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!

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