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Raina's Blogging Again. Live - Alaska to Sydney, Radiance PHOTOS!

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Hello all,

Here I am again, on another epic trip. This one is from Vancouver - Alaska - Hawaii - Sydney on Radiance. Aug- Sept 2018.

My last few blogs here had had big problems with photos not loading for some people and then disappearing after a few weeks. Too sad after the work it takes to get them there. Frustrating for us all and makes me look like a fool to you guys. So this time I am telling the story here with a main photo or two and hope you will look at the actual blog for the many photos.

 

I'll start with my caveat about the blog depending on wifi quality. About how yes, there will be typos and spellos. About how I tend to focus more on the ports then the ship. About how my trips are very eclectic - a mix of luxury and cheap etc.

I have created a new web site to save my blogs. And I want to stress that blog is probably not the correct word. Blogs these days are usually money making and are supported through businesses and so on with free things. I get no sponsorship or earn by hits on the blog. I normally write them so Dad - now 93 is able to follow along as aI travel. So if you are interested in this or any of the other trips they are all on RainaTravels.com.

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This trip is with dad? Andy who is now 93. I am so lucky to be able to travel with him like this but this is the perfect trip. One flight then onto our favourite ship - Radiance - with our favourite Concierge JD.

This blog is at Raina travels dot com slash Alaska-2018

There is a link in my signature.

I'm going to try to remember to put my works in this font so you can skim questions if you want.

 

SO HERE GOES

 

“Let’s go to Alaska” said Andy. “OK, great idea.” Andy would be 93 just before the trip and I also had a significant birthday. I would be officially old!

Planning began the day the first section came out for sale. Well three dates. First the Transpacific. Then Alaska b2b, then had to wait for the Hawaii leg. It came out weeks later… but yay.. got the same rooms, so it was then the long wait. For Andy we managed to get an accessible room, right near the hump of the ship for all four legs of the trip. I am down on deck 4, with a window. Both in great locations.

They say timing is everything.. and they were correct. I came back from the Global Odyssey trip from Singapore to Barcelona on Mariner. I had been back a few weeks, and was 10 weeks and 4 days from this trip - - and tangled my leg in a stool at a restaurant, fell and broke my leg. A long-ways, unstable, fracture of the fibular.

 

Four days in hospital then a surgery to pin and plate the bone and bolt the tendon back on.

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The next six weeks were totally non weight bearing - in a wheel chair. Then the four weeks to get from a wheelchair to walking well enough for the trip. Physio twice a week.

I was confident – Andy not so much!

But all was good, and on Tuesday 21st August 2018, two walking sticks in hand, we headed off.

Taxi pick up at 4.30 am, a flight to Sydney, then a flight to Vancouver with Air Canada. Luggage could not be through checked as we had different airline groups – sad. But Qantas were great in Sydney, and had two guys with wheelchairs, who whisked us to luggage claim, and a third to take the luggage. Unchecked luggage meant we couldn’t go on the transfer bus; inside the airport security and across the runway. Instead we had a taxi and the traffic was horrid. Took over 30 minutes, but we got there. I wrestled the luggage trolley to check in and YAY the hard part of the trip was over.

Air Canada were great and organised more wheelchairs. And let me tell you… going through immigration and security in wheelchairs is awesome! Past the long lines of people and away we went. We were parked in the lounge and had some bubbles, then our wheelchair ladies came back and took us to the plane.

The flight was lovely. Fantastic cabin staff and food. The business class flat beds were not the best I have been in …. but …. let’s not complain. We could have been at the back of the plane with our knees up around our ears. And the cabin staff were amazing!

Many movies and a few periods of light sleep/dosing we arrived in Vancouver.

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Andy travels like a boss now – able to watch movies, listen to music and move his seat up and down.

And time travel is lovely. Left Canberra at 6.30 am. Arrived in Vancouver at 7.30am. So a one hour flight?

We were then put into a golf cart and raced through the huge Vancouver airport. Right through to baggage claim where we got a porter and off into a taxi. Brilliant. The rest of the trip is going to be so easy now! 22 hours door to door.

Our hotel: L’Hermitage in Vancouver. We stayed here last time and it was great.

This time we were returning guests and the staff were amazing.

Of course we were hours too early to get our room at the hotel, but they gave us vouchers to go to the restaurant for coffee and comfy chairs. We managed to get an 11am booking at a nearby Thai Massage place. And it was good! Really good. So good we have booked again for turn around day when we are back in Vancouver!

The doorman was having trouble getting taxi to go to the massage, so the manager came out and organised one of the front staff to run us down in the hotel car. Very movie like.

Then back for a well earned sleep.

For dinner we went to a water front place called Cardero’s and wow. Built in the mariner; over the water, among the not so cheap boats. Beautiful. And the food….

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We started with a drink in the bar – very nautical. Boats and memorabilia all around. The place as booked out but our concierge was able to get us in and to the top of the ‘walk up wait list”. We were given an image of a nautical flag. Our flag was “YES”. When our table was ready a bell rang and our flag was run up the mast. Sadly they found us a table quickly, as it was the loveliest bar, with amazing views and great local drinks.

The cold seafood platter – a dozen oysters, clams, muscles, prawns, crab claws, and the best ever salmon and tuna. And a sunset.

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Our table was in prime position and the food was amazing. The whole dinner was amazing. So much glorious food – not just the platter. Wine and cocktails and $190.

As we flew in we thought it was a morning fog. But sadly Vancouver was covered in in Wildfire smoke. Many fires burning out in British Columbia. Seems much of the world in burning at the moment.

Taxis here are great. Airport to hotel was $55 – and a long trip. The restaurant to the hotel was $8.90. Massage to hotel was $6. Why would you drive!

So once again my Day 1 in Vancouver was magical!

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VANCOUVER - Stanley Park

Day 2

Wednesday 22nd August

After a sleep in I headed off on the Hop On Hop Off Bus.

Pick up was at the State Librabry, on the other side of our block. A great curved building. And off I went around Vancouver. Through Chinatown and onto the Gas Light district – Old Town. Great cobbled streets and the baskets of plants dripping in colour. The lights were all of the old style. It as the food district and lovely. Also home to the famous – or should I say – infamous Vancouver Steam Clock. According to the bus driver it is the most photographed thing in Canada!

According to the World Travel Awards, it is “pointless” and has been voted the World’s Worst Tourist Attraction for a Record 10th Year.

That in itself was enough reason to see it.

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Then past Canada Place, where the ships come in, the Olympic Cauldron, lots of lovely buildings including the headquarters of the artist who made the amazing glass flowers at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, and onto Stanley Park.

Stanley Park. A glorious place. THE MUST SEE PLACE IN VANCOUVER. Over 400 hectares of old growth rainforest. Some of the oldest trees in North America. It’s Vancouver’s playground and home to amazing animals including squirrels, beaver, racoons, skunks, and even Coyotes.

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The area was home to Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people. In 1986 the land was declared a government reserve and in 1888 Stanley Park was opened and evolved as a place of recreation, rather than following a grand plan.

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Deadman’s Island, at the edge of the Yacht club, was an important site to First Nations People, the became a quarantine station for smallpox. Now it is a naval base.

In 1894 the Nine O’clock gun was installed. Ship clocks were set by it. It is still fired at 9pm each day! In 1913, public cars were allowed in for Sunday drives.

In 1917 they commenced the sea wall. Its 8.8ks long and I walked at least 100 metres of it! (I have cycled around it before though).

In 1924 the first of the Message Poles (then known as Totem Poles) was erected.

2006 a massive cyclone ripped down 10,000 old growth trees.

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The park now has everything – Royal Yacht Club, sports ground, swimming beaches, aquarium, Tea House, views to the city, ocean and mountains, and the most amazing trees. It’s used in heaps of movies and TV shows – today ‘Supernatural’ was filming. The place is Spectacular.

I went for a wander down a track through some of the trees. Stunning and silent!

1937 was the opening of the Lions Gate Bridge. Built by the Guinness family (yep the beer ones) and later sold to the governemt, it was a major works program through the Great Depression – although it was bylaw stating "no Asiatic person shall be employed in or upon any part of the undertaking or other works." What! Apart from that, the Lions Gate bridge is one of the worlds truly spectacular bridges.

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In 1970 the “Girl in the wetsuit” was unveiled. A statue of a … girl in a wetsuit, based on the Copenhagen “Little Mermaid statue”. She sits on a rock about 10 metre from shore. She is regularly dressed up by members of the public – sports jumpers, Halloween costumes etc.

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VANCOUVER - City Tour

Day 2

Wednesday 22nd August

It was then through the city, past the very wealthy west side

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and onto Granville Island and the markets.

There was a guy playing Pan Flutes. I’m sure it was the same guy from when Sarah and I were here in 2010!

So much amazing food. The fruit and berries were amazing as was the salmon – fresh, smoked, jerky, candied and more. All the produce was sensational.Vancouver-Day-2-146-e1535929357695-768x1024.jpg

Then a visit to Granville Markets. Amazing. The guy playing Pan Flutes was there 9 years ago when I was here.

And the market were as good as I remembered.

Exhausted I made it back to the hotel. A quick sit down, then out to dinner with Michelle and Chip from the Mariner trip. This time to Lift Bar and Grill. The place was booked out until late, but Pablo the concierge at the hotel was able to weave his magic and get us a table at the time we wanted – on the top deck, next to the water.

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We sat there watching otter play, a seal popped its head up and boats. Huge boats, small boats, skulls.

As we were getting ready to order the waiter brought us a plate of amuse-bouche.

A starter to show off the chef’s skills. Sent to us by the hotel! Wow! That is pretty flash – I haven’t had that before! Thanks L’Hermitage!

The food was amazing. And I discovered a new sensation.

Mango and cilantro infused vodka (they make it themselves, infusing it for a week) with pimms, pineapple and lime juice and a sugar syrup. Fluffy on top and delicious.

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We watched otters, birds and the huge red sun sink into the smoke. Wonderful night.

Then we heard the 9 o’clock cannon. Very cool.

Another great day in Vancouver!

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Vancouver

Thursday 22nd August

Breakfast at this hotel is amazing. Fresh orange juice, good hot chocolate. Fantastic muesli made with fruit and nuts and great yogurt.

The hot food was all organic, local produce – eggs, salmon, sausage, bacon. Waffles, bagels, buns and so many pastries. Fruits berries and on and on.

I then headed off to the shops to get a few things. You know the socks they give you on the plane…. A homeless guy had a sign saying he needed shoes and socks! Glad I saved them for that purpose.

We then were picked up by Alison and Frank, that we met on the round Australia trip 2 years ago. They live in Tsawwassen, a village/outer suburb of Vancouver. It was about an hour drive out of the city and through great farming land.

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Tsawwassen is on a peninsular. The bottom part is cut off by the 49th parallel (the Canadian US border) leaving a tiny area of land owned by the USA at the bottom of their street. About four square kms. With a border crossing and all. How insane. Guess you need a passport if you live there and want to go shopping. Mind you, you can walk along the beach rather than go through the crossing.

They also have trouble with fishing licences. If you drift over the line you get booked for not having a US fishing licence.

Why didn’t they bend the line like they did around the islands? Apparently it’s strategic.

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But what a great afternoon we had. Their house sits on a gentle slope over the ocean; looking out at the ferry terminal and Vancouver Island. The house was renovated by the TV show “Love it or List it” where one of them wants to sell and one wants to stay. They have lived there for 27 years, and the place is gobsmackingly beautiful, so I don’t think it was a hard choice when you see what they did. Like a house from the movies. Amazing.

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We sat for hours chatting and looking out to sea. The smoke kept lifting and coming back down. Then ate an amazing salmon, caught that morning and great produce grown in the surrounding farmland – a corn only grown in this area “cookies and cream corn” and so sweet and juicy. Local champagne and beer. Awesome.

Yet another wonderful day in the magical city of Vancouver. I’ve now had 12 days here (over a few visits) and have loved every minute. And every mouthful of food has been delicious! What a magical place. And Tomorrow – Radiance of the Seas.

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An off we go. LEG 1.

Friday 23rd August -Vancouver

I started the day off with another massage. Lovely. Then back to the hotel and off to the ship. Boarding was easy. Very quick and straight through.

We dumped our gear in our rooms and then to the lounge to relax.

Andy’s room was amazing. It’s an accessible balcony, one cabin off the elevators. And he has it for all four legs. It is much bigger than a Junior Suite with a giant bathroom and giant deck. Emergency button by the bed and in the bathroom – and much to Andy’s delight a phone by the toilet. (I phoned JD from the toilet - just for fun).

Sail away is beautiful from Vancouver, and the smoke even lifted a bit to give us our first look at Gross Mt in four days. Many people cheered us on our way as we passed under the lovely Lions Gate Bridge.

 

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Met up with people I knew, and people I knew of, in the lounge after muster, then went to dinner at Samba Grill with JD. Excellent. Especially after JD taught us his trick of eating the salad bar then just telling them which of the seven meats you want. Ie the fillet and the lamb chops. So much better than trying to gorge through seven kinds of meat.

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Saturday 23rd August.

INSIDE PASSAGE ALASKA

Relaxing Sea Day with the Pinnacle Suites lunch. Lovely. Great food and drinks.

Some trivia and lounge time, then dinner at Giovanni’s. Great day.

Sunday 24th August.

Ketchikan

I was up at stupid o’clock to go out to the dock and book at bear tour. I got onto a 9 am flight so went back onto the ship and had breakfast.

Sadly, I was bumped to the 11am flight, so walked up to Fish Creek to see the salmon. Pretty stunning creek to have running through your town.

Ketchikan is right on the water. Houses were built at the water line so they built the town out on stilts for a road and dock etc.

The creek runs through the town with houses and businesses over it. It was full of salmon. The last few swimming up to spawn and the bodies of the dead floating down. Big fat birds just floating around watching them.

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My trip was a float plane trip out to Traitors Cove to see the black bears. The Cove is on the same island - Revillagigedo as Ketchikan, but there are no roads – float planes or boats. The whole area is in Tongass National Forrest and the flight over Tongass Narrows was great.

The flight in was lovely. Over so many island. You could see where the salmon where running by all the fishing boats. Commercial and recreation.

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The forest was amazing. The trees were so dense and ran right down to the water. Tongass National Forest. It’s 17 million acres and covers most of the land up the Inside Passage. This area has the biggest black bear population in the states.

But the area is in a terrible drought. Sometimes they go for four days without rain! But seriously it is very dry so many of the normal creeks are not getting fish and therefore no bears.

Float planes are so much fun. You just fly over a lake then drop down and land. So smooth. We unloaded onto a lovely dock and marched up the hill. Then into the van and drove off through the rain forest.

We stopped at a pretty lake for a look as black bear number one ran across the track.

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Then down a beautiful track through amazing forest. Back through the trees was a waterfall - with a large black bear fishing.

The old growth trees were great. Hundreds of years old. And massive.

But the mosses. Beautiful. And the lichens etc. Thick and lush and so soft!

This forest was amazing.

We walked down another lovely track to the creek and there were the bears. They came and went, some slept, some fished. Smaller ones would scurry away as bigger ones arrived. Amazing.

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We also had a lesson in bear scat.

Black bear poo – dark with berries and fish bones and smells like fish.

Grizzly bear poo – dark with berries and fish bones as well as ‘bear bells’, whistles, pieces of clothing and smells like pepper spray. Ba Boom!

The flight back was just as wonderful. We did a big circle over the edge of town past the “International Airport – We can fly you to anywhere in the world…as long as you go through Seattle”, and landed next to the ship. Like in the water next to the ship. That was very cool.

That night was the C&A do. Was the usual with great live music and drinks. Captain Trim talked for ages and was very good.

 

He talked about things like the fuel bill in Vancouver. When Royal says “fill her UP”, the tank will last two weeks and cost $1 million US.

On this trip we will be using $70,000 a day fuel and $57,000 a day for food.

Half the ship were C&A members with D – 109, D+ - 25, Pinnacle - 15.

There was also the usual spiel from the Next Cruise person, but one interesting fact was that they have strung a 100 day trip together on Explorer. It’s a 100 day ‘B9B’, going from Australia to Miami. No repeat ports!

Amazing day.

***** It is worth going to the blog for this part as there are many bear photos.*****

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Monday 25th August,

Hoonah (Icy Strait Point).

Sarah and I were here on the last trip and did an amazing Whale trip. So I booked again with Glacier Winds.com

But first we went into town with the gang to The Office. The BEST Dungeness Crab place. A small business that cooks the crabs out the in big pots out the front. And they would be without doubt, the best eating thing to come out of the ocean. Mary comes and pick you up at the gate to the dock and takes you back.

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They then drove us down to the dock to meet our boat. And not enough superlatives for this day.

We got into the boat - Catabatic, and Andy had no trouble and off we went.

We soon came across Humpbacks BUBBLE NETTING. O.M.G!

They go down deep under a school of, in this case herrings, and swim around in a circle, blowing bubbles. The fish are corralled in a circle f bubble curtain. They will not swim through it. As the bubble reach the top, the humpbacks roar up through the middle with their mouths open wide taking in as much as twice their weight n water. Their giant fluted throat opens up and takes it it. The tongue then forces the water out through the baleen curtains hanging at the edge of their mouths, keeping the fish in. This is a learned skill that is taught by the matriarch of the pod.

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And we got to see it happening. How very special. I also got a few fluke photos that I sent in to HappyWhale.com They were 'new to science' whales.

 

This guy is now registered with Happywhale.com and is know as Humpback Whale ID HW-MN0400474. Next time it is sighted I will be notified - could be in Alaska, could be in Hawaii. It's very exciting.

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Damn! What a day. And I got three new flukes registered with Happy Whale from this day. That was excellent.

Hoohan is the town there on Icy Strait. Icy Strait Point is the cruise town.

But I will admit that they have probably the best disability set up. An electric buggy comes right to the cruise ship and drops at 5 stops around the complex - including the front gate. They even have huts with ramps and roofs for easy loading. Good work Royal.

 

WHAT A DAY.

 

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Following along once again, looking forward to your reports and photos, and give Andy my best wishes on a great adventure.

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Hi Raina,

Glad to see you back and, even more, to see Andy travelling with you :D

Before boarding the Radiance, we've also stayed at l'Hermitage and walked and walked in Stanley park, and, of course, the berries at the market still make my mouth water.

Following along,

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Tuesday 26th August,

Juneau.

Was wet and miserable looking when I got up. Then it cleared. It was raining by the time I went out but not at all cold. And true to Alaska - if you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes.

The rain stopped and it got even muggy. But then it rained again. Then it stopped. You get it.

Gorgeous low clouds kept dropping down draping the city.

Juneau is another lovely dock area. Much of it on reclaimed land. Five ships were in town today so ‘lolly pop people’ were working on all the crossings. This place also gets one million people a year on cruise ships but it wasn’t crowded.

The ship was docked under Mt Roberts and the cable car to the top. You couldn’t see the top of the mountain so I didn’t go up. There are 180 miles of gold tunnels under the mountain. Hope it doesn’t collapse one day after an earthquake.

On the dock there was a lovely statue to a dog, Patsy Anne, that lived here in the1930’s, and although deaf, she would greet all the ships, on time and always at the correct dock. Even if it was coming in to dock one, she would know if there was a change. She originally had an owner, who imported her from the lower 48, but she decided the life of the waterfront was better. The people paid for her licence so she could stay.

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I walked around Main Street.

Tracey’s King Carb place is a licence to print money. One crab leg, $28! And huge crowds.

 

After my walk I went on a city tour and then to the glacier.

Juneau is the smallest capital in the US with 33,000 people.

We went around town, which took a good 7 minutes, then over to Douglas Island across the Gastineau Channel. This is where the million dollar houses are. Pretty nice view. This took as 15 minutes, but that was because we had a 10 minute picture stop.

Sitka Spruces is now one of my favourite trees. Beautiful!

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Bear Bins everywhere.

There is only 40 miles of road in Juneau. So the tour was quick. But then we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier.

The Mendenhall Glacier is pretty great. It is retreating and will separate from the lake in the not too distant future. The weather continued to lift and drop so the ice would go from dull grey to intense blue.

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Fantasticplant life up there.

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There was also the usual spiel from the Next Cruise person, but one interesting fact was that they have strung a 100 day trip together on Explorer. It’s a 100 day ‘B9B’, going from Australia to Miami. No repeat ports!
Sounds familiar. Does the B9B include 5 weeks in Cadiz

 

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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Wednesday 29th August

Skagway

Today was a bus trip up to Fraser, in Yukon Canada, then the White Rail trail down. This was one of two passes the gold miners took in 1893 to get to the gold in Dawson.

Hideous way to get there.

Not all that hard on the train. LOL

Today was a bus trip up to Fraser, in Yukon Canada, then the White Rail trail down. This was one of two passes the gold miners took in 1893 to get to the gold in Dawson.

Hideous way to get there.

Not all that hard on the train and in a bus. LOL

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Lovely trip through some beautiful country.

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Skagway-17-768x375.jpgA visit to Liarsville - a mock up of the original town. When the reporters arrived to cover the gold rush and saw the way to get there, they decided to jut set up camp and wait for miners to return -either rich or as failures. The reporters had a fab old time an still got their stories. Although many were lacking in truth.

The stage show was pretty funny and included a sitting tap dance. Clever.

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And then a tour of the original brothel - The Red Onion. Pretty funny. Every smutty joke you have ever heard rolled into a thrifty minute tour. "Welcome all, oh and nice to see you again", "this building was erectioned in 1892", and of cause the final was "hope you all come again". The tour showed us the original crib rooms and how the system worked.

Each 'girl' had a doll at the bar. The barman would place the doll on its back when the girl took a customer up stairs. This showed she was unavailable. 15 minutes later the bouncer would remove the client, the girl would drop the $5 down a copper pipe to the bar man, who would then sit the doll back up. Madam got $2.50, bouncer got $1.25 and working girl got 1.25 - but since he average wage was $3 a day she earned well. Worked hard for it but earned heaps.

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Fun day

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Saturday 1st September

Hubbard Glacier.

We sailed into Yakutat Bay, SE Alaska at about 8am and took well over an hour to get to the glacier.

Lovely. Rainy and foggy. Then a clear view of stunning-ness. Watching Dad see glaciers for the first time was exciting.

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Hubbard-10-768x386.jpgAfter we left the Glacier we had the fancy pants Meal with an Officer. This one was hosted by Philip, the best Hotel Director and was amazing. Like wow!

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After that I watched the Parade of Nations. Crew parades for each different country that is represented on the ship. And it's heaps of nations. The crew get to plan what they do - so some did a dance, martial arts etc. Lovely.

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Must be a big storeroom for al the flags. Was so good to see Australia represented by both the normal flag and the Indigenous flag.

Tomorrow is turn around day - so goodbyes were said, and luggage was out in the corridors.

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Loving your review. It's a trip I would like to do in the future. What is the internet speed like on Radiance. my husband is a big V8 racing fan and is worried he will miss Bathurst 1000 whilst we are on our cruise. Is there somewhere onboard where they may show the race. Thanks.

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Loving your review. It's a trip I would like to do in the future. What is the internet speed like on Radiance. my husband is a big V8 racing fan and is worried he will miss Bathurst 1000 whilst we are on our cruise. Is there somewhere onboard where they may show the race. Thanks.

I think you will need to watch it n line. There is a pub that shows sport but I doubt they will have a licence for the race. They don't even have the footy grand finals.

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I think you will need to watch it n line. There is a pub that shows sport but I doubt they will have a licence for the race. They don't even have the footy grand finals.

 

Thanks for the reply. I'll have to find a way to break the news to my husband.

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First I have to say your father looks like a man in his early 70s!

 

Second , my what a great travel life you have. Can you adopt me? :D

 

Beautiful review and pictures so far!

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Aloha, Need more pictures please. We have 365 days for our cruise next year Honolulu to Sydney. :cool:

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Aloha, Need more pictures please. We have 365 days for our cruise next year Honolulu to Sydney. :cool:

I've been slack. shall get into it. LOL

Raina

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Friday 31st August

Seward, Alaska

We arrived at Seward bright and early and saw the sad people getting off the ship. It really is a lovely feeling doing a B2B. The B2B process was brilliant. Go to guest services and collect your new card after 7.30 and go about your day. No fuss, no meetings.

We had booked a ship tour - a cruise on with Kenai Fjord around Resurrection Bay. Five hour trip then back to the ship. Meeting at 9.30 in Schooner.

We did a visit the Sea Life Centre and had a wonderful time.

 

Saw Puffins and watched Sea Lions carry on like clowns. Met giant octopus and other wonderful creatures.

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Another long walk down to the end of the long log jetty. But then there we were and haded off for our trip.

We saw our first otter at the dock.

It was a great trip on Resurrection Bay. Not a whale to be seen though.

But did see lots of Glaciers. The scenery was stunning.

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High up on one of the giant cliff tops we saw goats. Then we saw five goats or goat - singles and pairs. Awesome. Tiny dots and steep edges. Lucky for a big lens.

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We saw Puffins - who are shockers to photograph when moving. They are so un-aero dynamic and need to flap about 400 beats to get airborne and many many flaps a minute to stay there. So they are just blurs.

Dall's Porpoise are not much better. They are small and so pretty. Like mini orcas - but travel at 55kph and barely clear the water. But do a "rooster flick" of their tails - what ever that is -so make a big splash. Equally hard to get photos of.

 

Stellars' Sea Lions were hauled out on the rocks looking pretty.

They love the 'Pillow Basalt'. A volcanic rock that blisters when it erupts under cold water and forms lovely smooth bumps. Sea Lions love it as its smooth but easy to climb around.

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We went around Rugged Island and saw the evidence of where the North American tectonic plate and the Pacific Plate interacted on Good Friday 1964. The Pacific Plate is made of oceanic crust, and is heavier than the North American plate. This causes the Aleutian trench, where the Pacific plate is sliding under the North American plate. On that day, 1964, the Pacific plate popped up causing a 9.2 earthquake. Biggest ever recorded. Most of Seward slipped into the sea. Parts of town were shifted 10 metres sideways. The oil facilities spilled and burnt, then came in rushing into what was left of the town, on the 10 metre Tsunami. Burning Tsunami. That's cruel.

What is cool was that this time last year I was at the join of the North American and the European plate in Iceland.

A small spit of land off Rugged Island was one of the results. There was also WWII bunkers there.

We went over to Bear Glacier. It looked like a good sized beast.

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But the closer you got.... you realised how large it was. The line at the front was actually an island with a forest. Between the island and the glacier is a huge fresh water lake that is used for kayaking and sail boarding. There are icebergs in there as big as a Costco building. Huge. We could only get a glimpse of the lake but the colour was amazing. hard to believe it was real.

 

Then.... we found otters. Always a favourite. Gee....Not sure why....... you decide!

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Yep. A pretty fine day!

Another two long walks for Andy , off the huge jetty to the bus, then the long walk from the terminal to the ship. Then back onto the ship and onto Leg 2 - Southbound Alaska. New people to meet. New fun to have. But some of our chums will be missed. Even if only for one week.

 

Heaps more photos on the blog - link in my signature.

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