Part 4 of 9: Juneau – Nature Trails & Humpback Whales
In August of 2009, I (Sharon) deserted my husband Joe and our puppy Dobby (at the time we had had her for about a month and a half) to go on a cruise to Alaska with the choir of which I was a member at the time (we were booked to sing on the ship). Some of my writing style has changed since 2009, some of my snark is exactly the same and heaven knows that cameras and photos have improved in the past 8 years, but here is the trip report I wrote about those adventures…the good, the bad and the ugly! To get up-to-date on the trip:
I woke up at 6:35am and my breakfast (same as yesterday – Egg Beaters omelette, grapefruit and coffee) arrived at 7:10am. Out the door at 7:30ish, I got a little lost and didn’t get to the 8:00am rehearsal until nearly 7:50am – to a room that was nearly directly just 4 floors below me, LOL!
Rehearsals went fine…our conductor set us up on stage, we did a run-through of most of our songs and were done by 8:55am or so.
I went back to the Explorations Cafe to “loan” Nancy and Jessie computer time for them to fix something that would best be done on the ‘net, but Jessie was late in getting there to meet me so we decided to do it later. Meanwhile, I tried to log on with my computer and couldn’t – apparently we had lost satellite signal because of the mountains on either side of us. So I kept myself happy by looking at the scenery, both from the comfortableness of inside and, for a few minutes, from the dreary, wet, cold, windy miserableness of inside.
I decided I was getting hungry by that point, so I went to the Lido Buffet for my “second breakfast” in the form of a nice bowl of oatmeal. I met Esther there so I had someone to eat with.
I went back to my cabin to get ready for my massage, then went up to 9 Deck for my 11:00am appointment with Melanny. I had a seaweed body masque (it felt weird and smelled even worse, LOL!), then got cocooned into a body wrap that made me sweat, while floating on a bed of water. When that was done, I had a full body massage. She tried to work on my shoulders but, as always, they were just way too tight (NOTE: 8 years later, they still are).
When I was done with my massage, I grabbed some Mexican at the poolside buffet (meh), then went back to the Exploration Cafe to hang out for a while. We were nearing Juneau by this point, so I turned my phone on and lo and behold, I was on AT&T! So I called Joe so I could talk to him for the first time in 3 days, which was, of course, wonderful!
We arrived in Juneau around 2:30pm. I went outside but it was raining and chilly out and, with having to take a shuttle bus to get into town, decided it wasn’t worth my effort when I had a tour in an hour, so I went back inside. I was scheduled to go on the “Photo Safari By Land & Sea” tour at 3:45pm so I went to the designated wait spot at the end of the dock at 3:30ish. Our guide, George, arrived a few minutes later and between our group and a group from another cruise ship, there were 13 of us in total. Esther, one of the ladies from Tampa, was on the same tour.
George was a 24y/o guy with a degree in visual arts. After giving us an overview of Juneau from his POV (The Costco is a hopping place, most people live about 8 miles from town and complain about the 15-minute commute, etc.), he gave an overview of what settings to use on our cameras, whether we had fancy shmancy cameras, aim-and-shoots, or anything in between. We were scheduled to go to a park/forest area to see a the glacier and the forest, followed by a boat ride to possibly see some whales…but the boat was iffy because of the weather, so we would see what happened and if the boat was cancelled, we’d be refunded half of our money.
Mendenhall Glacier was beautiful…and HUGE! And the forest offered all sorts of interesting picture-taking opportunities, using settings I rarely used and/or never knew where to find, LOL!
The boat, thankfully, did not get cancelled so we were able to see several killer whales (relatives of Shamu) as well as humpback whales. The rule is that the boats can’t get within 100 yards of whales but once we’re just outside that boundary, the whales can get as close as they want to us. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to. More unfortunately, the zoom on my camera isn’t that great so my shots are pretty far away. It was still fun to watch, though.
We got back to the ship at 8:15pm, 15 minutes too late for our dinner seating at the Vista Restaurant (we knew that was going to happen – the excursion started at 3:45pm and was 4.5 hours long). Esther and I decided to meet at the Lido Buffet after dropping our stuff off – well, I looked for her and she looked for me but we never did find each other again. The food at the Lido was, as always, just OK. You can’t really make buffeteria food delicious, no matter what you do with it, LOL!
After such a long day, I was ready for bed early and was sleeping before midnight. Goodnight!