20th August

Having completed our turn-round in Seattle, we headed north once more, bound for Ketchikan. The ‘Pacific High Pressure’ area has been sitting over Oregon and Washington State for weeks and consequently they have been basking in high temperatures and glorious weather.  Unfortunately, as a consequence, that high-pressure area pushes all the weather patterns coming across the Gulf of Alaska, north and over South-east Alaska.  We have been in rain and drizzle for days now, (or it’s almost a week).  I write from the Gulf, on our way towards Anchorage for tomorrow morning; yet another day with low cloud and drizzle and, just to add to the mix, a gale is forecast this evening.  The only exception in the weather was Icy strait Point, where the sun broke through briefly, decided it had done enough and disappeared again.  It did give me time to ride the zip-line though, more about that later in the post.  Again, a compendium of photos and videos, taken over the intervening days.

Looking south, from berth No 2

Looking north, the Regatta berthed on No 3

The Container berth, on Tongass Narrows. Barges from Seattle/Tacoma are towed here and distributed

The northern section of Tongass Narrows and the shipyard, the ferry plies between the town and the airport float.

While opposite the shipyard is the airport; an Alaska Air about to touch down.

No taxi ranks, but plenty of alternatives!

No roads for your car? well, just take the plane….

A nice fixer-upper on Tongass narrows

Passing Guard Island and the lighthouse, whales feeding close inshore

Then on to Endicott Arm on yet another dull morning…..

A passing Orca

A massive bergy-bit, this one is the largest I’ve seen in Endicott

The rain reveals new waterfalls and cascading old ones. Here a private yacht and kayaks

Glorious glacially carved valleys

Mist-shrouded cliffs

The weather brought out all sorts of strange clothing, it was quite cold.

Waterfall and Hanging glacier

Bergy-Bits come in all shapes and sizes

I tried the camera video option while off Dawes glacier, not entirely successful, I couldn’t zoom-in smoothly, however it did capture the scenes much better than the GoPro.

After Endicott Arm we transit ‘Stephens Passage’.  As Juneau, our next port, is so close, we anchor for the night and then weigh anchor at 6 a.m., proceeding into Juneau.

The ‘rock dump’ terminal, built on the ‘tailings’ from the old AJ gold mine

Juneau harbour, the 2 (new) floating docks can be seen ahead. They were built last winter, after the Cruise season had finished.

The Float-plane dock, behind it is where the small tour boats berth and behind them the Coast guard berth, with tenders triple-banked.

K1 and the “Amsterdam”

Juneau Main street, Gold Creek, where the first ‘strike’ started, lies in the background, under the tree-lined mountain.

We went up Mt. Roberts tramway

An aerial view of Juneau

Looking south, the Gastineau Channel and the “Volendam” on her way into the harbour

The whole area is a temperate rain-forest. here trees are bent from the weight of winter snow.

The “Volendam” passes the “Disney Wonder” which is berthed on AJ dock.

The Raptor centre look after a wounded Bald eagle

The “Amsterdam”, (right) and “Volendam”

Us, through the mist that drifts through the trees.

We had an encounter with a HUGE bear while we up there!!


And so, onto Icy Strait Point and the zip-line.  I had a few comments from you, my readers, demanding a video of me riding the thing.  Well, anything to oblige :-).  

The line starts at a height of 480m, or 1550 feet.  It takes approximately 90 seconds and one (with my weight) will go down at 60 mph, (100 kph). I found that holding a GoPro and trying to maintain steady ‘flight’ was difficult; one is meant to use one’s hands to apply pressure, (against the wind), thus keeping straight, no wonder then that with one hand, ‘flight’ was ‘wobbly’  🙄 

View from the top

With a telephoto lens, the “Amsterdam’ 1500 feet below.

I posted some photographs of Icy Strait Point on a previous post, however here are a few of the Cannery, with the original equipment on display.

Hoonah in the early 1900’s

The Salmon canning machine

Finally, on walking back to the ship, I spotted a pair of Bald eagles in a tree above:-




18 thoughts on “20th August”

  1. Captain, the zip line video was absolutely awesome, thanks for sharing, it looked great fun. Your blogs are brilliant and I so look forward to receiving them. Safe travels. Justin

  2. My wife and I were aboard Amsterdam on the 14 day Alaska trip recently (c.Aug 20, etc.). During your address to the passengers you described your trips to Antartica as “spiritual.” That certainly got our attention, coming from one as widely travelled as yourself. My wife, Yoga adept as she is, could probably survive one of those rough and ready adventure ships, however, she likes her comforts, much like her beat up and mostly blind husband. How should we get a first taste of that icy wonderland?

    1. You can check on the HAL website, however I see the Zaandam is doing a 22- day South America, including Antarctica, on the 6th January 2018, starting from Buenos Aires. Hope this helps.

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