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Seattle-Ketchikan-Juneau-Skagway

June 18, 2009

We arrived in Seattle on Sunday & spent the morning in the city before boarding the cruise ship. Pike's Place market had the freshest flowers and fruit and seafood. The huge giant squid at Seattle Aquarium was pretty amazing; the otters were cute and fun to watch as they raced around on their backs holding shellfish to eat. We had a 360-degree view of the city from the top of the Space Needle then left for the ship. The Star Princess is truly gigantic, with 17 floors, including bars, clubs, swimming pools, restaurants, shops, theaters, a casino, a spa, and a gym. There are 2,700 passengers with us, mostly old retired couples, and 1,200 crew, all foreigners. The food is amazing & included in the price of the cruise, so I've been eating way too much. Other than that I spend most of my time in the gym, jogging around then deck, & at the slot machines n the casino. Humpback whales were spouting and slapping their tails from the upper decks as I ran.

Our first stop was Ketchkan, a long, narrow little town composed of wooden buildings on stilts. We saw a lumberjack show where they throw axes and climb tall poles and carve things with chainsaws. The next morning on the ship I woke up to a myriad of little icebergs outside my window. We were in Tracy Arm Fjord, a narrow passage surrounded by granite cliffs and snow capped peaks with hundreds of waterfalls cascading to the sea.

We arrived in Juneau yesterday, where several huge bald eagles were fishing or just sitting around on the dock. We took a tram, or cable car-type thing up one of the mountains to hike around in the snow in a light rain. From there we got on a helicopter & saw some spectacular glaciers with the bluest blue ponds, deep crevasses, and a few bears here and there. The dogsled camp was situated on one of the glaciers, on a 3-mile flat between two mountains. It was extensive, with 250 dogs, and staff that have raced in the Ididerod. It was freezing cold as we took turns driving the dogs, fresh snow stinging our faces. At one point we tipped onto one runner, and our guide said it was the closest she ever came to flipping one of the sleds.

This morning we went rock climbing & rapelling in Skagway. It was way harder and scarrier than I expected. I made it to the top of two of the intermediate courses then had enough. Tonight we'll be back on the ship for more of the best salmon & crab I've ever had. The desserts are fabulous too :)

Tags: alaska, cruise, juneau, ketchikan, seattle, skagway, travel


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