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Carnival Legend Alaska Glacier Bay, Aug 15-22, '17 A Trip To Be or Not To Be Eclipsed

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The first glacier we encountered was beautiful Lamplugh Glacier




























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The next glacier on deck (see what I did there) was Johns Hopkins

















The scenery in the inlet was beautiful as well.




















There were a couple of bear sightings announced. I saw one that was on a beach, but it was really far away and I had the wrong lens on to get a picture.





Continued in Next Post

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The headliner of the day was the Margerie Glacier.



We were in front of the glacier for about an hour and the ship rotated 360 degrees so all sides of the ship could have a view.


There was quite a bit of calving (pieces of the glacier breaking off and falling into the sea). You would see the ice falling before you heard the dramatic, deafening crash.


















I spent most of the time on deck in the open air while we were at Margerie glacier, but the rest of my family went to the covered Lido Deck (9) because it was uncomfortably cold.



Thinking ahead to my 2017 Christmas card, I had hoped to get a family photo in front of the glacier, but they weren’t interested in joining me. I did drag Mark back up for a few minutes and I asked a fellow guest to take our picture.






My son Ben showed us an awesome video he filmed while we were at Margerie glacier, he had zoomed in while it was calving, but somehow he lost the clip before he had the chance to send it to me. I am so bummed!



After leaving the glacier, we were told we would have the opportunity to spot some wildlife as we were leaving Glacier Bay, around 2 pm.



For the next hour or so, we were travelling through some pretty heavy fog and the visibility was horrible. We didn’t think we would be able to see anything, but just as the mist cleared, the rangers announced that we were passing by some small islands covered in Stellar sea lions






I think we spent the rest of the day trying to warm up, we had dinner and then we rested up because we had an early excursion scheduled in Ketchikan. It was our favorite thing we did on the trip.



Next Up: Alaska Bear Adventure

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Alaska Bear Adventure





As mentioned previously, we chose the Alaska Bear Adventure through the ship provided by Taquan Air-



Alaska Bear Adventure:


Take part in this unique wildlife experience available only to a small number of visitors.


Take off by floatplane and enjoy a unique wildlife experience available only to a small number of visitors.


Listen to a narrative from your bush pilot as he takes you on an approximate 20 minute flight to a remote location in the Tongass National Forest noted for its salmon rich streams.


See where few forest locations in North America offer the wildlife viewing opportunities found here.


Land and be met by an Alaskan naturalist, and be driven one mile by van along a forest road to the head, a quarter-mile guided hike along the improved trail leads to a viewing platform overlooking a beautiful salmon spawning stream.


Watch for wildlife along the way as your guide identifies the rich variety of vegetation that flourishes in this rich rain-forest environment. In addition to black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, bald eagles, minks, and martens frequent the area. Wildlife sightings are frequent; however, they cannot be guaranteed.


Look down from a viewing platform on to fast moving rapids, an area where black bears gather to feed on runs of pink, coho and chum salmon, as they head upstream to spawn. See bald eagles perched in the surrounding trees waiting for the fish scraps left by the bears.





At $380 per person, this was a pricey, but priceless tour.



We met the bus that would take us to Taquan air at 7:30. After a short ride, we arrived and received a flight briefing. We were going on the tour with another couple. She had a huge camera and lens and informed the pilot it was 23 pounds because the seating was based on proper weight distribution. Nate was invited to ride in the copilot seat.










It was overcast during the 20 minute ride to the pond






































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An eagle watched our arrival as we landed.












We met our guide/naturalist who drove us a short way to a trail. He told us we would be walking about 1/4 mile to the viewing site, along a path that was also used by the bears and was lined by skunk cabbage, one of their favorite snacks. We were instructed to walk 2 by 2, closely together and not to talk or stop. He would lead the way and if we encountered a bear, he would get between our group and the animal.



Works for me!


















Skunk cabbage that has been sampled by the bears- they tear out the plants and suck the roots.





Answering the age-old question:










Continued in Next Post

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We didn’t see any bears in the woods, but when we arrived at the platform that overlooks the salmon river, the forestry ranger gave us the thumbs up, indicating that the viewing was great.



And it was!





We spent around 45 minutes watching a half-dozen adult bears and a few cubs. There were a handful of people there when the 7 of us arrived, they left shortly thereafter.





It was fascinating!





Here are my guys at the platform, and a picture that shows how close we were to the river.


















Continued in Next Post

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Bears and Bears and Bears, OH MY!





Patient Bear:



He was sitting on the edge of the river, watching, waiting. Eventually he scored a fish.





















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Mama bear with cubs- we were told she had 4 cubs. We saw her with one at a time, and there was at least one cub sleeping in a nearby tree.



We watched her in the process of catching a fish, and then she came into the woods, just a few feet from our blind.

































Mama eating a fish up close

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There was some other wildlife we saw in the time we were there.



We spotted an eagle who flied to and from this branch.



















At the end of the tour, we walked back along the path. Same procedure. 2 by 2, no talking, huddled together.



We waited for the plane to arrive (with the next group of passengers).










The pilot asked Ben if he wanted to ride up front this time. Ben was being polite and declined. I think he wanted to give me the opportunity to take the copilot seat, but the other woman in our group piped up and said “I’ll do it!”





We flew back to the pilots interesting soundtrack- he told us, my plane, my music. I remember “Dead or Alive”, the next song referenced a plane crash, Rocky Mountain High was on the playlist.





We loved this tour!





Next Up: Total Eclipse of the Sun? at Sea and Victoria BC

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Those bear pictures are fantastic! What a great excursion. I'm glad you're continuing your review as I'm enjoying this. Someday I'll get to Alaska. :)


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Awww! Thanks.


I can't say enough about how amazing the bear excursion was. We booked it about a year ago and I was looking forward to it for months. It did not disappoint!


I definitely plan on finishing this report. It was a very busy fall for me- work, travel (a Disney cruise in September, then a Disney trip in October) and a busy work schedule.


Thanks for reading!

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Enjoying the review!!!! Alaska is definitely on our bucket list so I love reading about it!


Thanks for reading!


We are not a big cruising family, but it was a great way to experience Alaska for us.

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Monday August 21, 2017

Morning: Eclipse sunny.gif


Afternoon: Sailing along Vancouver Island


Evening: Victoria British Columbia, Canada

Today we would be at sea for most of the day, sailing along Vancouver Island, heading towards our stop in Victoria, British Columbia. We would be in port for a short time that evening, from 7:30 to 11:30 pm. Apparently, the cruise lines have to make at least one international stop on every cruise to be eligible for tax breaks.

About a month before the cruise, Nate asked “What are the dates of our cruise?” Turns out that we would be cruising off the coast of Vancouver Island during the August 21 solar eclipse, a few hundred miles from the path of totality. The event would be after breakfast, in the 10 am to 11 am timeframe. We were able to get eclipse glasses (from ebay, express shipping) under the wire a couple of days before leaving for Seattle. Phew!



That morning, the last full day of our trip, we woke to the sound of foghorn blast every 5 minutes or so and ZERO visibility…

I don’t have notes or pictures of what we did for breakfast. I think we did the brunch at sea. But maybe the morning buffet. Who knows?!?

We needed to be done by 9:15 because there was a lecture we wanted to attend.

“Whales Alive!” Learn about the fascinating habits and behaviors of humpbacks, orcas and other amazing marine mammals along the Pacific Northwest with our onboard Naturalist (Steve)”

The timing would be perfect since when it ended it would be time to go to see the eclipse (weather permitting)

We got to the theatre in plenty of time for the talk and waited.


And waited...


And waited...



And waited...

9:15 No Steve

9:30 No Steve

At some point, others who were waiting for the lecture headed out to find him. They were able to track him down. When he got on stage he gave some kind of lame excuse about the time change screwing him up. We set the clocks back that morning, so he should have been EARLY, not late.

Anyway, we stuck around for the abbreviated talk until around 10 am and then we left.

The Fun Times activities calendar listed a Solar Eclipse Gathering at 10 am “You’ve got the best seats on Earth for today’s solar eclipse aboard your cruise! Join us for a celestial viewing party complete with music and fun”


Continued in Next Post

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Continued from Previous Post

This is what the conditions were when we went out on deck. The extreme fog had cleared and the sun was in view!


There were a few families who had eclipse glasses, but most did not. Someone asked us if we purchased our glasses on board, and we had to tell them no. We shared glasses with others who did not have them.

Others just viewed with their naked eyes.


It was kind of awkward trying to photograph the eclipse using the glasses over our camera lenses, especially since it was so windy on the top decks.

Here is a shot without the glasses


And now, with the protective lenses:




Next Up: Afternoon at Sea- Thar She Blows!

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Great review!



Sent from my iPhone using Forums


Thank you for the kind comment. I have more to post, so stay tuned.



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Monday August 21, 2017

For the rest of the day, we would be sailing along Vancouver Island. Shortly after the eclipse was over, a weird fog formed off the coast. We were amazed at how low and thick and level the mist was.



Large birds were flying between land and the ship.


I didn’t get a great picture. Even close up, I’m not sure exactly what it is.


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We got food from the buffet for lunch. I got a Reuben sandwich from the grill- it was ok, not spectacular. I’m not sure what everyone else got. Probably a mix of items from the various stations.

From noon to 2:30 there was a Chocolate Extravaganza in the dining area, so we grabbed some dessert there.





We continued to sail along beautiful Vancouver Island. The fog had lifted and the coast was clear!



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We were hanging out, playing cards, when an announcement was made that we were traveling through an area where whale sightings were possible.

For the next hour, we saw a lot of whales in groups of 1 or 2, most a fair distance from the ship, but a couple were quite close. I didn’t have my DSLR/telephoto lens, so my pictures are from my point & shoot.





There are 3 whales in this picture- one had just gone underwater alongside a second whale. There is a blow off to the left as well.

Because we would be in port in Victoria starting at 7:30 that night, there were a lot of people waiting to get into the main dining room as soon as the doors opened at 5:30. Once again, the hostesses handed out pagers to everyone and once again, there was no warning to diners that tables were not ready until the pager lights up. So when the pagers all started making sounds simultaneously, everyone returned to the host station only to be told it was not time to be seated.

We were finally seated for dinner, which lasted close to 2 hours. Service was REALLY slow, worse than it had been all week. I think most people with My Time Dining were dining early tonight so they could go into Victoria.

Next Up: Victoria, BC Canada: Cheers to Nate, eh!

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Victoria, British Columbia

Cheers to Nate, Eh!

When our last supper was FINALLY over, we returned to our cabin to change and to watch our arrival into Victoria.





These birds must get fed a lot by cruise ship passengers because they flew right up to the balconies.



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We were just in port for a few hours. There were night tours of Butchart Gardens (which is represented in the Canada pavilion in EPCOT), but that was not my boys’ thing. Our plan was to get off the ship and walk to a bar or restaurant so Nate could order a drink- he had turned 19 the previous month, and that is the legal age in British Columbia.

Is that the legal age in all of Canada? I don't know.

We got off the ship and were welcomed to Canada



There were signs indicating walking paths- we could go into town (right) or we could walk towards the waterfront to some shops and restaurants.

Most people chose the route into town, but we made a left towards Fisherman's Wharf. There was one other family we could see heading that way.

Along the path, we passed some legit Canada geese:


When we got to Fisherman’s Wharf, we found that most of the shops and dining places had either closed, or were just quick takeout places. Not what we were looking for.

We continued down the road, through a park, to a hotel that housed The Blue Crab Seafood House.

Blue Crab Seafood House

I don’t think I have a picture, but the dining room had beautiful views overlooking the harbor.

We took a seat in the bar and ordered a couple of appetizers and drinks.

We got fried calamari and Ben ordered the clam chowder, which was A-MAY-ZING! Being from New England, I have had my share of chowda, and this was either the best or second best I have sampled. YUM!

Nate’s first legal drink was an Old Fashioned:

Bourbon whiskey, Angostura® bitters, water, sugar, maraschino cherry and orange.

According to Esquire magazine: A mighty fine drink it is: strong, square-jawed, with just enough civilization to keep you from hollerin' like a mountain-jack.

Mark got a Local Gin & Tonic: Phillips stump forest gin with Phillips mint cucumber tonic & fresh lime

I was intrigued by the local soft drink used to make Mark's drink, a cucumber and mint tonic, but it actually was not very good.




It was pretty dark when we were done eating, and I was kind of concerned because there were not many people out on the roads on the way back to our ship. I know we were probably safe, but I would have felt better with more tourists around.

But before long, we were back at the fenced-in port and popped into the (VERY) crowded gift shop. You couldn’t even move around in there, so we didn’t stick around.

Upon our return, we retired for our last night on board.

Next up: Disembarkation/Seattle

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