Posted July 20th, 2004, 04:42 PM
I think we had an amazing weather week. Sunday (sea day) was terrible; rainy, cold, and the sea was rough. Our three port days were incredible: low seventies maybe even eighty. The forest fires however made the visibility very hazy. I would love to go back just to REALLY see what it is like. BUT, nothing will measure up to this past experience. Maybe a land/sea tour. Or a one way not round trip. The only times I was cold was up on the glacier (the crazy woman that took us to the helicopter said it was only 10 degrees colder so I left a lot of my layers behind!!), and when the ship was going through the ice and up to the glacier. But I had on earmuffs, gloves, jeans, wind pants, a sweater, fleece jacket, and my Goretex raincoat. AND...Maxi served us hot French onion soup on the balcony while we snapped photos and cried out of sheer amazement.I NEVER wanted to go to AK. I am a warm weather nut. I only said yes because it was my daughter. We don't spend a lot of time together and I knew this would be special. God truly blessed our experience. In Juneau, while at the pier, I walked out on our balcony and a bald eagle was perched on a piling. He proceeded to put on a show of diving, retrieving a fish, flying back to his piling...this went on for several hours. Bald eagles are very common in AK but to have your "own" was special. On our whale watching excursion we had two whales breach (which is NOT common). I had seen this in Hawaii, but my daughter had not. The Misty Fiords Island Wings seaplane...wow, wow, wow. Michelle is an amazing pilot; landing in a glacier pool high in the mountains; all I can say is...incredible. We saw mountain goats and more eagles. The highlight of course was the helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway. My breath was taken away so many times. A very "religious" helicopter ride..regardless of your faith. My daughter begged me to do this as I had no desire to be in a helicopter (went to Hawaii 5 times and NEVER got on one) or on a dogsled. AND...VERY EXPENSIVE. I can now say it was worth every penny. I won't repeat my comments on the White Pass Railway. They are posted on the Alaska board.
Many people have asked about what to pack.
I took NO formal wear (never missed it), one black pants suit, 2 pair of jeans, 3 pair of cropped pants, two sweaters, lots of long sleeved tees, several short sleeved shirts, a pair of shorts, Gortex tennis shoes and rainjacket, and several fleece items. Binoculars ARE A MUST. They became a part of us. Also sunglasses of course. Sunscreen...believe it or not. I wore everything with the exception of a few tees and my bathing suit. Many people went in the hot tub and for some reason the days we were in port....THE POOL WAS CLOSED. Maybe, in all fairness I could have gone at the wrong times. I would say to you....don't miss it going to Alaska. Go prepared for rain and if it doesn't...at least you won't be miserable! Go expecting cold and if it isn't, relish the sun.
Take time to develop new friendships. Our time was so enhanced by new relationships. Our trip would never have been the same without them. We spent many an enjoyable hour sharing the day's adventures, having a bottle of wine, and commenting on the passing scenery with people who had been strangers the week before.
My life has been greatly enriched by realizing my expections were so limited, my horizons so low, and that I have much to learn and see
I can only envy all of you whose trip to Alaska is yet to come...
NCL: Majesty, Sun, Spirit, and Dawn
HAL: Oosterdam, Rotterdam, and Westerdam
CELEBRITY: Millennium, Horizon, and Century
PRINCESS: Crown, Sea, and Caribbean