We are on a 14-day itinerary again. Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, (also known as Hoonah), then to Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Hubbard Glacier, Sitka, Victoria B.C. and back to Seattle. This is the last of these 14-day and only two 7-day voyages to go after that, at which time we leave Alaska for 2014.
Mixed weather, the inevitable fog, of course, all the way up the west coast of Canada and the incessant whistle-blowing; sounding every 2 minutes one finds it lulling you to sleep at night, (when one has the opportunity), waking up when it stops, albeit briefly before it starts again.
On our way towards Tracy Arm and in between the fog banks, a hawk alighted on our stem post, (the small ‘mast’ right on the bow of the ship). In its claws it carried what appeared to be a small pigeon which it promptly started to devour, feathers flying everywhere as it did so.
Not quite as bad as an occasion on another ship, after leaving Skagway some years ago, a moose was sighted ahead, swimming across the channel, (the Lynn Canal). Dutifully announcing this unusual sight, the guests thronged the deck for the inevitable photographs. Then, fins appeared, a pod of Orca (killer whales) having been attracted by the noise of a swimming moose, decide that this unusual occurrence was an opportunity for something other than seal meat and promptly started to demolish the moose, right next to us. Children’s eyes were covered by their parents as the feeding frenzy reached its inevitable conclusion. One comes to Alaska to admire the scenery and wildlife, however on that occasion it was a little ‘up close and personal’.
Tracy Arm was another successful transit, managing to get within just over ½ a mile from the face. Unusually, Mickey Mouse was cruising the Arm and, as often occurs between passing ships in scenic areas, I took some photos of the “Disney Wonder” and sent them to the Captain, he in turn sent some to me, a nice arrangement.
Hoonah, or Icy Strait Point is a small village on the Icy Strait. Its main income stems from fishing and tourism. Most inhabitants are the native indian Tlingits. There is no berth, (although one is in the planning) and we spend our time ‘hovering’ on joystick. One could anchor, however one has to get quite close inshore to find water shallow enough to do so and, having had one or two ‘experiences’ here over the years, I far prefer the hovering option.
The majority of the Alaskan ports we visit are served by the Alaska Marine Highway ferries. Roads are more or less non-existent and, if they do exist are relatively short; Ketchikan, for instance boasts a grand total of 17 miles of them. Thus the AMH ferries serve an important role in every-day life here. As we ‘hovered’, the AMH ferry Le Conte sailed past, on her way to the ferry terminal.
More to follow as we head north-west, across the Gulf of Alaska for Anchorage and beyond………..