Although today’s port stop in Juneau was canceled, the cruise tried to make up for it by sailing up the Stephens Passage to the Tracy and Endicott Arms. The sky was completely clear, and while it was cold outside it was refreshing after two days stuck in a stuffy boat breathing heavily processed air. I was excited, not least because this was my first real glance of Alaska.
Initially, it didn’t look that different from parts of California. Tall mountains topped with snow could be seen in the distance, but unlike the Sierra Nevada they often appeared to come down nearly to the shoreline. In other areas, thick evergreen forests covered foothills – perfect bear habitat, according to the ship’s naturalist. (Yeah, we had one of those on board. He gave a talk about whales or wildlife yesterday, but I didn’t make it.) In the distance, I could see dark shapes that could have been the backs of whales…or a trick of the light. It made me wish I’d brought binoculars, but of course I hadn’t even thought of that when I was packing. A woman that I was standing next to suddenly squealed with excitement because she’d spotted a bear on the distant shore. I had to take her word for it – squinting as hard as I could, desperate to see the wildlife, I couldn’t make anything out. It was just too far away.
Theoretically, there is a bear somewhere in this picture.
I’m not sure if this is a glacier that has retreated far up the mountainside, or just the remains of an avalanche, but it sure looked cool.
This is the point where I realized bringing a paint set would have been AWESOME.
Much love for the nature!
It was terribly windy, especially when we went to the front of the boat. You couldn’t stand there for more than thirty seconds before your eyes would start to water and you’d lose feeling in your cheeks and fingertips. But I love how it feels when my hair is whipping around in the air – it’s not that it normally feels heavy, but when it’s in the air I don’t feel the weight of it, and it makes my whole body feel like it’s floating. It’s terribly thrilling. Plus, very few people had much tolerance for the chill, so the front was always the least-crowded part of the boat.
A nice guy took pity on me and my efforts to take a photograph of myself, so there’s at least one decent photo of me on this trip.
Mom looked like a fuzzy Ewok or Eskimo. She had bought a new jacket for this trip, and it’s white and furry. It always made her really easy to find in a crowd.
Endicott Arm was pretty much the highlight of the day. I spent the rest of the time reading and drinking tea in Leaves, the library/tea lounge hidden in the middle of the ship.
In the evening, Mom wanted to see one of the shows – “Sherlock Holmes’ Musical Mystery”. For some reason, I thought it was literally a musical featuring Holmes, which would have been terrible and awesome. But no. It was more like a quiz game – well, actually, what it reminded me of was the terrible Lush training skits we had to do at monthly meetings. But anyway, Holmes and Watson are investigating a murder, and every minute or so a few bars of a popular song is played. Whichever audience member guesses the most songs correctly wins a prize. The lyrics or song title were usually loosely related to whatever Holmes and Watson were doing on the stage. Besides being unbelievably cheesy, the songs were all ancient, dating from the 1940s-1960s. This no doubt played well with the audience, which was all of the silver-haired variety, but I didn’t recognize anything I heard. Maybe three songs out of the twenty-five played. But it’s what Mom wanted to do, and she didn’t want to be by herself, so I sat there and daydreamed the next day, when we’d finally get off the boat for a while in Skagway.