S: Alaska Cruise and Land Tour June 27 - July 10, 2013
FC: 2013 | By Sea | By Land
1: Alaskan Cruise Tour Radiance of the Seas June 27 - July 10, 2013 June 27 - Flight to Vancouver June 28 - Vancouver June 29 - Cruising the Inside Passage June 30 - Ketchikan July 01 - Icy Strait Point July 02 - Juneau July 03 - Skagway July 04 - Cruising Hubbard Glacier July 05 - Seward / Alyeska July 06 - Alyeska / Anchorage July 07 - Anchorage / Denali July 08 - Denali July 09 - Denali / Fairbanks July 10 - Flight Home
4: Our room was not ready when we checked in, so they upgraded us to the PanPacific room with excellent views.
5: We walked around Gastown a little before returning to the hotel to take in the views from their deck. The float planes were landing next to the hotel.
6: We woke up early and watched for the Radiance to sail into port.
7: All Aboard
10: We watched the planes land beside us and we waited to pull away from the dock. Everyone cheered as we saw the lines drop in the water.
11: People waved at us as we passed under the Lion's Gate Bridge
12: Inside Passage | June 29, 2013
13: Let the journey begin!
14: Exploring the Ship
15: We went to the Meet and Greet party from Cruise Critic and Wayne won a bottle of wine. Afterwards, we explored the ship.
17: June 30, 2013 | Ketchikan originated as an Indian fish saltery, but the town's major growth began when it became a supply base and entry port for miners during the 1898 Gold Rush to the Klondike.
19: We walked around town before our excursion. | The top of the mountain tries to appear above the fog
23: "It isn't how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it's how you spend the time." - David Brenner
24: Coastal Wildlife Cruise excursion. A high-speed boat ride in search of black bears, eagles, seals, sea lions, porpoise, orca and humpback whales.
29: Killer Whales
38: Cruise Full of Memories
39: We were lucky to see one, but it saw us and went back in the woods | After watching the orcas, we headed for the island to look for bears
43: We spotted the Sitka black-tailed Deer and her fawn on one of the islands on our way back to port.
48: July 1, 2013 | Icy Strait Point is located near the city of Hoonah, the largest native Tlingit Indian settlement in Alaska. Home to a historic cannery, the port's connection to the sea is strong. Locals share the sea with humpback whales, orcas, Dall porpoises, seals, sea otters, halibut and all five species of Pacific salmon. | Icy Strait Point
52: We walked on the boardwalk to the bear viewing platforms by the river. Someone spotted a bear peeking over the bushes. Guess the bear spotted us too.
53: You can remember the salmon by looking at your hand. Chum (thumb), Sockeye (pointer finger), King (middle finger cause it's the largest), Silver - Coho (ring finger), and Pink (little finger).
55: July 2, 2013
56: We looked around for quite a while and found some humpback whales
57: We found a a playful bunch that were rolling around and slapping their tails against the water. Then....
59: We were excited we saw two breaches within minutes of each other.
62: The crew was surprised we saw that many breaches in a short time. According to them, that was very rare. When we saw them surface in the distance, we moved on.
65: After watching the seals, we went in the gallery to find something to drink. I loved the display of the Alaskan beer.
67: The people on the left are at the base of the falls on the right.
69: Eagles were in the river below a bridge we crossed on the way back to the ship.
72: July 3, 2013 | Alaska Wilderness River Adventure excursion. Explored the Bald Eagle Preserve on the Chilkat River in the quaint little town of Haines. Boarded the flat bottom riverboats specially designed for the shallow, narrow channels of this unique, glacial fed river system.
73: We took the ferry from Skagway to Haines to meet our tour bus driver for the Chilkat River tour. | Haines
74: Only lumber yard in Haines | Alaska Fish and Game were out doing a count of the salmon run. The fish are caught in the wheel as the swim by - counted - tossed back in. They use this to determine how strong the salmon run will be each year.
75: We were split up into two groups - loaded up and each boat took a different route | The river is really shallow - from 5 feet to a few inches in some places.
76: We passed by some abandoned hunting cabins | Found an abandoned eagle's nest, too.
77: Our river guide took us to one of the active eagle's nest. We could see some wings flapping every few minutes. In a couple of weeks, they will be sitting on the edge of the nests.
83: All ages enjoyed the dance off as we sailed away. | Dance | Party
84: Hubbard Glacier | The fog was really thick around the Hubbard Glacier and many LARGE pieces of ice prevented us from attempting to move into the cove. The caption stayed in the area until eleven hoping the fog would lift. It did not. We could hear the ice cracking and calving into the water.
85: As we moved away from the glacier, the fog lifted.
86: The ship was decorated to celebrate the 4th of July - including cake in the main foyer. We said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang songs. After singing God Bless America, the balloons were released.
87: One of the kids was selected to cut the first piece of cake. They were cooking good BBQ by the pool.
88: July 5, 2013
90: Thousands of octopus eggs are currently hatching. The crew moves the tiny babies to another tank daily. All the white spots above are tiny octopus. | UNDERWATER | They had many pools with many seals swimming around.
91: The Steller Sea Lion was very active and would often stop at the window and look at us. He finally saw Wayne in the corner. He stayed in front of him until Wayne took his picture. As soon as he did, he swam off.
93: SEA B I RDS
94: The puffins put on a show preening. It was fun watching them use their wings to move across the water, then splashing before diving deep just to pop up and do it all over again.
96: If you take a fishing excursion, they'll display your fish for a picture with you and pack it in dry ice to mail home.
97: Spring Flowers
98: Resurrection Bay Cruise
99: Seagulls and puffins nest in the rocks around the islands. Seals crawl up and rest on any ledge they can find.
100: We finally spotted a couple of blows and nice flukes. Then the crew grabbed their cameras to snap up one of the humpbacks feeding. It opened it's mouth for a long time against the top of the water.
101: One of the crew told us to follow the birds. The birds knew the whale was bringing up small fish. It would dive down and then come out of the water part-way with it's mouth open - then close it to screen the water out.
102: It was pouring down rain, but we stayed out on deck watching the whale repeat his feeding process. Then this little boat speeds over to where the whale was feeding. Idiot. The whale didn't pop up for a long time and moved a few yards over. Only to have the idiot move over it again.
103: After the Resurrection Bay cruise, we boarded the train for Alyeska. We had a very good dinner onboard the train. We even saw a couple of moose running as we passed by them.
105: Views from the train | Royal Caribbean rail cars
106: Alyeska Resort. A beautiful ski resort in Girdwood AK. They have the hardest triple diamond run in the US. We took the tram up and it is very steep.
111: This beautiful husky was running around the property. The hotel said he just showed up a few days ago and has adopted the hotel as his home.
112: July 6, 2013 | We didn't have much time in Anchorage. We spent the afternoon walking around the Saturday market. We ate really good fried halibut and corn fritters for dinner. We bought a jade puffin from one of the vendors to remember our time in Alaska. We also drove through the airport where the float planes are stored.
113: July 7, 2013 | We had an early start for our bus ride to Denali. We had a couple of stops on the way - to view a monument and to get ice cream in Houston AK. | Our land tour guide, Shelley and the driver, Bob B. Shelley was the BEST guide. | Fireweed - once the blooms reach to top, winter is coming in 6 weeks. Shelley was sad to see it blooming so early. | Alaska Mosquito
115: Discover Denali Tour
116: The missing bark was caused by the porcupines looking for food during the winter months. This is a good indication of high the snow drifts are in the park.
119: McKinley Village Lodge | After our short hike in the park, we checked into the McKinley Village Lodge. We will be staying in Denali for 2 nights. This gives us a full day tomorrow to explore the park on our own
120: July 8, 2013 | We booked the Back Country Tour which travels the complete 92 miles on the park road. It stops in Kantishna for lunch and returns back on the same road. We were gone for over 12 hours. | Our driver, Martin, told us to yell 'STOP' if we see anything interesting and he'll stop the bus. We were not very far in the park when someone stopped the moose on the side of the road. She looked over at us, but was more interested on snacking on the bushes.
121: We stopped at the ranger station on mile 13 and was welcomed by the ranger.
123: We spotted a single Dall Sheep high on the mountain side
124: It rained off and on as we drove thru the park. Wayne saw the rainbow at the same time I did. We got the whole rainbow. | Amazing
125: The scenery seems to be changing with each mile. Even though we could not see the peak of Denali, it is wonderful.
131: If it was a clear day, Denali would be located where the outline shows. | Cute little service dog with red shoes. | Backpacks that the first explorers would have worn | Eielson Visitor Center
132: After we left the visitors center, we found a snowy owl taking off in flight. I barely caught a photo of it. Then we spotted the mama and baby eating in the pond.
137: Jeanette relaxing in Kantishna
138: While Jeanette relaxes, Wayne tries his hand at finding gold.
140: Wonder Lake
142: Polychrome Pass
148: July 9, 2013 | After breakfast, we boarded the bus and headed to "Alaska's Golden Heart," Fairbanks.
149: A handler brought a couple of his sled dogs to educate people about the Yukon Quest, the 1,000 mile sled dog race.. | Near the sled dogs, this little mouse ran in front of us - posed for a photo and ran back under the bush.
152: We visited the Gold Dredge #8. We were shown how they panned for gold in the beginning and the dredge that worked the area later. | Gold Dredge #8
153: They demonstrated how to pan for gold. You start out with a poke that contains pay dirt. Empty the whole bag and toss the bag. Dig in water and swirl around, pour out dirty water and repeat - shake well and dip and pour, letting the top rocks leave the pan. | Repeat the dip, swirl, shake process keeping the pan tilted until you remove all the fine dirt and leaving the gold in the pan.
154: Now it's our turn. The staff was ready to pass us a poke and lead us to the water to pan for our gold. | Between the 2 of us, we got $22 in gold.
156: Dredge back than.... | The dredge is sitting in the last spot it found gold. The tailings from the last run are behind the dredge.
159: The gold would be melted down to burn off the impurities and poured into this 700 oz cast. They would wrap it up, put a stamp on it and mail it to San Francisco. Imagine getting that in the mail!
160: They had a lot of older tools and cash registers spread outside and in the store.
161: When we left the Gold Dredge, we went to the hotel in Fairbanks. Our flight is tonight, so we gave our room to our tour guide. We went to the airport and flew home all night.