It's difficult to explain size and scope where there is no context. That pretty much describes Alaska. Everywhere is big and far. And stunning beyond belief. Raw, bold, simple, natural, intense, gentle, complex, wet. Very wet.
24/7 of eye-candy.
That's is basically all I need to say about Alaska.
Our trip was put together by the amazing folks at Adventure Life. They booked us into the perfect kind of small boat adventure we were looking for -- a small craft (36 passengers; 145 footer) run by Un-Cruise. If you are ever thinking about a cruise vacation, check these guys out. The boat was excellent, with very comfortable accommodations. The crew was outstanding. Everything you need is provided from high boots, wet gear, kayaks, etc, right on to fine wines and food flowing pretty much all day. Here's a story for you: one morning we were kayaking up to a glacier. You get close to a glacier, it is cold. We were there a fairly long time because it was so beautiful being right there while the glacier was calving that no one wanted to go back to the boat. Well, out comes the steward crew with hot chocolate, coffee, and Bailey's – tossing to-go thermos into the kayaks. Nice touch!
We hiked old-growth rain forests. Kayaked under waterfalls and along glaciers. Tucked into small lagoons at night, allowing for breath-taking misty morning kayaking.
And of course, there are the critters of Alaska.
Humpback Whales – two times we had a whale playfully doing the whole show: blow, pec slap, tail slap, head lunge, breach. Our last day a large humpback did a long show for us then came straight at us and mugged the boat with a huge head rise.
Bears. I took about 300 shots of a mom with triplets. I just couldn't stop myself they were so adorable, mom catching fish then teaching the cubs to fish.
Harbor seals who playfully swished around out kayaks. Sea Lions amassed on icebergs.
Eagles, adults and juveniles. Puffins. Black Oystercatchers. Galls. Salmon. Mussels. Clams. Crabs. Starfish. Even the banana slug is big in Alaska.
It's all pretty indescribable. Better just to show some pictures…
This photo journey starts with a shot in Juneau. It was raining when we landed in Juneau. We walked around for awhile, then spotted a local brew-pub. So, here is my first shot of the Alaska experience.
Here are a few shots to explain about the size of things. One is the size of our boat (see arrow) compared with some of the cruise ships. The other is a reflection of me in a display case of a full-sized grizzly. And lastly our "tiny kayaks" against a huge glacier.
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Here's a harbor seal messing around with us as we kayaked.
Some shots of birds and critters-
The scenery. Mystical. Jaw dropping. Serene. Big.
Old-Growth Rain Forests.
Icebergs, glaciers, sunrises, sunsets, misty mornings, improbable clouds.
I'll close with my favorite shot. I looked out our cabin window one morning around 5:00, hoping to catch a sunrise to photograph. I saw this instead,
If you are interested in our itinerary or day by day details of our trip, let me know. Basically, we were in the Glacier National Park and then the Inner Passage.
I hope you enjoyed this travel journal.
We are now off to a drive through British Columbia and Alberta.
bette (and steven)