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 and Karen,
    I admire your zip-line skills. Thanks again for sharing. Hope the weather improves for you; though nature’s beauty is still amazing.
    Cheers to you both!

  2. What fun you are, you made me smile with that zip line video!!! Love the pics, and your sharp eyes spotting the Eagles…that’s superb! Good to see your lovely wife in the pics.

  3. Dear Jonathan and Karen,
    All amazing. The zip line was tons of fun – from my seat I thought it seemed to take you a long time for you to get back to earth.
    best, Rosie

  4. Awesome job. Thanks for posting. Helps me relive mine 3 weeks ago when I fussed too much trying to do the video. Also nice to actually see the bottom from the top. Our weather was a bit worse.

    Can’t wait to book the same trip again and try the zip again as well. Always nice to sail on HAL and made better by our great captain. 🙂

  5. Way to go on the zip line, had a smile on my face the whole time I was watching your video, it was so exciting.

  6. Omigosh. Loved the video. I did this cruise last year and didn’t zip here; I’m doing this cruise next summer and I’m definitely going to zip here!!

    See you on the 2018 WC!

  7. Great Photos, the Zip Line is really great.
    Sure diffrent Weather Pattern then here in L.V. No Rain


  8. I’m loving these posts! I’ll be boarding the Amsterdam in Seattle on September 11 for my first ever cruise. It’s fascinating to read about this from the Captain’s point of view.

    I chose this particular cruise as my first based on recommendations from friends. They all said Holland America + Alaska + 14 days = a great introduction to cruise travel. I already live in the Pacific NW, so overcast/drizzly/rainy weather is familiar. So looking forward to this!

  9. You are braver than me, Captain. We were on the previous cruise and we watched the riders come from way up the mountain.
    Sorry the weather is so bad and realise we were fortunate to have gorgeous weather for the first week of our cruise.

  10. Great post Jonathan! We envy all that rain as it hasn’t rained here in many weeks and there are some 130+ huge wild fires burning in BC.
    Loved the pics especially the Bergy-bits pictures and it’s nice to hear your voice on the movie bits. Congratulations on the zip-line ride. Hey, nice beard!
    Hugs from Jean & George in BC.

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