I spent last week in Alaska with a bunch of friends on SQL Cruise. We left Seattle and headed to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, BC. This was the same itinerary as the trip Nicole and I took two years ago, but I took several different excursions, had much better weather (sunny and 75° in every port), and I saw a lot more wildlife. Most of the pictures are very high res, so feel free to click on any to enlarge.
Our first day in port was Ketchikan. I started with a terrible coffee from a shop called, ironically, “Good Coffee.” I had a not-so-good coffee there the last time I was here, and should have known better. At least they had entertaining wall art:
I took a few pictures downtown…
Then I took an excursion – a little boat that went around the local areas trying to spot bald eagles. We saw some almost right away: 4 of them in some trees on an island, two adults and two juveniles (no white yet).
Then we headed off, and I took several pictures of a great sunset. Well, actually, Tim Ford took this first one:
As it got dark, there was a great fog bank rolling in off to the starboard side. The deeper blue picture was taken by Buck Woody – I had gone to bed by that point.
Juneau, Alaska (by float plane)
In Juneau I took a seaplane excursion – it was touted as a 5 glacier tour, but we saw many more than that, including Mendenhall, where Nicole and I had walked up to the falls two years ago. The pilot had asked who wanted to be co-pilot, and I of course volunteered. However as we boarded the plane some woman said “I think I’ll be co-pilot!” even after the captain told me where to sit. And after all of this, she sat there taking pictures with a crappy cell phone. sigh
And from the classy shops downtown…
We left Juneau and headed up Tracy Arm fjord – very slowly – up to Sawyer Glacier. Last time we went to Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, which was much more impressive, but zero wildlife. This time the glacier itself wasn’t very special, but we saw more seals than I could possibly count.
Skagway, Alaska & White Pass / Yukon
Next we were in Skagway. I started the day on a helicopter tour of the local mountains and glaciers. Then had Indian food with Buck. And then a group of us took a bus up the White Pass to the Canadian border. Here is where we saw some more great wildlife: a mountain goat and her baby, and a black bear.
Here is the mountain goat…
…spot the baby?
And then the fearless bear. Not all the pictures are great; several were taken from inside the bus. We didn’t get out for fear of chasing the bear away.
In this picture you can see the falls underneath a railroad track – this is the White Pass Railway, the excursion Nicole and I took two years ago. Now we were on the road on the other side of the valley.
Our final stop was in this fine little city on Vancouver Island. Last time it was height of the playoffs – I wore Bruins gear to a local pub (Irish Times) where we drank some beer and watched a hockey game. This year, as luck would have it, it was a rare night off for the NHL, but I still wore Bruins gear, and we went to a local pub (Bard & Banker) where we drank some beer and didn’t watch a hockey game.