Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alaska, Call of the Wild

continuing with the Inside Passage Cruise to Alaska...
once you set sail from Seattle the ship is cruising through straits,
which means you can see land on both sides, offering beautiful vistas of
mountains and wildlife.  many times we saw whales and dolphins at play.

on a fashion note, as we were sailing in September the weather is already
beginning to turn into Fall, closely followed by Winter, so there were many chilly
days & nights...it is wise to wear layers, carry a shawl (pashminas for me)...not
only are they practical, but if you get warm you peel off a layer at a time.

the captain announced that due to very hostile weather in the open waters
of the Pacific, above Juneau, we would not be cruising up to Hubbard Glacier,
but instead would be venturing into
Tracy Arm Fjord, which is about 40 miles South of Juneau.

an aerial photo below

on the bottom left is the Pacific Ocean,
if you follow the opening which is
Tracy Arm Fjord, you will see both the
North & South Sawyer Glaciers at the end of the fjord.

photo of another ship which was taking the same route,
which kinda gives you a perspective of the massive area we are sailing into.

our 1st vision

a drop of golden sun

sheer cliff walls rise up to about 3000 feet, waterfalls crashing everywhere from the snow melt,
and soon it will begin to freeze again...

granite cliff walls

nature in it's virgin state is truly magnificent to behold,
we were all breath-taken.
the immensity of this area makes one feel small, like you do at the Grand Canyon.

a photo taken by another passenger
during summer

happy Harbor Seal resting on ice,
also another passenger's photo

Harbor Seals at rest with the seal pack, my daughter took about 100 pics of them,
she was absolutely delighted by all the animals...

daughter & fiance on deck almost the entire time we were in Tracy Arm...
chunks of ice floating everywhere you looked, some small some immense...

glacier dead ahead

we could not get very close to the actual glaciers as so much ice is
floating, and they told us that we see only 20% of the ice, 80% is below water.
the blue ice is a result of light absorption and refraction, and this ice
is so much denser than our freezer ice, which we see as clear.

glacier ice is a result of decades of snowfall, which eventually hardens from
compression into dense ice, always moving downhill.  as the ice flows downward
it actually scrapes layers of rock away, and the crushed rock becomes part of the glacier,
making it possible to recarve the landscape.

bear fishing for salmon as the water meets the sea.

we spent the entire day cruising up & down the fjord, and all of us agreed
it was THE best day of all.

if you ever go on this cruise, make certain you get to see Tracy Arm
which we would have missed entirely if there had not been a severe
storm in the Northern Pacific.  it is very clear that the captain & crew of
these large ships (our was over 1000' long) have amazing skills to be
able to navigate these narrow passages.  we could see the water depth
on various screens throughout the ship, sometimes we were in waters 300'
and sometimes, like Tracy Arm, the waters were over 1200' deep.

this was the day I spent mostly in the Observation Deck comfort, with my
large double espresso caramel macchiatto.



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VMcreation-fashion-studio-atelier said...

Hello,dear Marsha!

I have not enough words to describe you immensly great feelings about you post!!!

WOW,WOW and WOW...................unbelivebly great trip:-)*
Such fantastic images and experience of you,OOohhhh,I wish I can to be there!

Hugs and Love to you,

LPC said...

These are GORGEOUS! Didn't you sort of want to faint?

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Oh WOW Marsha, what a wonderful holiday you all must have had. Such magnificent scenery every step of the way....no wonder your daughter took over 1000 photographs. How lovely to have seen it all and had such a wonderful experience with your family. Please share more photos. XXXX

Ridgely's Radar said...

Great photos! Must have been a wonderful trip!

Chris said...

HI Marsha! I am so in love with your Alaska experiences. My dad was a ship captain, usually tankers taking something-er-other to Alaska and bringing oil back, then our summers in the Southern Hemisphere doing the same thing, always going into harm's way. These photos bring back heartfelt memories. Thank you.
Can't wait for more. Hugs, Chris

Veronica said...

Hi Marsha. that was breathtakingly beautiful..looong sigh of pure pleasure from this side... Glad you enjoyed it! looing forward to more...


LaPouyette said...

Absolutely wonderful and stunning pictures! Oh, I would love so much to go to Alaska as well, one day....

Thank you very much dear Marsha for sharing all this beauty of nature with us!

It looks like you had a wonderful cruisade!


Victoria said...

What a fabulous experience. Could those seals be any cuter??? That part of our country is so untouched, it gives one an insight into how the lower 48 must have looked at one time. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Nuit said...

WOW! this is seriously STUNNING!!! gave me the chills. :)

ida said...

Wow what breath taking raw beauty your photos are fabulous,stunning.Ida x