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  #101  
Old June 10th, 2013, 07:27 PM
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WalleyeLJ WalleyeLJ is offline
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One of the things we started doing early in our cruise career was booking early excursions. While sleeping in late on vacation would be a blessing, the truth is I sleep horribly when on the road for the most part. Bev, on the other hand, would have no problem doing that! That said, we've found over the years that is, to us, almost always worth the extra effort to get up and get off the ship early because 1) we get into/out to places before the crowds get there and/or the wildlife gets spooked, and 2) whatever the weather is for the day, it's almost always better in the morning than later in the day, IF it's going to change. Note to those who will say there's no truth in this: I TOTALLY understand - but 8 cruises in it's been pretty constant. So - that's what we go with! I'm not saying it works for anyone else - just us. Plus, on the off chance we get back from our adventures early, it leaves time for a nap...sometimes!

In the spirit of that mantra, today we were booked the first flight of the day into Misty Fjords with Michelle of Island Wings - 8am!!! So, it was an early breakfast for us and then down to debark and set foot in Alaska! Here's a look at our final approach and the view when we first stepped off the ship at Berth #3...



Shoreline homes on Pennock Island just south of Ketchikan. Check out the angle of the aluminum walkways connecting the upper docks to the lower docks. The tidal fluctuations in Ketchikan are pretty significant, to the docks need ALOT of flexibility. This morning we're pretty much at low tide, or awfully close to it!











Our first ever glimpse of Ketchikan, approaching form the south. HAL's Ryndam in port ahead of us - curses!







One of the many unusual and cool fishing boats we encountered along the way - looks like they're flat lining for a little top water salmon action!







Just feet from shore, we step out of the debarkation area and onto the Berth #3 dock, getting a great look at part of the small boat harbor slips next to Berth #3 - and the beautiful weather to start our day!







We hurried our way towards solid ground, eager to make it to the Ketchikan Rain Gauge, our assigned meeting location to meet Shona from Island Wings for the short trip to their office.



L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
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  #102  
Old June 10th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Hogladyrider View Post
I had to chuckle out loud to myself at your comment about Bev getting out her netbook (so 4 years ago) because I too have a netbook, using it to type this, and I love it!

Gary has been trying to get me to give it up and I keep saying "but I love my netbook"......it was a birthday gift 4 years ago.

Tell Bev she as a netbook cyber friend!
Susan

PS - Have you seen any of the shows that are on TV now about Alaska, they are great!
LOL - that IS funny! Sadly, I have to say she's graduated to our tablets - her iPad and my Asus Andriod. I still us ethe netbook to back up photos when we travel though!

I was watching "Wild West Alaska", and we really enjoyed Buying Alaska on Destentation America. Right now I'm avoiding anymore or 2015 will feel like it's 10 years away - plus, I was trying to record Alaska tv shows, but I kept record things we've already watched over and over again - so I'm trying to take a break and get some new content on Time Warner.

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
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  #103  
Old June 11th, 2013, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by WalleyeLJ View Post
In the spirit of that mantra, today we were booked the first flight of the day into Misty Fjords with Michelle of Island Wings - 8am!!! So, it was an early breakfast for us and then down to debark and set foot in Alaska! Here's a look at our final approach and the view when we first stepped off the ship at Berth #3...
I'm really looking forward to seeing your photos from the Misty Fjords flightseeing trip!
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  #104  
Old June 11th, 2013, 10:22 PM
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The walk to the Ketchikan Rain Gauge was only a couple of minutes, and very easy to find as it was attached to the north side of the pier side Visitor's Center located in front of Berth #2. As you can see it was just a short distance from where we were tied up.



Looking NW back towards Radiance









Bev seeing exactly what 202.55 inches of rain looks like up close! Luckily no rain was on the horizon so far!





Looking NE from the Rain Gauge, you can see the famous "Welcome to Alaska's 1st City - Ketchikan - Salmon Capital of the World" sign that spans over Mission Street. It's a total tourist shot - but I don't care!







Having grown up fishing on the lakes, streams and oceans of New England, never in my wildest dreams did I ever picture that I'd be standing in Alaska and the salmon capital of the world. Fishing Ketchikan, however, was not in the cards until our 2nd trip. Today, we are taking our first ever trip in a float plane! Considering I am NOT a fan of flying, you might wonder why on earth we'd choose flying in a tiny little plane when I don't like to fly. I chock it up to the fact that we really wanted to try some new, and for us, unusual things. Plus, I worry mostly about the take off and landings - and I figured with the two huge pontoons on the bottom, and all the water around us, I hoped any landings would be ok!

So, right on schedule, Shona meet us at the gauge, we hopped in the van, and took the short ride to the Island Wings office. Along the way, Bev & Shona chatted, and we learned the Shona's little girl was 5th generation Alaskan, and Shona's great-grandfather built a number of the buildings in Ketchikan, including the Sour Dough Bar. Once there, we filled out some paperwork and headed down to the dock where we met the Esther Rose, our transportation for the morning, and our pilot Michelle.



Shona & Bev continuing their chat on the dock







A couple views of the Esther Rose, gleaming in the early morning sunshine, warming up the engine! DO NOT walk into the propeller!









Next up - check out how the plane gets off the deck and into the water!



L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
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  #105  
Old June 11th, 2013, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DizzyDallasDi View Post
I'm really looking forward to seeing your photos from the Misty Fjords flightseeing trip!
Almost there Di!

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
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  #106  
Old June 12th, 2013, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by WalleyeLJ View Post

So, right on schedule, Shona meet us at the gauge, we hopped in the van, and took the short ride to the Island Wings office. Along the way, Bev & Shona chatted, and we learned the Shona's little girl was 5th generation Alaskan, and Shona's great-grandfather built a number of the buildings in Ketchikan, including the Sour Dough Bar. Once there, we filled out some paperwork and headed down to the dock where we met the Esther Rose, our transportation for the morning, and our pilot Michelle.



Shona & Bev continuing their chat on the dock







A couple views of the Esther Rose, gleaming in the early morning sunshine, warming up the engine! DO NOT walk into the propeller!

Next up - check out how the plane gets off the deck and into the water!

L.J.
Isn't it funny how we think someone should look like just hearing about them? I expected Shona to have long dark hair, lol. Can't wait to meet her & Michelle in person!
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  #107  
Old June 12th, 2013, 09:24 PM
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So, this will be a mostly visual post (I know, they all are!), but describing the process to launching the plane into the water with words just wouldn't be as illustrative or fun as the photo sequence. For me, when we had gotten down to the dock, I was surprised that the plane wasn't just tied up dockside like a boat would be. On the other hand, it probably saves the pontoons form a beating overnight or during bad weather. In any case, I thought it was cool - here we go!



Michelle & Shona getting things in motion







Tip...







Tipping...







Slipping!







It truly is a floating plane!!! (Not that I had any doubts it would hold up... ...or did I?!?!)







Not quite as bad as herding cats...or moose...







A couple minutes later, Bev, myself and 4 folks from Oklahoma City - a mom and three teenage girls - were buckled in and ready to taxi down the runway/waterway and head into Misty Fjords!



L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
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  #108  
Old June 12th, 2013, 09:26 PM
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Isn't it funny how we think someone should look like just hearing about them? I expected Shona to have long dark hair, lol. Can't wait to meet her & Michelle in person!
They were both great - very personable and relateable, at least in our opinion, which can make or break a trip as much as whatver you see or do on the trip or excursion itself.

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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  #109  
Old June 12th, 2013, 10:32 PM
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I had discussed with Michelle before takeoff that I was a photographer and wanted to know what her thoughts were on the best place to take photos from. She said the far back rear seat & window were best, but alas, I was too heavy (!!!) and would have to sit up front - in the co-pilot's seat!!! So, the great thing about that was that I got to see everything coming during the trip, whereas everyone else had to wait until it reached the side windows. It also allowed me to look for other planes and lost Canada Geese that might stray into our path. On the other hand, since I'm a large person, I often had the flight yoke poking me in the stomach - and sometimes it got rather frisky! I want to be clear that for anyone smaller than me, I doubt it would be an issue and the view was FANTASTIC! Despite the look on her face right before we took off, Bev said afterwards that she felt totally safe with me up front.







One of the things to note for folks taking photos, especially with SLRs, is that Michelle's one rule was that you could not rest the front of your lens against the window, as the material the windows are made of can be scratched pretty easily, they'll mark up the windows for future passengers, and they are expensive to replace. This may seem like something you wouldn't want to do anyways, but on a sunny day like we had, depending on the angles, there can be a lot of interior glare on the windows, that is greatly reduced the closer you put your lens to the window. One inexpensive solution is to try screw on lens hoods made of soft rubber, which won't mar the windows and will totally kill the glare (great for aquariums too). Unfortunately I didn't get a set until after this trip. Using a hat or something else is hard because the plane is not a stable platform, so shooting one handed could be an adventure. In any case, you still have to be careful because one fun bounce of turbulence can leave you popping your camera against a window if you aren't paying attention and are quick to respond.

So, back to pre flight and take off. We all had headsets not only to help cut down the prop noise, but she could communicate with us through them as well as play instrumental music during the flight. Michelle explained the basics of the flight plan, time, etc, and then we were off. The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver is one cool plane! Sitting right up front, I got to see Michelle working all the controls and working to get us airborne. She eased us into position, facing south toward the Ketchikan waterfront and Radiance, and push the throttle forward, feeding fuel to the engine (the ONE engine we had mind you). The prop sped up, the rumble grew to a roar, and we began to skim across the water, very much like a boat starting up from idle and trying to trim out.



Feeding the beast!








Michelle's game face! (thank goodness for calm water)







There goes Radiance - see you soon!







I was so nervously focused on shooting video and then taking pictures, that I never even realized when we actually lifted off the water until I saw that my perspective was changing as we gained altitude and saw that we were 500 feet or so over the Narrows!!! I felt both foolish and relieved. In all honestly, the take off was so smooth and gradual that it was less noticeable than riding in an elevator. The almost perfectly flat waters certainly had a lot to due with that, for which I was grateful, but having been in a few bush planes since, it really was a terrific take off, so hats off to Michelle.



Bev's all smiles and already working the cam-corder!







South of town, we rolled left and headed off towards Misty Fjords. A shot of the snowy mountain tops of the Monument in the distance...







L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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  #110  
Old June 12th, 2013, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by WalleyeLJ View Post

A couple minutes later, Bev, myself and 4 folks from Oklahoma City - a mom and three teenage girls - were buckled in and ready to taxi down the runway/waterway and head into Misty Fjords!



L.J.
So how does a passenger get into the plane ? I have a 4 year old and a 8 year old and am a bit nervous about getting them on and off the plane.
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  #111  
Old June 13th, 2013, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by WalleyeLJ View Post
I had discussed with Michelle before takeoff that I was a photographer and wanted to know what her thoughts were on the best place to take photos from. She said the far back rear seat & window were best, but alas, I was too heavy (!!!) and would have to sit up front - in the co-pilot's seat!!! So, the great thing about that was that I got to see everything coming during the trip, whereas everyone else had to wait until it reached the side windows. It also allowed me to look for other planes and lost Canada Geese that might stray into our path. On the other hand, since I'm a large person, I often had the flight yoke poking me in the stomach - and sometimes it got rather frisky! I want to be clear that for anyone smaller than me, I doubt it would be an issue and the view was FANTASTIC! Despite the look on her face right before we took off, Bev said afterwards that she felt totally safe with me up front. L.J.
After seeing you say this I'm not so sure my hubby would like being in the "front seat" as I'm sure he'll be the heaviest of the bunch, he's one of those that doesn't like heights either. Any suggestions for him LJ?
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  #112  
Old June 13th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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More great advise from the ALaska picture god.. Thank you. for the soft info lol. I am going to toy around with some weather stripping an see if that will work. Less than 2 weeks for me I am bringing enough memory to take 40k in pics . Hope I have enough
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  #113  
Old June 13th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Great job! I've been to Seattle a hundred times but still could not get enough of your review. Looking forward to more . . . . HURRY!
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  #114  
Old June 16th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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Checking in to catch up on this thread. We just returned from our month long adventure in Alaska. Our Misty Fjords Flight with Michelle was a highlight. Not much luck with bear viewing, but we'll plan our trip timing better next time.

Loving all your photos!
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  #115  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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You often hear about people going someplace to vacation or work and deciding to never leave. Michelle was the first case of ever meeting someone that had that happen. She told us she came to Ketchikan for a summer job and fell so in love with the place that she decided she needed to live there. Since no roads lead to Ketchikan, flying became a great way to see Alaska and have steady employment. While tourism is steady in the summer season, other types of flights help cover the rest of the year shuttling employees, supplies, etc. While visiting Alaska I've dreamed of the same thing, but I can't think of ever actually having the gumption to actually act on it. In any case, it was clear Michelle really loved where she lived and loved showing it off.

As we continued away from Ketchikan and towards Misty Fjords, we passed over a lot of water, grasslands and swamps, and smaller hills/mountains that didn't have any snow left on them as we headed to the snowy ranges in the distance. Over the larger bodies of water we made a couple of turns looking for whales but didn't see any. One of the things we saw on the way in on Radiance was the clear-cut's on the hillsides around Ketchikan. Flying above it all, is was easy to see both how important the timbering industry was to Ketchikan economically, as well as how significant the impact was on the surrounding landscape in certain areas. It shows the conflict that can often be found in the Last Frontier - preservation versus utilization. In any case, it was all very cool to see. Here's a look at the landscape as we flew over the channels and waterways and lowland areas heading towards Misty Fjords.



A shot out Michelle's window of some of the logging areas, the placid waters around Ketchikan and the mountains in the distance







The view out my window and the always important wing!







One of the many waterfalls we saw spilling spring snow melt down the mountainsides. If you look at the giant conifers that were 100+ feet high, it gives you an idea of exactly how much water that is and how far it's falling just in the spot we could see







We were starting to enter the foothills of the Fjords - gone were the wide open waterways as the mountains and cliffs, carved over eons by glaciers thousands of feet think, the deep waters ways pinched between the towering landmasses







Here's another shot out Michelle's window as we began to reach the areas where the winter snows had not yet left, as the once distant horizon was now upon us







One of the highlights of the trip out - flying low over the vast wilderness, without ANY sign of the human hand anywhere in sight as far as the eye could see (save our plane of course) - was seeing the signs of bears and other animals traversing over the very tops. Check out the multiple tracks in the snow on the mountain top







L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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  #116  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:37 PM
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So how does a passenger get into the plane ? I have a 4 year old and a 8 year old and am a bit nervous about getting them on and off the plane.


narsibvl,

It's really not too bad. The struts that connect the pontoons to the wings have cross members on them that make a pyramid shaped ladder to climb up the couple of steps to get into the door to get into the plane itself. I didn't get a shot of any of us climbing in, but I did grab this shot just before we all boarded of Michelle getting into the pilot's seat. It'll give you an idea what it's like, and you can see the "ladder" leading up to the main passenger door. I hope that helps a little!







L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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  #117  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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After seeing you say this I'm not so sure my hubby would like being in the "front seat" as I'm sure he'll be the heaviest of the bunch, he's one of those that doesn't like heights either. Any suggestions for him LJ?
Well, I'll put this out there. For this particular trip, I weighed in around 264 lbs, 42-44 inch waist, 6'1" tall. You don't have to reveal your husband's #s, but at least you can compare them to mine and figure out how well he'll fit. I also made sure that they knew my weight when I booked the trip. Also, despite the occasional discomfort, I loved the location and would sit there again given the chance.

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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  #118  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:44 PM
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More great advise from the ALaska picture god.. Thank you. for the soft info lol. I am going to toy around with some weather stripping an see if that will work. Less than 2 weeks for me I am bringing enough memory to take 40k in pics . Hope I have enough
LOL - I brought something like 26 4-8GB memory cards and ended up shooting around 13,000 photos in 2 weeks (with a few days with poor weather or travel days where I didn't shoot alot).

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
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  #119  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:48 PM
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Great job! I've been to Seattle a hundred times but still could not get enough of your review. Looking forward to more . . . . HURRY!
Sorry - work, workouts, a softball tournament, Father's Day & Superman have gotten in the way the last fews days. I'm trying to get back in the groove before we leave for San Francisco for a week next Friday!

L.J.
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2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
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  #120  
Old June 18th, 2013, 09:50 PM
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WalleyeLJ WalleyeLJ is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazzah View Post
Checking in to catch up on this thread. We just returned from our month long adventure in Alaska. Our Misty Fjords Flight with Michelle was a highlight. Not much luck with bear viewing, but we'll plan our trip timing better next time.

Loving all your photos!
Shazzah,

How was your weather? Was it mostly sunny and stunning or socked in annd mystical? Sorry about the bears - we had much better luck with bears (up close) in July than we did in May.

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!
2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern
2010 March Carnival Dream - Western
2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!
2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern
2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern
2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western
2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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