Monday, July 9, 2012
Here is a picture of our cruise ship the Star Princess. 950 feet long, 118 feet wide. Max number of passengers 3100, maximum number of crew 1205. We averaged 16-19.6 knots per hour. And enough life boats for all of us!!!!!
5 salmon are fished out of these waters-chum, sockeye, king, silver and pink salmon. It is the "Banana Belt" of Alaska noted for temperate temps and a whopping 152+ inches of rain per year. They are noted for their totem poles, from the Tlingit tribe of Indians that inhabited the area. Did you know, it is not always bad to be the low man on the totem pole. There are life sized totem poles throughout this port, but I saw this nice little grouping in a souvenir shop.
Noted for Creek Street, (pictured above) "Where both men and fish head upstream to spawn", the booming red light district back in the day, but now there are delightful little shops along the streams where one can shop til you drop!
We had a great time shopping. I ended up having to purchase a warmer rain coat with fleece lining. With all my preparation for this trip,I was not prepared for the damp bone chilling winds.
TRACY ARM FJORD GLACIER
On to Juneau! The capital, it is the only state capital in the US with no road access. Only accessible by sea or air. The town of Juneau is built atop mining tailings from the old mines. I also had my picture taken with Sara Palin while I was there.
While leaving Juneau, I spotted my first humpback whales, and not just their spouts. One had a baby. These whales are 50 feet long, and weigh in at 1 ton per foot. The naturalist said they never sleep, just rest at the surface. If they slept they would drown. The whales did not look that big from atop the 17th floor. The shopping was great!
The gateway to the gold rush. There were two ways to get to the Yukon territory through Skagway, The shortest trail was the Chilkoot trail and was only 33 miles, but had a hellish 1/4 mile climb 1000 feet up. This had to be scaled 20-40 times as the Canadian government made it mandatory for each person to carry with them and have in their possession 1 ton of goods to survive in Canada. The second route was longer the White Pass and was 10 miles longer, but did not have the vertical climb that the Chilkoot trail had. Dead horse trail is in this pass where 3000 horses died along the route. The horses were worked to death and then left, also if a dog could not carry its own weight it met the same fate. They have a scenic train ride through this pass.
Many of the men who went prospecting, by the time they made it to the Yukon, the gold was all gone. Jack London partook in this journey. He did not strike it rich in gold, but struck it rich in memories and wrote books of this journey. One that I recall was "Call Of The Wild". A book much loved by me.
Also my friend Sara Palin came with her family at 6 weeks of age and was raised here.
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Craigdarroch castle. Owned by the Robert Dunsmuir who discovered the richest seam of coal in Vancouver island in 1869. His lavish home with 39 rooms is considered to be one of the finest in North America. The tour through this castle ended at 7 pm so we were unable to go through it, as that is when we arrived. It supposedly has priceless antiques, intricate woodwork and exquisite Victorian-era stained glass windows.
Bottom picture is a street scene of the Irish Pub in downtown Victoria. You can see my mom and dad in front. My dad has on the white cap and green coat, and my mom is to his left.
I have tried to highlight my trip, but I took 139 pictures and can't get them all in my blog unfortunately. It was the end of another chapter of my life, and a big one.
Oh, I forgot to mention the FOOD. I can't say enough about it. The chefs were great. I had seafood every day, sometimes twice daily. They say one puts on 1# per day when on a cruise, well in a few more weeks, I will weigh myself and check out this fact. Also, another thing about this cruise, they have everything imaginable to do when you are stuck on board ship. I took a few line dancing classes, saw Broadway comparable song and dance programs, they had bingo, movies, swimming pools , hot tubs, a library. If you wanted to listen to a live string quartet, or jazz they had that. Something going on every hour of every day. You can go through this vacation brain dead, or really come away with learning something about the area. A once in a lifetime adventure, but I hope that I can do it again someday. Thank you Mom and Dad!!!