Friday, August 5, 2016

Cruise to Alaska Day 05: Juneau

Fair warning: this day was AMAZING, and you're probably going to be as exhausted after reading about it as I was after living it.

Life is tough, yo!

Our view from breakfast--insert happy sigh.
I SUPER wanted to take this cable car up to the top of the mountain, but wasn't mean enough to so much as mention it to Matt. He would never have made it up with his sanity intact.
 Anyway, we had a pressing date with Juneau Whale Tours, on account of we wanted to see...
The scenery was really beautiful, too. See that glacier?
This pod of humpback whales was happily bubble net feeding, and so we were able to follow and observe them for the entire time.
Thanks to our shipboard naturalist's lecture on cetacean identification a couple of days prior, we were able to recognize the spouting as that of humpbacks (seriously, I have diagrams of spouts and copious notes in my travel journal), as well as their distinctive dorsal fins, humpbacks, and flukes.
You can see their dorsal fins and humpbacks well in this video, as well as hear the sound of their spouting:

The seagulls will also tell you where the whales are bubble net fishing.
You can identify individual humpbacks by the markings on their tail flukes.
 Even when we finally left the whales, the scenery was still beautiful, as we passed more glaciers in the distance, and the captain stopped to let us check out these sea lions on a buoy:

As sea lions do, they fought:

Whale watching is awesome enough to fill up one day, you might think, but this is ALASKA, where awesome is everywhere, all the time, so after whale watching, we went to check out Mendenhall Glacier!
This particular glacier is retreating very quickly, so we're lucky to have seen it while it's still around.
We also saw this little fellow, a first for me. Can you tell what it is?
 It's. A. PORCUPINE!!!

Here's the glacier up close, so you can see some detail.
And a little closer...
And now from far away, so you can see Nugget Falls to the right of it. We hiked over to Nugget Falls!
A tour guide had told us the story earlier on this day of Romeo, a wolf who preferred hanging around town to being with a wolf pack. He was sadly shot one day, but not before he'd apparently impregnated every female dog in Juneau, and THAT'S why I kept seeing wolfdogs around! I'd thought it was just some crazy Alaskan hipster trend!
The falls might not seem so big...
...until you get some perspective. This is my favorite photo of myself from this entire trip, me squatting in front of a glacier and a waterfall, feeling if the water is cold (it is!) and looking for interesting rocks.
Fine, I like this photo, too.
And this photo of us together, although it's really embarrassing when we try to take selfies, on account of we're SOOOO bad at it. Seriously, senior citizens have an easier time taking selfies than we do.
I don't know why I didn't get any good photos of Matt by himself! Here he is looking through the binoculars, though, so you know that he was at least present.
It's a shame, I suppose, that we're not into taking cheezy portraits together.
 Even after whale watching AND glacier spying, we still hiked around the town of Juneau for a while, because I had a burning desire to see the state capitol building.
Ummm.... this is it. Yay?
Finally, however, we trekked back to the ship, squeaking our way in just before all-aboard.
On deck five, our room usually has a gorgeous view, but it's also just below the level of the pier whenever we dock, so on port days we always have some sort of weird view like this.
We still had drinks and dinner and various shipboard activities ahead, but oh, my goodness, I was SO glad to get back to our room that night and see one of my favorite cruise ship sites:
Yep, that's our bed, with the sheets and blankets nicely turned down for us, the schedule of the next day's activities left at the foot, and honest-to-god chocolates on top. I LOVED this vacation!
Not pictured: any of the bald eagles that we saw, because I was too busy taking photos of whales, any of the stoplights in Juneau, because there weren't any, any of our friends, although I assure you that we're not the only people on this cruise, or either of the TWO chocolate croissants that I ate with breakfast, because one must keep up one's strength, mustn't one?


Tina said...

I have been deep sea fishing a few times off the coast of NH, but I have never seen whales. That is so cool!

The glacier is amazing, and that waterfall looked refreshing!

Selfies are hard to take. Especially for people who do not like to be in photos.

Enjoying the cruise, thanks for sharing it!

julie said...

There's also an opportunity to go whale watching when we're in Boston in October, and I super want to do it so that the kids can see whales, too, but it would also take away from the time that we have to see other stuff.

Why is there not an infinite amount of time in every day?!?

Tina said...

No kidding! Boston is such a cool city. Super crowded, but there is so much to see in the area! What all are you planning to see? I use to LOVE the aquarium as a kid, and I remember enjoying our field trip to Plymouth Rock (though that's south of Boston). It's been a super long time since I did more than fly in or our of the city though.