I’m telling y’all, there were times on this cruise that I felt like I’d never been on an Alaskan cruise 4 other times in the past. I don’t know why that is, but, this time, I seemed to pause many more times to take in the gorgeousness that surrounded us at just about every turn. Such was the case on the morning that we cruised oh so quietly into Juneau Harbor. There was a mist that was just dwelling in the crooks and crannies of the mountains and hovering over the city of Juneau…it looked almost mesmerizing. I had never seen it look the way it did that morning and in addition, I did not remember the Harbor being so pretty. Here are a couple of pictures that we captured that morning:
The Norwegian Jewel beat us into port…Here she is sitting prettily in the mist:
I stepped out on our balcony and did a Facebook Live video that morning…I’ll post that here for y’all to take a peek and listen at:
Once that mist lifted, the blue skies appeared and it looked as if we were going to have a lovely day in Juneau….Here are some pictures of Juneau Harbor as you look across that bridge to Douglas Island and beyond. Chris caught these while I was getting ready for the day:
Here is the Princess Patter for that day:
And here was my choice of outfit for the day…I added a jacket to this choice because I knew that it would be quite cool on the water when we went whale watching (and it was):
We lounged around in our Stateroom until it was almost time for our excursion with Harv and Marv’s Outback Alaska – Whale Watching.
We were so looking forward to this adventure! In the past, we had always taken the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Quest excursion through Princess (4 times), and those trips were absolutely amazing, but, this time with Harv and Marv’s, we’d be on a much smaller boat (pros and cons…I’ll lament upon that further in a bit). We had made arrangements for this excursion online before we came, so we knew just what to look for once we disembarked and were on the dock…a Harv and Marv’s employee in a bright orange jacket holding a sign…we found that fellow pretty easily, I have not one picture of him though because I was busily chatting along with him and the others who’d be on the excursion with us that day. Anyway, he led us to a van where we climbed aboard and were transported over to Auke Bay and to where our smaller boat and her Captain were waiting to take us out on the water to find some humpback whales and as you’ll see, a few other creatures as well. 🙂 I neglected to take a picture (slacker that I am…lol) of that van, but, here is a picture of one just like we rode in that I pulled off of their website:
The driver gave great commentary as she drove us through Juneau on our way to Auke Bay, and we chatted with the folks from other cruise lines who she had picked up on her way to us. It was quite an enjoyable little trip. It took us every bit of 1/2 hour to get to our destination. When we arrived, all we could see was that mist that we had seen while coming into Juneau Harbor. It was ALL over the place. Come to find out, a family that was in the van with us had been scheduled for their whale watching trip that morning, but their boat Captain cancelled that trip because of the mist and thankfully there was room on our boat for them. The mist was *starting* to lift, but, it was an eerie little trip at first…haha…not.even.kidding. Here is one of Harv and Marv’s boats, and we rode in one very similar to this one:
I believe ours was called “The Alaskan”, here is a picture that I took of the inside:
It was quite a nice little boat, very clean, and the employees that we’d come in contact with including the Naturalist on board and the Captain were so very nice and welcoming!! This is a GREAT company and they bend over backwards to make sure your trip is awesome!!
Now, some thoughts about going on the smaller boat.
~Cons: It is a rockier ride…*much* rockier than on one of the bigger catamarans that we’ve always been on before, so if you are at all prone to sea-sickness (we are not), this probably isn’t the excursion for you. And it was a bit more difficult to steady ourselves to take our pictures. In all honesty as well, Chris missed having an upper deck which always provided him a higher vantage point for taking pictures.
~Pros: The personal touch is something that I enjoyed greatly, the Naturalist took time out to answer all of my geeky questions. He was a wealth of information that I just drank in. I told him about the bubble net feeding that we’d witnessed in Snow Passage and we figured out together that we had seen one of the whales in the books they carry with them of the whales that are regularly seen in Alaskan waters. Here are the pages we were scouring trying to find that whale tail from just the evening before:
(And just a reminder picture, here is the whale tail that we saw from the Coral in Snow Passage, a match to #1758 in his book):
To say that I was excited about that was an understatement. 🙂 So yes, a big PRO for me…Also, the smaller group of people was very nice, I believe we only had 16 people aboard. We all got to know one another pretty well and it was a nice atmosphere. Our Captain Gabe was *excellent*! He was determined to give us the experience of a lifetime, so we headed straight through that mist that was hanging over the water (no pictures…ugh to me) and was very successful at finding us some whales to view which of course was the biggest PRO of all. The first Humpback that we came upon was sleeping…haha…and was not awakened by our presence. It just rolled around and took breaths and obviously did not have a care in the world:
We moved on from this sleeping giant and were almost out to the Lynn Canal which apparently has a pretty intense current running through it which gathers up tons of good eats for the whales…and that is where we hit the jackpot. Here are some of the whale shots we caught on this very special day:
Here is one little video that I caught:
Well, it was just about time to return to shore, but, before we did, Captain Gabe took us over to this Coast Guard buoy on which Stellar Sea Lions *always* are vying for position to lay upon. 🙂 Here are some pictures and then I’ll add a little video that I took of these funny, loud, and pretty lazy creatures. I LOVED seeing them “chat” (honk and holler) at one another:
OMGosh, did they put on a show or what?!! I guess that’s what they do all day, every day, in-between meals. 🙂
As we were heading back in, the Captain pointed out Mendenhall Glacier to us…WOW, was it ever gorgeous to gaze upon from the water!! I was blown away…This is the first time that I’d ever seen it from that vantage point. Here is a picture that Chris captured:
Oh what a wonderful time we had had on Auke Bay with the folks at Harv and Marv’s. Here is a little souvenir that they gave to us as we were disembarking. BTW, we do give tips to our excursion hosts, so we slipped Captain Gabe a $10 bill as we were disembarking.
We climbed aboard a motor coach for the trip back to the cruise dock, the driver stopped so that we could get out and take a few more shots of Mendenhall Glacier:
And on we traveled back to the cruise ship dock:
Then the driver dropped us off at the end of the cruise dock–Traffic was awful on this day and he had offered to take us right back to our ship, but, we ended up telling him not to worry about and we walked on down the dock. Our next stop on our way back to the ship was going to be an amazing place to eat right there on the dock on our way to the ship and that was Tracy’s King Crab Shack, Here are some of the sights we saw while walking to Tracy’s.
And there is Tracy’s to the left:
Here is the menu, we both chose the “Crab Shack Combo” and Chris got an extra king crab leg:
To say that we had an awesome meal is a huge understatement! It was delicious!! As you can see, we ate outside in the sunlight…it was lovely. 🙂
It was time for us to head back “home” to the Coral Princess now; for the first time I wasn’t too sad to do so because I knew that we’d be right back here the next week. 🙂 I doubted if we’d eat at Tracy’s again though (it was pretty pricey…haha), so we caught these pictures as we were fixin’ to walk back to the ship:
There is Mount Robert’s Tramway:
And look who we saw gazing down at us from the trees. 🙂
Do y’all know what? I was pooped! But, we’d had a wonderful day in Juneau. I got to see the tops of the mountains for the first time ever (on this our 5th visit to the city), I went on a new whale watching adventure on a small boat with awesome people, I got to eat king crab legs outside on a beautiful sunny day with the love of my life. What more could a girl ask?! Not much I’d say, not much. 🙂 If memory serves, we gathered ourselves up some pizza later on that evening (Princess has the BEST pizza btw), settled in and just relaxed on our balcony for the rest of the evening. Again, I felt so blessed and thankful that we were able to be in that spot at that moment in time and I drank in every single second, holding on to those memories, tucking them deep inside my mind and heart. I know that sounds so sappy, but that is truly how I felt on that day.
Okie dokie, our next stop was Skagway! Wait till y’all see what I have to share with you from our adventures on that special day! Sneak peek:
***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***
~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤