Vacation Experiences

WIH

Inside Passage to Alaska: 12-19 May, 2004

 

Eleanor and I recently travelled The Inside Passage to Alaska for the 4th time on Holland America. We had unaccustomed luxury this time with an upgrade to a suite that came with a private veranda and complimentary champagne.

 

Eleanor panned for gold at an abandoned mine near Juneau but failed to find the mother lode. "Sourdough Bob" was one of two guides who showed the tourists how to find a few flakes of placer gold.

 

In Glacier National Park we were given a close view of the face of the Marjorie Glacier and were treated to the noise and sight of more calving than we had seen on our previous visits. A park ranger provided commentary and the chefs served hot pea soup.

The weather was mostly sunny for the entire cruise, except for a cloudy day in Glacier Bay. This was fortunate since the glare from the sun had been annoyingly harsh on previous visits.

 

In Skagway, we were the only ship in port, a pleasant change from previous visits when three ships in port resulted in a crush of people and tour busses. One of the locals told us they were expecting six ships on a single day in July: a good day to avoid! (HAL's Volendam can be seen behind Eleanor at the end of the main drag.)

 

We didn't actually visit Haines, Alaska, but i took this shot from the veranda about 9 PM as we left Juneau. The scene reminded me of a poem I have hanging on the wall of my office that speaks of living "beneath the hooded mountain's face".

 

Eleanor's choice for an excursion in Ketchikan was a demonstration of loggers' skills. A Canadian team "competed" with an American team. Of course, the Canadians won!

 

The "competition" included chopping, sawing, pole climbing and, of course, log rolling (left). Notice that the Canadian team wore red shirts and red toques. Don't we all?

 

A "street" in downtown Ketchikan, supposedly the home of the red light district in the town's "historic" past, now a line of shops for the tourists.

On one of our previous visits, the river had been filled with spawning sockeye salmon but, this time, it was empty.

 

The Carnival Spirit trailed HAL's Volendam as we wound through Seymour Narrows on the approach to Campbell River. Because of the high tidal flows, even the cruise ships transit these narrows near a slack.

Both ships were in Ketchikan at the same time and it was obvious that Carnival attracts a very different (younger) clientele than Holland America, in spite of the same ownership.

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whughes@whughes.ca