Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alaska Cruise

We had such a great time in Alaska! We went on the Princess cruise line on the 'Golden Princess' ship. We went with most of Blake's office as a reward for meeting some tough goals. Blake's grandpa Bert and grandma Gooney (you will see from some of the pictures why we call her Gooney) also came with us and some of Dirk's friends from college who now live in Louisiana joined us as well. The whole trip was awesome! The ship started in Seattle then went to Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord (where you look at glaciers), Ketchikan, Victoria B.C., and back to Seattle. It was pretty cold in Alaska, but it was a nice break from the heat here! All of the pictures are in the slide show, but here are a few great ones from each location!

We didn't go see the space needle, but here is a great picture of it from the distance. We did go check out Pike's market, which is a great farmer's market and fish market. We also went and walked along the pier and ate some great mini doughnuts that Kelly remembered from his mission in Seattle!

Our first port was Juneau. Blake and I took a fly fishing excursion that was awesome! We took a float plane to a spot where a glacier fed river flowed into the ocean. This wasn't the original spot the outfitters wanted to take us, but the seas were too rought to land where they had originally planned. Blake caught quite a few dolly vardon and a couple pink salmon; one was really nice. I caught one dolly vardon, but just enjoyed being out there! At one point, a momma grizzly bear with a cub swam across the river about 200 yards upstream from us. It was fun to watch them. While I was busy taking the bear's picture, Blake caught a huge dolly vardon and the guide couldn't believe I was taking a picture of the bears and not his fish. I did get one picture, but it is too far away to see much. Even though it rained most of the day, we still had a great time!

In Skagway, Blake went fishing with Dirk, Trudy, Kelly, and Jen. Don, Jackie, and I visited a dog musher's camp where they use Iditarod dogs to pull you on a wheeled cart. I need to get some pictures from Jen from the fishing, but here are some from the dog camp. We learned that they don't use the typical Malamut looking dogs for the Iditarod. They are more like mutts that they breed speicifically to be lean and fast.

Joe, our dog musher, finished the Iditarod last year in 12 days. The winner finished in 9 days. He brought us this dog to pet and play with before we went for the ride. After we played with the dogs, Don, Jackie, and I walked around town and did a little shopping. There are many Native American Totem Poles in Alaska and I couldn't resist having my picture taken by one!

Blake was the number one fisher on the fishing excursion he took to Chilcoot Lake and they gave him that sweet blue hat to show for it!
Tracy Arm Fjord
A fjord is a narrow arm of sea bordered by steep cliffs, usually formed by glaciers. On Wednesday, we started up Tracy Arm Fjord to see the glaciers. We didn't make it up too far, however, because the icebergs to were too big and close together to get the ship up. The captain decided we couldn't get through on that particular day, but we still were able to see some gorgeous sights. The icebergs were magnificant.

That ship is much larger that it seems, which means the icebergs are also much larger than they seem! There is actually a small boat on top of that ship, which shows how large it really is.

Ketchikan was wonderful too. It did not rain, which is unusual considering they get about 150 inches of rain a year. The boys went fishing in Ketchikan and the girls went bear watching! It was a blast! We took a float plane to an island where there is a salmon hatchery and the black bears catch the salmon as they are coming back up to spawn! We saw some awesome sights and a ton of eagles as well! The boys caught 11 salmon that they had shipped home! I will get some pictures of those from Kelly and post them!

That bear actually has blood on his nose from eating the fish!

Victoria, British Columbia
We pulled into Victoria about 7:00 Friday night. We decided to take a petty cab (that's the ones where the people pull you with a bicycle) and tour the city. It was very interesting to see the sights in Victoria and learn a little about Canada's government.

Here are some general pictures from the cruise: one of our ship from the air during a float plane flight and some cute ones at various dinners. You can definitely see why we call Blake's grandma 'Gooney,' she is just silly!