Monday, July 03, 2017

The rest of the cruise*

We got off our cruise boat this morning around 6:15, with sleepy and tearful kiddos. They made so many friends on board and had so much fun that they definitely weren't ready for it to be over.

After Juneau, our next port was Skagway. We disembarked but didn't spend a lot of time in the little town, because it was mostly just rows of souvenir shops. But getting back on the boat was perfectly fine with everyone because there was so much fun to be had.

Skagway Totem

A storefront completely
covered in driftwood

Ruth decided to get in on a statue pose

At port in Skagway

The day after Skagway was spent on the boat, cruising around Glacier Bay. This was definitely Jeff's and my favorite day. It was absolutely beautiful and possibly the most serene place I have ever been. The quiet was all encompassing and the fog made it seem otherworldly. We saw and heard the glaciers calving, which was such an incredible experience. We also saw sea lions, otters, and a couple of whales.  Since the whole bay is a National Park, we also had rangers on board all day to give talks, answer questions, and point out particular places and animals of interest. We could have easily been happy spending at least twice as much time there. That night, we had our second gala night aboard the ship, and everyone was excited to dress up again and dine in the dining room.

Glacier Bay

Icy sea shrouded in fog

Margerie Glacier

Captain Nice at the Lido Buffet

Gala Night, Round Two

The final day of the cruise was a sea day, and the ship had even more activities scheduled than normal, so we were definitely well fed and entertained. The kids spent almost every moment in their respective camps. Meanwhile, Jeff and I attended a tour of the kitchen, a couple of cooking classes, a couple of trivia games, afternoon tea. We also had a date night to the dining room, while the kids were tied up with their friends and activities.

Crab appetizers in the kitchen

A large quantity of whipped cream

This should be a scratch-and-sniff picture!
Everyone wanted to linger in the bread room.

America's Test Kitchen cooking class

This morning when we got off the boat, we boarded a scenic tour train to Anchorage. In addition to the beautiful scenery, we also saw a grizzly bear (spotted by yours truly), a moose, some eagles and artic terns, and a group of Dall sheep. 

From boat to train

View from the train window

The lighter brown spot just right
and down from center is a
gigantic grizzly bear.
Here are a few reasons it isn't the
 greatest picture I've ever taken:
1. It was taken with my phone.
2. It was quite a ways away from us.
3. We were on a moving train.
4. I was saying "BEAR! BEAR! BEAR!"
and wasn't able to fully focus.

I caught the back of the train
as we went around a bend

The foreground is all glacial silt,
which is left behind as the tide retreats
at low tide. The difference between
high and low tide is tremendous .

When we got off the train, we reconnected with Usha (our faithful and beloved little RV, who came to Alaska separately from us) and met up with Jeff's cousin, who lives in Anchorage, for a wonderful lunch. We haven't seen him in years, so it was delightful to have a chance to catch up. 

Our Alaskan cruise is definitely our favorite cruise we've ever done, and this state is such an amazing place. We are looking forward to exploring more of it in the coming week.

*For those of you thinking this seems to be picking up in the middle of a story, you're right! If you missed the posting about the first half of our cruise, check it out here.

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