ship!!!

Image result for westerdam holland america

Here it is - our home away from home for the next week.  It's big and confusing!!!  U swears we walked over a mile today on the ship - mostly going the wrong way!!  The Westerdam is big but completely different feel than the Independence of the Seas.  (My only other cruise. To the Caribbean via Royal Carribbean.) That 2 deck promenade made a lot of difference.  I'm sure I'll get used to it.

After dropping our stuff in the room, we went to lunch on the Lido deck; I had salad and ice cream (no judging) we joined M (91 today) and L (?) from Australia.  They are a hoot.  Ran into them again at the "Cast Off party"  

It's exciting to start off on our great adventure,  it's windy on deck when we are underway!  We looked back on the beautiful skyline of Seattle but there's smoke from all the fires, so not a good picture.  Next time.

We have the flexible dining plan, and tonight we had a table of 6 for early dinner in the second floor dining room.  We sat with M&L - she's a quilter from Portland and C&R from Texas.  M&L are celebrating their 50th anniversary.  R did his thesis on Climate Change, it was so interesting to talk with him.

Our dinner was awesome. Alaskan seafood chowder; roast chicken and baked Alaska.  I didn't like the Baked Alaska - mostly meringue, tiny brownie, not much chocolate - totally not worth it.  Good to know. Hmmm, the ongoing mission of finding the best chocolate desserts!!!

After dinner, we went to gift shop; I bought a book about Alaska and some postcards to send to the kids.  Then we went to the BB King nightclub.  I bought drinks tonight.  The Strong Island Ice Tea wasn't very good.  Ulli brought her bottled beer back to the room. The jazz group was pretty darn good.  We had dancers from the audience for the last couple of songs.  

Then we went on to the Vista Lounge for the main show.  Really good juggler. Mike Price, the Rock Star Juggler!!! He invented some laser gloves so the audience could see the hand pattern. He was great and funny too! But they added smoke to show off lasers and it got to my eyes.  Oh, well, still liked him.

So far cruise director isn't as funny as IOTS's!! But lets give him a chance. I'm off to bed.  It was a great first day. All that traffic really made getting on the boat feel like the start of vacation!! And it is!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Come along on a cruise with me!!

At the end of the summer, a quilting friend and I went on an Alaskan cruise!  The timing was perfect and the weather was too!

I was 'dark' while traveling - but kept a journal of each day.  Today we are going to pretend it's all ahead of me!  Let's go to Alaska!!

First of all, let me explain why this is a driving trip to Seattle (where our ship departs from).  Our small Crescent City airport is currently waiting for a new airline contract to start.  So our choices were to drive to another small airport - either 2 1/2 hours OR 3 hours away.  We could also drive to Portland, 6 hours away, but only 3 1/2 hours from Seattle.  There were no cheap rates and a whole lot of quilt shops between us and Seattle ... I think you get my drift!!

I picked up U at 7 am and off we went.  Our first break was at Coos Bay, McDonald's for smoothies and the bank for the rest of my "mad money".  We are enjoying the blue skies and light traffic this am.

We stopped for a stretch at the Elkton Butterfly greenhouse, part of Fort Umpqua grounds.  Oh my, there were hundreds of Monarchs flying around; a few Painted Ladies and all of them big and beautiful. I'd been there a few weeks earlier with the grandkids.  More butterflies were active now.

Sent the grands this photo-text - "Hey kids, can you guess where we are???" They got it in one!

The the first stop on our Quilt Shop Hop - Fabric Farm in Drain Oregon. We got their Row by Row pattern and saw a good selection of Modern fabrics!  Then we had lunch at the Albany Burgerville.  U's first time and the Walla Walla onion rings were awesome!

I had a camera dilemma this trip - I love taking pictures with my Ipad.  But it's really awkward and easy to drop. Would hate to lose it after getting that perfect shot over the guardrail on board!  AND the memory isn't that big.  

We have a good Nikon D50 (the last camera made without the viewfinder on the screen!!!) But it's card only holds 350 pictures. I was unsuccessful finding any bigger memory cards that worked in our local stores.  So we must stop in a Beaverton camera shop. They say D50s don't work well with large memory cards, but they have a 2gig one that might work.

BUT what if it doesn't work?? I will take more than 320 pictures (the first day!!) and without WIFI that would be it!  So I packed the(heavy) laptop so I could download each day's shots.  

We stopped at the Beaverton store, tried the memory card and it works!  Wahoo!!  And realized that I was really going to miss that Ipad!  Suck it up, Buttercup!!  We're going to Alaska!!

Trying to get back easily to I5, I saw how close we were to Acorns and Threads needle work store. We made a quick stop and picked up the Prairie Schooler 2015 Santa - their last one. I'm going to miss this (these) designers.  They did the best faces without 1/2 or 1/4 stitches!! Thanks for all the years of great yet do-able designs!

I'm A Fabricaholic On The Road To Recovery T-shirt
 I'm sorry to say, we then joined a HUGE traffic jam (it was only 2:30!  Good Grief!)  We'll be referring to this situation as "The Party" from now on!  But we persevered and made it to Fabric Depot.  Found some goodies on the outside patio sale area.  Yea, sale!!

I'm on a mission - as always!  I'm looking for fabrics with words on them.  OR simple very graphic designs.  I've been collecting for a year (or so) I have plenty, but it's addicting!! (Help me!  I'm collecting fabrics and I can't stop!!!) Or as the t-shirt by Zazzle says!!

I'm still trying to decide on what pattern to make with these prize fabrics ...  If you've seen some dynamite patterns using these fabrics - let me know!!  I'll put them on the list to think about!!

Back to the giant party on 205, it was now approaching Rush Hour (?) but easily found our first Top 10 Quilt store in Vancouver Washington. Fiddlesticks. And after finding 2 text fabrics on sale (score)... they gave us directions to Olive Garden.  We had soup and breadsticks for dinner. Perfect.

We drove for another hour to the Kelso Red Lion - it was huge and we got it cheap.  Yea!

That was not bad for our first travel day!!  12-ish hours, 350 miles, 3 quilt stores, 2 yummy meals and a great hotel to stay at!!  Good night