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Unibok

A-Mused in A-laska, Seward to Vancouver, 27 May to 6 June 2019

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49 minutes ago, Unibok said:

We chose to dine at Indochine, which we loved!!! When we asked for extra spice, that was readily granted, and our dishes were perfectly prepared and absolutely delicious. It is our favorite dinner spot onboard so far.

 

We dined in Indochine on the Spirit in March and also loved it. The Lemongrass beef was wonderful and the Pho was the best (albeit the only) that I had ever had. I was surprised, however, that I had to ask for chopsticks and they only had those cheap ones that you had to pull apart. Next cruise, I'll pack my own!

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1 hour ago, JohnGinPBG said:

 

We dined in Indochine on the Spirit in March and also loved it. The Lemongrass beef was wonderful and the Pho was the best (albeit the only) that I had ever had. I was surprised, however, that I had to ask for chopsticks and they only had those cheap ones that you had to pull apart. Next cruise, I'll pack my own!

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Haha, John -- they still offer only the cheap chopsticks in both Kaiseki and the buffet  on the Muse -- we have been so surprised by that! The lemongrass beef was also on the regional menu on the Shadow last March in Asia, and it was one of the tastiest dishes I had the entire 14-day cruise ... and I had many wonderful dishes.

 

Also, how interesting to hear that your experiences at Hubbard Glacier were so different than ours!

 

 

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Today = Sitka. Or, for those of you who are fans of Sandra Bullock and the movie The Proposal, Sitkaaaaaa. This is the view from our balcony. It was a tender port, which got us much closer to downtown than the pier used by the bigger ships (Norwegian and  Viking). 

 

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Our day in port was somewhat short, from 9 am to 4 pm. As with yesterday, the expedition team was out in full force, and the ORCA team also led a wildlife excursion. Silver Spawn and I decided to do-it-yourself hike up the Indian River Trail, hoping to make it to the 70-foot waterfall before needing to return for the last tender. Jump to the chase: we didn't quite make it to the falls before we felt it prudent to turn back. SS hiked a good 8 miles, and I clocked about 7 miles all told. One more hour in port and we would have made it. We'll have to return someday.

 

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The trail was exceptionally well maintained, and took us into the Tongass Rainforest -- the 2nd largest rainforest in the world, second only to the Amazon. Eventually we ran into a Silversea official expedition tour, but we were happy to be on our own for the day. It was a quiet and uneventful hike through bear country, with so many shades of green and the largest slugs we've ever seen. I would gladly return and spend a full week in Sitka alone (not for the slugs, but for Sitka's other charms).

 

As we had packed only a few snacks for the long hike, we made our way to Spaccanapoli for yummy pizza upon returning to the ship. We chose one of the Napolitano-style pizzas, which was perfect in its simplicity. After that, we returned to our balcony until it was time for the Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party.  Having hiked so much, we are likely to call it an early evening. 

 

Cheers,

 

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6 hours ago, Unibok said:

Today = Sitka. Or, for those of you who are fans of Sandra Bullock and the movie The Proposal, Sitkaaaaaa. This is the view from our balcony. It was a tender port, which got us much closer to downtown than the pier used by the bigger ships (Norwegian and  Viking). 

 

Appreciate so much ALL of these wonderful pictures, details, comments, etc.  Plus, the nice follow-ups to my many questions, etc.  EXCELLENT!!!  Loved this picture from Sitka.  Looks great.   You have earned an A++!!   Nice to hear that you liked  Indochine and the Lemongrass beef.  Great to hear about your experience at Hubbard Glacier.  Not too impressed by the hair dryer art in the main stairwell.  That Voices of Silversea show, "Uprights and Grands," sounds new compared to what we have experienced in the past.  Glad that they are working in newer material.  

 

Is today for Haines, 8 am-6 pm?  What do you have planned for this port?  Then tomorrow is the long, long day in Juneau, the Alaska Capital, 8 am-11 pm.  What will you do for there?

 

Other questions:  Is the ship nearly total full/sold-out?  Who is the Captain?  Assume you posted these pictures from the ship and that the uploading was somewhat slow, but still working in reasonable fashion from a ship, right?  What has your daughter loved most?  What has been her biggest surprise?

 

Keep it coming!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

For latest live/blog, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East.  Connect at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

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8 hours ago, Unibok said:

Today = Sitka. Or, for those of you who are fans of Sandra Bullock and the movie The Proposal, Sitkaaaaaa. This is the view from our balcony. It was a tender port, which got us much closer to downtown than the pier used by the bigger ships (Norwegian and  Viking). 

 

 

 

Looks like a beautiful day in Sitka, which is my favorite Alaska port. Great view of Mt. Edgecumbe!

 

Thought you'd enjoy the story about the time the volcano "erupted".

 

THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT EDGECUMBE–APRIL FOOL’S DAY 1974

 
Porkys Jacket

Sitka History Museum, 2014.3.1

When you successfully pull off one of the most epic pranks in the history of the United States, the only thing left to do is design commemorative wear like this “Porky’s” jacket in the Sitka History Museum’s permanent collection.

The morning of April 1, 1974 was clear and beautiful.  Mt. Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano located 13 miles west of Sitka, Alaska on Kruzof Island, was clearly visible across Sitka Sound. Upon seeing the mountain when he woke up, life-long prankster Oliver “Porky” Bickar reportedly turned to his wife, Patty, and said, “This is it. We’ve gotta do it today.” Kissing him on the forehead, Patty replied, “Don’t make an ass of yourself.”

Porky had waited three years for this, collecting old tires in his shop ever since he hatched the idea back in 1971. April Fool’s Day, 1974 had finally provided the right visibility conditions. He planned to fly his collection of tires into the crater of the volcano and set them on fire, all in an attempt to fool Sitka’s residents into thinking that the familiar volcano was about to erupt.

Porky rushed to his shop and, after calling multiple helicopter charters, was able to enlist the services of Earl Walker from Petersburg. Although Earl was fog-bound in Petersburg, he was excited by Porky’s idea and said he would be on his way to Sitka as soon as the weather cleared. While waiting, Porky made two rope slings about 150 feet long, each holding 50 old car tires. He also gathered oily rags, a gallon of Sterno, a whole lot of diesel oil, and a dozen smoke bombs– anything and everything that would emit thick, black smoke.

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Sitka History Museum, photograph by Harold Wahlman, PH041

Upon Earl’s arrival, and with the help of their accomplices, Larry Nelson and Ken Stedman, Porky and Earl loaded the helicopter and off they flew toward Mt. Edgecumbe.  They dropped the tires and incendiaries into the volcano’s crater. They spray-painted “APRIL FOOL’S” in 50-foot letters onto the snow and set their creation ablaze.

When asking the FAA tower for permission to land back in Sitka, Homer Sutter, the air-traffic controller, said, “I’ll bring you in as low and inconspicuously as possible…and, by the way, the son of a gun looks fantastic!” Porky had notified the FAA and the Sitka Police Department, but had somehow forgotten the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard quickly scrambled to its boats and helicopter to investigate, but the chopper pilot soon found himself looking down at a pile of smoldering tires and a big April Fool’s sign in the snow.

Phones rang off the hook at radio stations and the Police Department as concerned citizens called in.  Porky has accomplished his mission. He had fooled Sitka into thinking their supposedly-extinct volcano was preparing to erupt.

The prank went on to make AP news worldwide. News of Porky’s antics in Sitka even reached Jimmy Johnson, Vice President of Alaska Airlines, who called the Sitka station to instruct their departing plane to fly over the mountain, giving their passengers a front-row seat to the spectacle. Over forty years later, the Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe continues to make the list of the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time. Local legend even has it that, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Porky and said, “This time you’ve gone too far!”

 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, JohnGinPBG said:

Thought you'd enjoy the story about the time the volcano "erupted".

THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT EDGECUMBE–APRIL FOOL’S DAY 1974

 

Great, fun story.  Appreciate your sharing.  Looking forward to seeing Mount Edgecumbe in person later in July.  Looks very classic for such a mountain.  For more history and background on this location, you can read additional details at: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edgecumbe_(Alaska)

 

It is 3,201 feet in height. They indicate the last eruptions were back in 7620 BC, 3810 BC and 2220 BC ±100 years.  That's a little before my time!!??   

 

From Wikipedia, they share this detailed for the 1974 April Fool's Day fun: "On April 1, 1974, a local prankster named Oliver 'Porky' Bickar ignited 70 old tires in the crater, which he had flown in for an April Fools' Day joke. The dark smoke rising from the crater convinced nearby residents of Sitka, Alaska, that the volcano was erupting. The hoax was soon revealed, as around the rim of the volcano, 'April Fool' was spray-painted in 50-foot (15 m) letters. The Guardian reports that Bickar had been planning the prank for four years, and lists it among the ten best Aprils Fools hoaxes of all time."

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.!  Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 46,842 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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35 minutes ago, JohnGinPBG said:

Looks like a beautiful day in Sitka, which is my favorite Alaska port. Great view of Mt. Edgecumbe!

 

Thought you'd enjoy the story about the time the volcano "erupted".

 

THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT EDGECUMBE–APRIL FOOL’S DAY 1974

 

This. Is. Awesome!

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They had those spray painted plastic hairdryers in the stairwell of the Spirit.    

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Posted (edited)

imageproxy.php?img=&key=b5ec9cff05c76377We had a gorgeous day here in Haines, Alaska! Although the forecast said cold and drizzly, it was blue skies with a warming sun all day. Here is the view from our suite this morning, just after arrival. 

 

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Haines is a tiny town, and sailing in requires a verrrryyyyy slow and verrrrryyyy beautiful trip through the fjord. Haines has only one small dock, room enough for one Muse-sized ship. Although nearby Skagway is home of the more famous attractions, the charming town of Haines has been courting adventurers and provided ample fun for us. imageproxy.php?img=&key=b5ec9cff05c76377imageproxy.php?img=&key=b5ec9cff05c76377imageproxy.php?img=&key=b5ec9cff05c76377After a leisurely breakfast in Atlantide (which, by the way is quite handsome), we wandered around town on our own, purchasing some ink drawings and jewelry in the process. Because we had an early afternoon excursion, we grabbed an early pizza in Spaccanapoli before the other lunch venues were open. It was our second pizza there, and both have been loaded with excellent flavor. 

 

We'll tell you about our afternoon later, but for now we'll leave you with this image of the Silver Muse amongst the snow-capped mountains around Haines.

 

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Edited by Unibok

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15 minutes ago, Unibok said:

We had a gorgeous day here in Haines, Alaska! Although the forecast said cold and drizzly, it was blue skies with a warming sun all day. Here is the view from our suite this morning, just after arrival. 

We'll tell you about our afternoon later, but for now we'll leave you with this image of the Silver Muse amongst the snow-capped mountains around Haines.

 

Glad the weather in Haines was nice.  Super loved those two different mountain pictures with the snow showing, etc.  Apparently uploading visuals to the CC boards is working.  Keep it coming!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!  Is one of your future desires or past favorites? See these many visual samples for its great history and architecture.  This posting is now at 82,950 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

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Upload speed is actually rather slow, which is one of the reasons why my reports have been pretty thin on visuals. Another reason is the port-intensive nature of this itinerary keep us going, going, going, with little time to reflect. We'll have plenty of time for that when we get home 🙂 A third reason is that I have a companion in my room with me, something I rarely experience. It is delightful, but allows for less writing time.

 

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Anyway, back to sunny Haines. Our afternoon excursion was a 4-hour photography tour, Haines Thru a Lens. Cindy, our excellent guide and professional photographer, took us to several different spots and we practiced different techniques at each. I was quite impressed with how she met each of us at our level, and worked with whatever technology we brought, from cell phones to high end DSLRs. Our first stop was along a river bed, where we could practice using macros by taking pictures of the scrub roses there. She then drove us to an old cannery site, which made for a nice contrast of the red building, the flowing river, and the snow-capped mountains above. From there she took us to several places where we would be likely to see bald eagles. We did see many, but only a few that were close enough for good photographs. I did manage to capture this eagle in flight.

 

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We also learned along the way that the famed Sitka spruce are in a bit of trouble this year, with not enough rainfall. The weather that seems so perfect to us comes at a cost for those trees. They pay us back, however, by spewing yellow pollen everywhere and on everything. It has certainly activated DD's allergies.

 

We dined with zqtchas and his bride in Atlantide, enjoying an entirely new fish menu designed for local fish Anna had shopped for during the day. Staff described how she had filled tenders with an array of local seafood. My halibut was excellent, and the salmon looked marvelous as well. We then peeked in on Phil's solo show for a few songs before heading back to our suite. Phil seems to be a cruise director in training, and appears to have the right personality and skillset for the position.

 

It is morning now in Juneau, and we have a nice long day in port, with a DIY morning and a whale excursion in the afternoon. Wishing you all a good day!

 

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Incredible shots and what glorious weather you had.  I had no idea there was such a thing as a clear day along the Alaskan coast until now as all I’ve ever seen has been fog, mist, and rain.

 

Kudos to Anne-Marie for searching out local proteins!  And, my regards to Silver Spawn and her allergies.  The yellow clouds of pollen are about 7-14 days away for us here at altitude and understand all too well the suffering that comes with it.

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20 hours ago, Unibok said:

Upload speed is actually rather slow, which is one of the reasons why my reports have been pretty thin on visuals. Another reason is the port-intensive nature of this itinerary keep us going, going, going, with little time to reflect. We'll have plenty of time for that when we get home 🙂 A third reason is that I have a companion in my room with me, something I rarely experienceimageproxy.php?img=&key=b5ec9cff05c76377. It is delightful, but allows for less writing time.

It is morning now in Juneau, and we have a nice long day in port, with a DIY morning and a whale excursion in the afternoon. Wishing you all a good day!

 

YES!!  The pictures and details are flowing wonderful.  Super enjoying.  Always wanting more, etc.  Know you're busy, both with your DD, plus many port options, etc.  Keep it coming, including any and all details as to the Silver Muse, the crew, etc.  Glad to hear about the serving of local fish and other tasty treats.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.!  Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 46,842 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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22 hours ago, Unibok said:

Anyway, back to sunny Haines. Our afternoon excursion was a 4-hour photography tour, Haines Thru a Lens.

 

Haines is a wonderful, sleepy little town far different from the touristy ports. Last summer, we did the same photography tour you took. Looking forward to eventually seeing some of your shots. In the meantime, here are a few of mine from that day

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Since our late July, seven-day Silver Muse sailing will not include Cruising Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier, plus not stopping at Wrangell, etc., what are you planning for June 3, when in Ketchikan, 8 am-6 pm.?  How long at the end of the cruise will you have for Vancouver?  First time there?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling/details with many exciting visuals and key highlights.  On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings.  Now at 220,758 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

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14 minutes ago, JohnGinPBG said:

Haines is a wonderful, sleepy little town far different from the touristy ports. Last summer, we did the same photography tour you took. Looking forward to eventually seeing some of your shots. In the meantime, here are a few of mine from that day

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Super nice pictures from JohnGinPBG.  That's really building up, UP the excitement for visiting Alaska later this summer.  Keep it coming!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 246,315 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

 

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Posted (edited)

As we sail into Wrangell this morning, I'll catch up on Juneau from 2 days ago. We had a generously long time in port, from early morning until 11:00 pm. Although there were 4-5 other ships here during our time, Juneau didn't feel over-crowded -- I suspect that is because Juneau acts as a gateway for so many exciting excursions that get you out of town, regardless of which cruise line you are on: out to the glaciers, up in the floatplanes, on the waters, etc. Everyone disperses. This was the biggest surprise of the day: I was dreading the crush of humanity, and found a delightful little town with plenty of room to spare.

 

With Silver Spawn's allergies slowing her down, I wandered into town for some medications and took in the Sealaska Heritage Center, a lovely little museum devoted to the indigenous cultures here. For those seeking depth, their interactive technologies take you farther and farther into their stories and practices. If my little girl didn't need her meds, I could have spent hours there.

 

By afternoon, she felt well enough for our whale watching tour with Gastineau Guides. This was one of the featured excursions offered by Silversea as part of the Enhanced Whale Watching portion of the voyage, and we were so fortunate to have Anna and Shenaz, our ORCA guides, along on our excursion. Gastineau Guides conducts citizen science while out on excursions, and so they involved us in sorting bycatch from their crabbing pots as well as identifying specific whales we might sight. Charlie, our charming talk-your-ear-off guide, also teaches biology at the local high school, while Capt. Bruck navigated brilliantly and showed his clear affection for the whales in this region -- many of which he can identify by name.

 

It was a terrific excursion. Although the crab pots netted only a single green sea urchin, we all got to hold it, observing its slowly moving spines and feeling the sucking action on the palms of our hands. From there, we went in search of whales, armed with an identification book of their flukes in hopes that we could note exactly which whales we saw, where, doing what. Along the way, we learned that the boat was designed expressly for whale watching, as a perfect (and speedy) platform for photographing them. At one point, we were lucky enough to see a whale mama and baby, adding to the whole mother-daughter vibe of this Alaskan adventure we are having.

 

In the time I have been writing these words, the first picture still has not uploaded. When it does, you will see a whale fluke. You will also see one of the many bald eagles we have encountered, if I have the patience to wait that long. The last breakfast seating is in 90 minutes, and I fear we'll miss it if I wait for the photos to load 😞

 

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We dined that night in Silver Note, and I have to admit I wasn't sure whether we'd like it or not, given some of the reviews here. Still, we have wanted to try each of the venues. Our verdict: we loved it. We loved the small, intimate space, the live music (Vlad on guitar, who seems to have followed me from the Shadow, lol), and thoughtfully-slash-whimsically crafted food. Neither of us ordered the beehive, which seems to be the most abstract of their conceptual dishes, and we were both delighted with our choices. The flavors are a bit bolder and spicier than in other venues, as the waitstaff will warn you. Bolder and spicier is just what we like, so we were in heaven. She started with the sea bass, while I chose the octopus. For mains, she had the lamb, and I opted for venison. No pictures, as we would never be able to leave the suite if we tried to upload them. But here is the promised bald eagle, one of dozens we've seen in the last few days. I hope you have gotten the impression that our wildlife sightings have been incredible since we arrived in Alaska -- that is certainly how we are feeling.

 

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So that catches you up through Juneau. Coming up next, a glacier day in Tracy Arm.

Edited by Unibok

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2 hours ago, Unibok said:

At one point, we were lucky enough to see a whale mama and baby, adding to the whole mother-daughter vibe of this Alaskan adventure we are having.

 

That is so awesome. Hope you enjoy Wrangell and the Annan Bear Observatory.  It’s still one of our all time favorite ports.

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Great to hear all is going well! Looking forward to hearing about the last few days.

 

A tip: when you sail Iinto Vancouver, you'll pass under the Lion's Gate bridge approx. 7:00 am. It's a fun experience, even if you have to get upDSC02279.thumb.JPG.47d35407711137f1194ff83e5056f4d7.JPG a little early.

 

Thanks for all your wonderful reports!

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1 hour ago, Unibok said:

As we sail into Wrangell this morning, I'll catch up on Juneau from 2 days ago. Although there were 4-5 other ships here during our time, Juneau didn't feel over-crowded -- I suspect that is because Juneau acts as a gateway for so many exciting excursions that get you out of town, regardless of which cruise line you are on: out to the glaciers, up in the floatplanes, on the waters, etc. Everyone disperses. I was dreading the crush of humanity, and found a delightful little town with plenty of room to spare.

By afternoon, she felt well enough for our whale watching tour with Gastineau Guides. This was one of the featured excursions offered by Silversea as part of the Enhanced Whale Watching portion of the voyage.   It was a terrific excursion.  Along the way, we learned that the boat was designed expressly for whale watching, as a perfect (and speedy) platform for photographing them. At one point, we were lucky enough to see a whale mama and baby, adding to the whole mother-daughter vibe of this Alaskan adventure we are having.  In the time I have been writing these words, the first picture still has not uploaded. When it does, you will see a whale fluke. You will also see one of the many bald eagles we have encountered, if I have the patience to wait that long.

We dined that night in Silver Note, and I have to admit I wasn't sure whether we'd like it or not, given some of the reviews here. Still, we have wanted to try each of the venues. Our verdict: we loved it. We loved the small, intimate space, the live music.   Neither of us ordered the beehive, which seems to be the most abstract of their conceptual dishes, and we were both delighted with our choices. The flavors are a bit bolder and spicier than in other venues, as the waitstaff will warn you.

 

More wonderful details, pictures, background, etc., as to your day in Juneau, dining at Silver Note, etc.  Nicely written, much appreciated and very helpful.  Pleasantly surprised that Juneau absorbed these ships and thousands of passengers so well.  That's very encouraging for us with 11,000 passengers schedule for our day there in late July.  .  

 

On picture uploading, I have one question.  What size of pictures were you trying to do?  For the pictures taken with my Nikon D7200. they are very large at 24mp, shot in RAW, etc.  But, that's why I reduce that size before doing any uploads to the Internet and Cruise Critic.  Any added details as to what you are using to upload that is so slow?

 

Keep it coming!!  Enjoying much!!

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 45,659 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

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We are now just leaving Wrangell and en route to Ketchikan.  Nice day for weather, no rain and warm-ish for an amble around a quaint town.

Local children were selling stones on the quayside - it seems that only the children can dig for these stones in the area without a permit.

We took a look in the museum ($7 pp entry) which was very interesting and we also had a tour of the gift shops and stores.  Some lovely gardens, plants and wall murals to appreciate in the very near few streets.  Otherwise, ours was a lazy day - which are often the best.

 

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10 hours ago, lem_100 said:

We are now just leaving Wrangell and en route to Ketchikan.  Nice day for weather, no rain and warm-ish for an amble around a quaint town.  Local children were selling stones on the quayside - it seems that only the children can dig for these stones in the area without a permit.  We took a look in the museum ($7 pp entry) which was very interesting and we also had a tour of the gift shops and stores.  Some lovely gardens, plants and wall murals to appreciate in the very near few streets.  Otherwise, ours was a lazy day - which are often the best.

 

Looking forward to hearing your impressions and activities for Ketchikan.  Glad you had a nice day in Wrangell and that the weather was decent and good.  Yes, "lazy days" can be fun, too!  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Dubrovnik!  Nice visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this super scenic location. Over 45,507 views.    

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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lem_100 -- thanks for chiming in and keeping things up-to-date! It sounds like we had similar days in Wrangell.

 

Enter the way-back machine: Glacier Day in Tracy Arm. Whereas we visited Hubbard Glacier for just a few hours one afternoon, the Muse stayed in the Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier area all day. This allowed for multiple groups to experience the zodiaks, kayaks, and "Wilderness Explorer" double-decker catamaran. It also allowed the Muse to spend quite a bit of time in those stunning fjords.

 

IMG_3514.thumb.jpg.3287b8730be0824bfd25cae693c58027.jpg

 

Weather conditions were cold and wet. We had been promised cold and wet weather for days, but somehow managed to experience sunny and somewhat warm -- until glacier day. We were in the earliest group of zodiaks to go out. Pax met in Indochine for a safety briefing and to put on their pfds, then led to the 3rd deck to board the zodiaks. The process was stable and very supported, far easier than I was expecting. Peter, our guide, motored us quickly to the fun stuff, trying to make sure we had plenty of time at the glacier itself. The different colors of blue were incredible to see up close.

IMG_3518.thumb.jpg.d7e252063b1cae4603a1510124c765ca.jpg

 

In addition to the glacier itself, we saw well over 100 seals, including a half-dozen mother-pup pairs. It was well worth the chilly ride and bracing rain to get so close to the action.

 

IMG_3321.thumb.jpg.6ffa0ff76963313fcf492c3f3207d427.jpg

 

Back on board, we were greeted with hot chocolate, and we made way for the next group to go out.

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Posted (edited)

[insert pic of bear eating grass]

 

So this happened today on an excursion in Ketchikan. We did an independent tour with Ryan McCue of Alaska Seaplane Tours. There were 6 passengers in the plane (I got to sit up front next to the pilot!!!), and we spent about 2 hours in the plane. After journeying over some mountains and across fjords in the Misty Fjords Monument area, Ryan set the plane down on the water after spotting a bear munching on some grass. We approached it as stealthily as one can in a plane that has its motor running. He then cut off the motor, and Ryan literally paddled us closer to the bear -- with a canoe paddle. We were hanging off the sides of the plane and standing on the floats, and I cannot believe how close he was able to get us to that bear. 

 

After the bear had its fill of the yummy grass, and we'd had our fill of watching the bear, we headed off to another site, where we saw two more. We then returned home over the mountains with Ryan's inspiring narration encouraging us to reflect on where we were and what we were experiencing. It was an awe-inspiring experience, from start to finish.

 

Earlier in the day, we had visited the Totem Heritage Center, which was a short walk from downtown. That was our favorite museum so far, as it focused on really understanding the cultural, historical, familial, and artistic aspects of what are now called totem poles. With 5 ships in port, downtown Ketchikan was not a pleasant place to be, just wall-to-wall people. The contrast made our floatplane adventure all the more sublime.

 

[edited to add: this post will make more sense when I try again later to post the pic]

Edited by Unibok

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