Ok, here is the second half of my very wordy report....followed by the second photobook... I wrote this really fast so please forgive any mistakes..
We met our guide, Nathan and our two hiking companions. We were given a helmet, crampons, snacks, 2 hiking poles and a backpack with a “bladder” full of water for our 5 hour hike. We knew from our research that this was going to be a tough hike for us. We had started doing a 4 mile semi-tough hike in our area 5 days a week for 3 months prior to our trip in preparation. We didn’t want to be the “old ladies” that held everyone else back! We were definitely nervous for this hike, but excited too!
When everyone was ready, we loaded up in the company shuttle, which runs on used vegetable oil, and went the short distance to Exit Glacier. Everyone made one last “potty break” before we got started. We headed out single file along the trail. It was a very pretty hike and we were told if anyone needed to stop for a break, just let Nathan know. I DID NOT want to have to ask to stop! We did some uphill climbing and rock scrambling, and the hiking poles came in very handy! We passed Marmot Meadow which was gorgeous! The views of the glacier were breathtaking with the wildflowers in front! It was tough so far but we managed to keep up. Nathan said in order to give us more time on the glacier, wait until we were on our way back to take pictures. I couldn’t help myself and tried to take my pictures while continuing to hike so Nathan wouldn’t know! ( I know, BAD! ) I wanted to be able to capture what we were doing in pictures! The last push up to the glacier access point was tough, but when we got there, we took a break and “geared-up” to walk on the glacier. It was a VERY warm day, so being close to the glacier to cool us off felt great! We had a quick snack then proceeded to the glacier!
We spent about an hour ON the glacier. Nathan showed us many interesting areas including a small glacial lake. Granted it wasn’t close to the size of the one we saw on Matanuska, but it was very pretty in it’s own right! We went to the face and took pictures of the valley below. That was a nice view. The ice was very different from the ice on Matanuska also. This ice was very “crunchy”. We had a fun time with our group checking out Exit Glacier, then it was time to head back down.
The journey back down was much easier, obviously! I still was taking pictures as we went! At one point we spotted a black bear eating leaves in a nearby tree. Then later we came upon another one next to our trail. Nathan urged us to just keep moving along. Since I was in the back of our group, I managed to get a picture ( glimpse )of that bear as it started to cross the trail behind us. Nathan kept in contact with the “office” and let them know we were on time for our pick-up. We were back down just after 5pm.
When back at the office, we dropped our gear and quickly headed over to Enterprise to get our car rental before they closed. Then we went back to the Exit Glacier Guides office to relax and socialize with our group about our great hike. They provided us with a choice of Alaskan beer too! We bought a couple of T-shirts for a souvenir of a job well done! We gathered our luggage that they held for us, loaded up our car and picked up Subway sandwiches before heading out to the Alaska Saltwater Lodge, our home for the next 2 nights.
We drove across the bridge and down the gravel road and found the Saltwater Lodge. When we got there, we found a message board with everyone’s name on it and what room you were in. We had the “North” room which was the first room on the second floor. Getting our luggage up there was comical, but the view was awesome of Resurrection Bay! We were really tired from our long, but amazing day, so we sat at the little table by our window and ate our sandwiches, then settled in for the night.
July 7th we were up early again, our usual pattern for the trip! We headed downstairs to the eating area for the included breakfast at Saltwater Lodge. They had muffins and toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit cut up in individual bowls, coffee, etc. It was perfect for us. We sat by the window and had a great view to eat our breakfast by!
We hopped in our car and headed back into Seward to take the 9 hour Kenai Fjords Northwestern boat trip. The line had already started forming so my friend went and parked the car while I stood in line. They started boarding before she got back, so I went out on the bow to wait for her and to secure our seats. We enjoyed being out out on the bow so much on our Prince William Sound boat trip, that we wanted to sit out there again. This time there was no seating at the “point” but we sat in the first row of benches on the front. It was COLD, but it’s where we wanted to be! The scenery was amazing and we saw lots of wildlife. There were lots of different birds and there must have been some “birders” onboard because the captain kept pointing out certain ones for people to check off their list. There were sea lions in several areas and we got close enough to see that some of them were “branded” with numbers. We also saw the 2 different kinds of puffins both in the water on perched on the cliffs. There were more otters here too. We saw humpback whales, but no orcas, which we were hoping to see. They served a Chicken Caesar Wrap for lunch and it was very tasty. We made it to the Northwestern Glacier which did some calving while we were there. Nothing huge, but nice. Overall it was another great day!!!
Once back in Seward, we looked for a place to eat. We ended up down close to the Sea Life Center at a little mom-and-pop type place where we sat at a bar facing the sidewalk and watched the people go by. It was good food. and hit the spot.
Back at the Saltwater Lodge, we met some people from our Cruise Critic “Roll Call”, Bill, Dawn and Donna from Idaho, who were staying there too. They were great people and we met up with them again later onboard our ship. We had to pack up again to board the ship the next day. We were supposed to go kayaking in the morning at 7am at Miller’s Landing next door, but decided we wanted to relax a little and sleep in if possible, so we decided to not go and just lose the $ we paid for it. We called and let Miller's Landing know we wouldn't be there in the morning, then it was off to bed.
July 8th, we didn’t set our alarm, but were still up early. =(. We decided to enjoy a walk around the shore of the bay. That was just what the Dr. ordered. It felt wonderful to just relax for the morning, but we were a little bummed that we were going to miss out on the kayaking. We went to the eating area and enjoyed another breakfast. We were loaded up and ready to head out around 10:30am.
We headed to the port to drop off our luggage at the Celebrity Millennium. They were just opening up the luggage drop off when we got there so we dropped it off, along with our case of water, and parked our car. We were also the first ones to check-in on the ship. We had the terminal to ourselves, then after we got onboard and had our glass of Mimosas, we had the ship all to ourselves. We walked around and took pictures of the ship while there was no one else onboard to get in the pictures! Our room wasn’t ready yet, which was no surprise since we were onboard so early, but we were able to make our reservations for the Specialty Restaurant then have a quick lunch before we headed back off the ship for our dog sledding adventure.
We got our car and drove to the Seward Airport and found our helicopter tour. We had purchased Groupons and got the dog sledding for half price, which was a substantial savings for us!!! We were given special boots to wear then we were loaded into the helicopter and flown to Godwin Glacier. It was a quick, smooth flight with nice scenery out the windows! When we landed, there we other people ahead of us for the dog sledding, so we played with the puppies for a while. It was getting very foggy! Finally it was our turn!
We were taken over by the kennels and our “driver” changed out some of the dogs and told us about them. Of course the dogs were all barking as if to say “Pick Me!” The fog was starting to let up as we got ready to go. My friend sat in the front and the driver was next and then I stood on the back. It was fun, but we didn’t go very fast. About half way around, we stopped and changed spots so I was now sitting down. We started again, but still didn’t go very fast. That was ok, but I was expecting a faster ride. It was still fun!
When we were done, we waited for the helicopter to return as the fog rolled in again. We started to wonder if it was too foggy to fly and if we were going to be able to get back off the glacier soon. We did have a ship to catch! LOL! We waited a while and finally the helicopter returned and we flew back to Seward. We returned our car rental and they took us to the ship around 3:30pm.
We were able to check out our stateroom for the first time. A couple of weeks before we left, we were able to change cabins from our Concierge Class aft cabin to a FOV cabin usually held for families of 5. It was awesome. It was 8166 on the starboard aft corner. The veranda had view of the wake as well as the starboard side and was HUGE! Our cabin had an entry door in the hallway that had a doorbell, then a private hallway to another entry door with another doorbell. Then our room had a sleeping area, a sliding divider to a sitting area with 2 fold-out couches and each room had a TV. We had way more storage area than we could use! Our luggage was all there, so we unpacked. Then we enjoyed our veranda and relaxed before we went to dinner.
We had the Celebrity Select Dining so we were able to go to dinner whenever we wanted to eat. We thought it would be great on a port extensive itinerary like this one! The first night we sat at a large table with other people. Everyone was nice. I had Shrimp Cocktail, French Onion Soup, an Endive Salad, and very good Prime Rib, with yummy Crème Puffs for dessert. A very enjoyable dinner! We then donated some cash to the casino and watched the 11pm sunset. The sunset lasted a long time. We started enjoying it out on deck then went back to our veranda to finish watching it. Really nice! It was after midnite before we went to bed.
July 9th we didn’t set our alarms again, but were still up by 6:30am. We were able to order the Concierge Class breakfast since we had nicely asked our room steward if we could. We enjoyed our first breakfast on our veranda! Awesome! We were in the shower by 8am and walking around by 9:15am. We had received our invitations for our Cruise Critic Party and went to meet everyone at 9:45am. We were served champagne, mimosas, juice, coffee, tea and pastries. It was very nice. We sat with Bill and Dawn, that we met at the Saltwater Lodge and their friends, Dave and Chris. The Cruise Director, Ian, hosted the gathering and other officers were there including the Hotel Director who said we would all be receiving invitations for a Bridge Tour. We were very excited with that, but it ended up that it was scheduled for when we were in Juneau and we weren’t able to go. We were told that the casino would arrange a Slot Pull for us, but that never happened. Denise, from our group, was organizing a Cabin Crawl to happen on the day we were in the Inside Passage. We volunteered our cabin!
We headed back to our room before lunch. We went to the Pasta Station for lunch and it was pretty crowded. The food was good and we were able to get a seat by the windows. I think everyone had the same idea to eat before we started into Disenchantment Bay. We headed toward Hubbard Glacier at 2pm and we were relaxing on our veranda by then. We had invited our new friends to join us when the ship turned around and we ( on the aft ) were facing the glacier. There was a lot of ice in the water and we didn’t get as close as I had been before. If I didn’t know better, I still would have been happy with the view. We got some nice pictures and did a funny picture of us wearing tank tops with the glacier in the background. Our friends came by and we ordered cheese and crackers and coffee to enjoy from room service. We relaxed the rest of the day before we headed to dinner. Tonite we just got a table for the 2 of us. Today was a nice relaxing day after our busy 7 days before we boarded the ship!
July 10th we docked in Juneau. We had breakfast at the buffet then got off the ship to begin our day. We walked to Rent-A-Wreck to get our car rental. The walk was a bit of a jaunt for some people and there weren’t sidewalks for a lot of the walk. We were ok with it, but anyone with mobility issues might want to get a cab unless they are at the AJ dock, which is fairly close.
RAW is just a little shack, but the woman working it is very nice. She gave us a convertible since the weather was so nice. We’ve had convertibles in Hawaii, but never expected to be driving one in Alaska! It was an older Mustang, but everything worked fine and we enjoyed the fresh air! We did get some strange looks though.
We headed to Mendenhall to start our exploring. We parked in a lot not right at the Visitor’s Center. We didn’t go toward the sidewalk leading to the Visitor’s Center, but toward the back of the parking lot to a trail that led us to a magnificent photo op spot. There was a mirror-like pond with the glacier in the background. Beautiful!!! We continued on the trail and ended up at a beach across Mendenhall Lake from the glacier. We were the only ones there. We walked around, crossed salmon filled creeks, got our feet wet, played with ice in the water, took lots of pictures, saw bear paw prints in the mud, etc. We then found the Moraine Ecology Trail and followed that thru beautiful green, wooded areas. When we were done with our hike, we went over to the “touristy” area and walked to the waterfall. It was a very easy walk. There were lots of large icebergs in the water and it was very pretty. Some kayakers were paddling around the large icebergs and you could really see just how big the icebergs were! There were 2 young boys and their dog playing in the water. A little too cold for me! We took more pictures then when a bus offloaded a bunch of people, we left. We spent about 4 hours total there.
On our way out, we saw a bear cub cross the street, but we weren’t quick enough to get a picture of it. We grabbed some lunch and took it to Brotherhood Meadow to eat. I had seen pictures of Brotherhood Meadow with the Fireweed in bloom and Mendenhall in the background and it was gorgeous. When we got there, it was pretty, but the Fireweed wasn’t in full bloom yet. So we ate our lunch and moved on.
We drove out to the Shrine of St. Therese. It was a beautiful area, but we only walked the Rosary Path. We never made to the part of the area that had the Shrine. Not sure how we managed that! We continued on to Eagle Beach. That was a pretty area with a river heading to the beach. We saw a young eagle on a branch at the river. The beach wasn’t close and although we walked thru some pretty meadow areas, we never made it to the beach. We saw a large salmon in a shallow part of the river. The surroundings were beautiful with mountains all around. We may have been here an hour before we decided to move on and head back to go to Douglas Island. We crossed the bridge to Douglas Island and drove for a while and it looked all residential so we turned around. I know we missed something! We did see the “SKI” wall on the front of a house. That was unique! We stopped and took pictures of the ship from across the canal then filled up the car with gas and returned it.
We walked back to the ship and changed clothes then headed out again on foot. We walked around and went to the Red Dog for a beer. We walked around a little more then headed back to get ready for dinner.
It was a quiet night. We had dinner then enjoyed the view from our veranda as we pulled away from Juneau.
July 11th we were in Skagway. We were really looking forward to this day!!! We got up early, had breakfast, and were walking off the ship by 7:15am. We walked to AVIS, a 10 minute walk, to get our rental car. We were the only ones in line and since we were there early, we had to wait. They opened about 8:10am. We got our car from their lot down the street, and headed toward the Yukon. We were using Murray’s Guide which is a must-do. We made our first stop quickly at the Gold Rush Cemetery. You have to be looking for the sign, it’s very quick as you leave town. The cemetery was very interesting and looked like it belonged at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. A tour bus got there soon after we did, so we hurried up the trail to Lower Reid Falls to get our pictures and get out of there before the crowd hit. It was a nice area and it was a pretty waterfall. We left and stopped at the overlook spot which wasn’t very far away. It had a nice view of the port and of Skagway. We headed back to the Klondike Hwy and continued on our journey.
There was one stop, Black Lake, that you couldn’t see heading out, but we pulled over thanks to Murray, and I ran back across the street to take a picture. It was really pretty and worth the stop! As we drove on, we noticed that most of the lakes had a beautiful mirror-like appearance. We first thought we wanted to get to Emerald Lake and would stop for pictures on our way back. Well good thing we couldn’t stand to just drive by what we were seeing because on our way back, the lakes weren’t as glassy and mirror-like. We would have missed some beautiful pictures!
We made all the usual stops using Murray’s Guide, the Yukon sign, Tutshi Lake, Windy Arm, Bove Island, ETC. All of them we beautiful and well worth stopping! The scenery was spectacular! We saw some of the same people at a lot of our stops, but sometimes they would just drive by and miss what we were seeing. Overall, the road was almost empty of traffic. One interesting thing was a bridge that we crossed. Because of all the earthquake activity in the area, the bridge is only anchored on one side so that it can move freely with the earthquake movement. Coming from California, I found that interesting!
We made one unscheduled stop when we saw a young black bear eating grasses on the other side of the road. We pulled over and I jumped out to take pictures. ( I stayed behind our car so I was safe ). A tour bus pulled over behind us and soon the bear decided to cross the road toward us so I jumped back in the car and we took off. The bear ended up turning around and going back to the other side of the road.
We stopped at Carcross and walked around. We did some shopping at the General Store and got our Passports stamped. We weren’t there more than 30-45 minutes before we moved on to the tiny Carcross Desert. That was a fun, but quick stop. Very interesting.
We finally made it to Emerald Lake. OMG! It is spectacular. The green varied colors of the lake with the mirrored images of the blue sky and white clouds…..WOW! It was our destination for the day and it was one amazing sight. It was not very big, but it was beautiful!!!
By now we were ready for lunch. We stopped at the Spirit Lodge and it had a tour group finishing up their lunch. We sat at a table but never got any service so after 20 minutes or so, we left. We ended up at Caribou Crossing. All the tour busses were done, so we had the place to ourselves. We got sandwiches made on homemade bread that were really good. We got ice cream cones for the road and headed out again.
We made a few stops on the way back, but not too many. The views were different going this direction so it was fun seeing the same things but from a different perspective. Again, we were happy that we had taken our pictures on our way out instead of on our way back!
We crossed back in Alaska and the agent was not very friendly. Since there weren’t any other cars, it didn’t take very long, but the guy definitely took his job serious ( which is a good thing ). We saw the White Pass train heading back to Skagway also and took pictures of it crossing a bridge over a waterfall.
When we got back to town, we parked our car and did some shopping. Since my mother-in-law was doing me a tremendous favor by helping to take care of my special needs son so that I could go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, I wanted to get her something special. She likes to knit, so I was looking for some Quivit yarn ( made from Musk Ox hair ) for her. I found it in a small shop here. It was about $75 for a small skein, or about $58 for a skein of blended yarn. I was very excited to find it and the salesperson helped me pick out the perfect gift. When we were done with all our shopping, we loaded all of our bags in the car and filled up the car with gas and then returned it to AVIS. We walked across the street and took the $2 shuttle back to the ship.
This was a fabulous day and it was all we thought it would be!!
I don’t remember what we did for dinner, or later that evening…sorry.
Day 12 we were in Icy Strait Point. We got up early, like usual and had room service breakfast. We went downstairs and were able to get on the first tender heading to shore. Nothing was open yet, so we just walked around a little before heading out the gate to meet up with our Teckk Outfitters Bear Search. We met our guide Bob ( we called him Bearman Bob) and there were 5 other people on the tour with us. We were able to use a 2-for-1 coupon here too so it was $65 for each of us. We were driven in a large van out of town and into the woods. The road were were on was VERY bumpy! The bushes were scrapping the sides of the van. We stopped at an overlook and got out. Bearman Bob had his trusty rifle draped across his back every time he got out of the van, JUST INCASE! The overlook was pretty and Bearman Bob was looking thru his binoculars for any bears down below ( below us is the area where the ship tours go ). Nope, no bears there, so we go somewhere else.
As we cross a bridge, Bearman Bob spots a brown bear, so he pulls over and we all get out. We stand on the bridge and watch the bear in the river below. It crosses the shallow river and moves on. Other tour groups see us and pull over too, but I don’t think they got out in time to see the bear. Bearman Bob said that today is the first day he is seeing salmon in that river, a good sign. Several times during the tour, we pass other groups and Bearman Bob tells their guide about the salmon in the river. At one spot that we stop at on another bumpy dirt road, Bearman Bob gets out and tells us to wait for him in the van. He was gone a while and we finally see him hurrying back and he falls down. He said that there was a big male brown bear on the trail with his sow and he wouldn’t move so that we could get by to see the bears in that river. He looked a little shaken. We not sure what REALLY happened on that trail. We continue on to other areas but never see any more bears. We saw a lot of the island, which was really pretty, but would have liked to have seen more bears. Overall it was fun anyway.
We stopped by the Teckk Outfitters office so that we could all pay our balances due. There was a medicine woman selling her wares next door along with someone selling fried sourdough bread. We bought some of the tasty bread to eat as we walked back to the ship. They would have driven us back, but we chose to walk. We enjoyed the views as we walked. We stopped and watched the zip liners go over our heads then walked along the beach before taking a tender back to the ship.
We had lunch then sat out on our veranda looking for whales. We couldn’t believe that we didn’t even see one whale! The Celebrity Century soon joined us in the harbor and anchored by us. They started tendering and then soon after we were leaving.
We had reservations at the Olympic Specialty Restaurant tonite. It is a beautiful place with wood salvaged from the RMS Olympic, the sister ship to the Titanic. I had heard about the Goat Cheese Soufflé and since I am not a very adventurous eater, I was skeptical to try it. But I did and I am glad I did. It was wonderful! The food and the service were both outstanding. My friend said her filet was the best steak she has ever had! It was a very nice evening!
July 13th we were in Ketchikan. We had reservations with Island Wings for a Misty Fjords flight and we also had reservations for a car rental. We were hoping to get the car before we met up with Island Wings so we could head out right when we were done with our flight, but because the car rental office wasn’t close to the dock, we didn’t have time. We were picked up by the Island Wings van and driven to the dock office. We left our non-essential things in the office and watched as Michelle and her floatplane landed.
After the first group got out and the plane was refueled, we loaded in. I was given the backseat, which turned out to be great for picture taking. I had access to windows on both sides of the plane so I could see everything! The flight took us over some beautiful areas. Michelle was great and was pointing everything out both sides of the plane. It was cool how close we could get to some of the steep granite cliffs and snow-covered mountains. The frozen lakes below and the blues and greens of the scenery below were beautiful! Michelle landed smoothly on an isolated lake and we were able to get out and enjoy the serenity of the wondrous location. She took pictures for all of us then it was time to load up and take off again. The take-offs and landings of the floatplanes were so smooth, you hardly knew when you were in the air or on the water. On our return flight, Michelle took a different route and we saw mountain goats on a couple of different hillsides. She was very good about trying to make sure everyone got see. We flew over the port so people could take pictures of their ships, then she made another smooth landing. It was another amazing adventure for us!
Then Shona of Island Wings was kind enough to drop us off at the car rental office when we were done. There was construction going on in that part of the town, so the traffic was bad getting in and out of the car rental place. But we got our little car and we were off again. We loved having the freedom to do what we wanted and see what we wanted to see.
First we took off in search of Ward Lake. We took a wrong turn and ended up at Frog Pond Trail. There was a pretty little pond here so it was a good stop. I saw a HUGE white slug here. We continued on until we found Ward Lake. It was pretty, but all really did here was to get out and take a picture before we took off for our next stop. We probably should have at least take a walk around the pretty lake.
We made our next stop at Totem Bight. It was a nice place, and we were the only people walking around there. The totems were interesting and the view of the water was nice! Since this port stop was a really long one, we headed out again.
We headed out back to where we came from to go out to the end of the road in the other direction from Ketchikan. We made a couple of stops again along the way. We ended on a gravel road and found the waterfall. It was nice, but since this is day 13 of our trip, we have seen a lot of much prettier waterfalls already. But it was still nice. On our way back, we saw a lot of people stopped by a bridge, so we got out to see what they were looking at ( we were hoping it was a bear fishing in the river ! ). There was a lot of salmon in the river, but no bear. We got back in the car and went exploring off the beaten path. After having some fun, we headed back to town and parked by Creek Street and got out and did some shopping.
It was time to turn the car in, so we gassed up the car and returned it. The young man at the rental place took us back to the ship, and we held on as he drove ! We were glad to get back in one piece!
It was my friend’s birthday, so we celebrated at our last Formal Dinner. She was afraid I’d make a fuss, but I was good since I wouldn’t want a fuss made for me! We had a nice dinner, then visited the casino, but her birthday didn’t bring us any luck! We finished off her day with a relaxing dip in the T-Pool. That was awesome! It was another great day in Alaska!
July 14th was our last full day, and we were cruising the Inside Passage. It was really foggy so we weren’t able to enjoy it as much as if it were sunny. But the hovering low clouds made for some interesting pictures. We hung out on our veranda until it was time for our Cabin Crawl and Poker Run. We started with an inside cabin, then an inside handicapped accessible which was great for those who need that! Then we saw a regular veranda cabin followed by our cabin and we ended in a suite. The butler served us champagne and we had cheese and crackers. Some of the officers joined us for our party. Everyone seems to have a good time! We then went to the afternoon brunch as a group and enjoyed finding out more about each other. There were several instances of “ Wow, what a small world” with our group so that was fun!
We then went back for the dreaded packing to go home. We started with so much stuff ( 100lbs each-and we really did use almost everything we brought ) and then we bought things to take home, so we were having trouble staying under the 50lb weight limit for our suitcases. We went to the front desk and borrowed a luggage scale and had to move things around from one suitcase to another and ended up having to leave some things behind. We then just relaxed for the last day on our wonderful veranda!
We didn’t even want to take time out of our relaxing to go to dinner, so we just ordered room service. We wanted to spend as much time as we could outside enjoying our last glimpses of Alaska. This trip was more about Alaska than it was about the cruise for us. And that is so hard for me to believe because I LOVE cruises and this trip started out just being a cruise, then evolved into a weeklong adventure first, then a cruise.
July 15th was a sad morning. I hated that all that I had dreamed about and spent years planning was coming to an end. We had an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We both will go to Alaska again, but it will never be the same for us. I am truly grateful that I was able to experience all I did and that we had such wonderful weather the entire trip ( even driving a convertible wearing tank tops! ) There are a few things that I would do differently in hind sight, but overall, it was amazing!
We had a slight issue upon disembarkation with our luggage due to a mix-up by Celebrity, but it all ended up ok thanks to an alert Vancouver Port employee. Then we had about an hour wait on the Celebrity Transfer bus before it left for the airport, which could have been as issue for some. Our flight home was the worst part, compounded by the fact that our trip was over. It was a fantastic trip and I hope everyone else gets to enjoy the splendor and beauty of Alaska as much as we did.
So, if I could make any recommendations…bug spray. We encountered mosquitoes most places when we were outside of the cities. We also started taking vitamin B1 2 weeks before we left and although we saw swarms of the pesky bugs, we survived without bites. We also packed the individual “wipes” into our backpacks to take with us everywhere, and we did use them!
We didn’t do many “ship” things, so I can’t offer much help with that, but if anyone has any questions about anything we did, I’ll try to answer them.
And the pictures to go with this part of the story....