Alaska: B2B Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise SB-Episode #11 Hubbard Glacier

Our first “Scenic Cruising” day on our Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise began as a rather cloudy, drizzly day.  There was a chill in the air as we cruised toward Yakutat Bay in route to the magnificent Hubbard Glacier.  We’d seen Hubbard 3 other times on our SB Voyage of the Glaciers cruises, and she had always be shrouded in a mist and almost hard to make out.  I’m excited to say that on this day, we experienced Hubbard like we had never experienced her before—yes, still in the mist BUT, the ship got so close to her this time, I almost felt like I could reach out and touch her face…OH how I wish I could have really done that.

Here is the outfit that I chose for this relaxing day on board the beautiful Coral Princess:

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And here is the Princess Patter:

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Chris and I spent the day just walking around the ship and relaxing, honesty. I did click off some pictures while we tootled around. 🙂

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We were quite impressed with this violinist, he never once looked at a piece of music:

I believe we caught brunch at the IC (International Cafe) that day and then around 3:00pm, we made sure we were back in our Stateroom setting our video camera up on its tripod out on the balcony and making other preparations to sail up to Hubbard Glacier.  We knew we were getting closer to Yakutat Bay when the Pilot came aboard to help navigate his local waters.

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And then as we were very quietly sailing toward that massive wall of ice in the distance, our Naturalist’s commentary started…

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Here we were on our balcony and at the ready to see the super-star of this day:

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I am going to share a video that I created to try to bring you along with us on this day.  After the video, I’ll share a plethora of pictures that we captured. As you’ll hear in the video, we’d never been as close as we eventually got to this glacier, it took my breath away, I was amazed, I was touched, and I was humbled. As I watched the ice bergs float by the ship bobbing up and down gently in the water and realizing that they were the size of small cars, as I took deep breaths of some of the freshest air ever, as I felt the air get chillier and chillier, I was again reminded just how small and insignificant we are compared to all of the massive beauty that was surrounding us at that moment in time. My memories are well ensconced in my mind and they are easily conjured up at a moment’s notice…Someone once asked me how I remember these moments so well, trust me, they are easily remembered when such times make such an intense impression in my heart and mind,  Okay, I’ll stop yammering along and start sharing the magic of this day with you:

 

And here we go with a lot of the pictures that we captured:

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What a magnificent show that beauty put on for us on that day!! As we were cruising away, I got a little twang in my belly…I do not know if I will ever be lucky enough to ever return to this gorgeous place, I remember stopping and saying a prayer of thanks for allowing us to once again bask in the absolute magnificence of Hubbard Glacier.

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Chris and I stayed out on our balcony for a very, very long time on this evening.  The skies cleared up and the mountains started to show themselves in all of their glory.  Here are some shots that we took while we sailed away as the sun was shining on our little corner of the world at that moment in time; we were in awe:

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As the sun set on this day, I was contently snuggled up in my nice warm jacket and just watching as the quiet of the evening engulfed me. I was calm, I was happy, I was contented, and as a tear of joy ran down my cheek (no really that really happened because I am such a sap) I once again “felt” Alaska.

Up next…our trip into Glacier Bay!! Sneak Peek:

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**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! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers – Episode #10 – Turn-Around Day: Whittier, AK & the 26 Glaciers Cruise, Tour of the Seychelles Suite D701

Our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise had officially come to an end and normally, I would have been crying big elephant tears because I would have been walking off of the ship and making my way home. BUT, for the first time ever, all I had to do was to literally walk down the hallway from our mini suite D407 (mid-ship) to the Seychelles Suite D701 (aft) and begin our next adventure, the Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise.  Before we left our mini suite to make the transition to our next stateroom, we received this “Log of the Cruise” for the Northbound leg of our cruise in our ‘mailbox’:

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Yes, yes, I did say that we’d be moving to a suite for this part of our journey…let me tell y’all, I literally got lucky and found that suite on Princess.com for not too, too much more money than what we would have had to pay for the mini suite, so we jumped at the chance to experience the suite life in that sweet suite! There were many perks that came with staying in a suite, one of which was that we got double the “Captain Circle” points to go toward our ‘loyalty level’.  Truly, if I’m honest, and I am never not honest, I can NOT stand to hear folks lamenting about how wonderful they are because they are Platinum or Elite members of the Captain’s Circle (Princess’ Loyalty Level Program)–All it really means is that they’ve spent a copious amount of money with Princess cruises in the past and “expect” perks for doing so–blah, I’m just happy to be able to cruise thank-you-very-much!  We are Platinum and still have like 6 or 7 more cruises to go until we hit Elite.  I hope upon hope that I remain humble and grateful for each upcoming cruise that we are blessed enough to take and never, ever worry about what level I have attained in the Captain’s Circle. 🙂

ANYway, let me tell you about the “Turn-Around Day” process so that those of you who might take a back to back (b2b) cruise moving forward will know what to expect. The evening before the last day we received a packet from Princess that included this letter and instructions:

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As you saw in the information above, we didn’t have to pack up completely, instead, I had used my packing cubes and garment folder and Chris had done the same, and we packed up all of the items that we had in our drawers and out on shelves into our suitcases.  We left all clothing that was hung up on the hangers alone and before we knew it, our room Steward Kurt knocked on our door and told us that our next accommodations were ready for us to move in to.  We were blown away, we fully expected that we’d need to wait until after we were back from our planned excursion (the 26 Glaciers Cruise) before we’d be able to unpack and such. Instead, here came Kurt with a helper who had a cart in tow. They started to fill up that cart with our suitcases and hangers and whoosh, we were heading toward the aft and to our next room the Seychelles Suite D701. There was such a flurry of activity that I neglected to take one picture of that process…go me right?! Gracious! We arrived at our stateroom to more of a flurry of activity and Kurt introduced us to our next room Steward, Jimmy. Kurt had told us that he had already told Jimmy all about us, that we were very kind, down to earth folks. Jimmy was so kind right from the very start, so much so that I told him to calm down, that we would not expect to be treated in any special way…hard to explain really. Bottom line, we are just regular folks who don’t need special treatment.

Here is a Facebook Live video that I took shortly after we got unpacked in our new digs for the week:

And here is a link to a much slower paced and detailed tour of the Seychelles Suite that I created for my YouTube “Arlynn’s Travels” Channel:

Here are some still shots of The Seychelles Suite:

We’d be leaving soon with our “Passenger in Transit” cards and our new cruise cards to go to meet our guide in the cruise terminal for the 26 Glaciers Cruise, but, as we waited, we got to see the flurry of activity that occurs before one ever steps on the ship on turn-around day.  First, there were some officers in the Seychelles Suite as we were arriving there and they were inspecting everything–as I mentioned in my live video above, there are a team of 5 of them that inspect every single stateroom on the ship before boarding begins. In addition, the things that we had ordered via our Cruise Personalizer before the cruise started to arrive such as, my spiffy cup that went along with my “Soda & More” package & our water package (BTW—PLEASE be aware that if you would like a water package for your cruise that you *must* order it via your Cruise Personalizer *before* your cruise. A water package is not available once aboard):

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Here are some pictures of the beautiful town of Whittier…Well, pictures that Chris took in the wee hours of the morning and then a few that we took while waiting to depart for our excursion:

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Here is the outfit that I chose for this day:

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We were ready to go!

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Here is the Princess Patter for that day and some of the other paperwork that the Princess folks dropped in our mailbox that morning:

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A couple of Suite perks that we weren’t prepared for were these two lovelies…The plate of tasty treats was just a one time deal, but, the fruit bowl was refilled each day (and we could choose the kind of fruit we preferred):

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Okie dokie, it was finally time for us to disembark and head to our mode of transportation for the 26-Glacier cruise, the Klondike Express:

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Our first stop was the cruise terminal where we met our guide who gave us our table assignment card and our lunch tickets and led us to a line where we waited to board–BTW, we’d chosen what we wanted to eat earlier in our Northbound cruise. You can see our tickets from Princess in the envelope below the lunch and table assignment cards, I had arranged for this tour through Princess via my Cruise Personalizer months and months ago:

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And onto the Klondike Express we stepped, here is a little brochure that was sitting atop our assigned table when we got there–btw, we shared a table with a lovely couple from California…shout out to Erin and David!

And after a little safety talk from the Captain, we started on our journey…It was a magical day filled with sights that were just astounding, amazing, phenomenal, and very, very memorable.  I took a bit of video on this day and I will post it below, but, first, here are some of the pictures that we caught on this very special excursion. If you ever get the chance, I highly, *highly* recommend that you take this awesome tour!! I am so sorry that I do not remember the names of the glaciers, there were SO many!! lol. All right, get ready for your eyes to have a party now…3-2-1…GO:

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And that my friends was that, I do not even remember where Chris and I ate dinner that evening, I do believe it was at the Horizon Court though. Another Suite amenity is that you get a complementary meal in Sabatini’s (one of the Specialty restaurants) on embarkation day, but, we were bushed when we got back and we called the dine line and were able to reschedule for a day later in the cruise.  Truthfully, we crashed and watched tv for the rest of the evening.  I will say though, that nothing could compete with what we’d already laid our eyes on earlier that day. We had a wonderful time…Alaska just continued to give and give and give to us.

Next up, the magnificent Hubbard Glacier…Here is a sneak peek:

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***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! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers – Episode #9 – NB – College Fjord, Bayou Cafe, & Ship Venue Pics

It was a very surreal feeling waking up on the last morning of our cruise and coming to the realization that that morning would *not* be our last full day on board the beautiful Coral Princess, instead, while everyone else was packing up and readying themselves for their journeys home or to their next destination on the next day, Chris and I would be taking a trip right down the hallway to our new Stateroom where we’d reside for the Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. I just shook my head and pinched myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.  Speaking of dreaming, I’d dreamed for a decade of being able to do just what we were right in the middle of doing, back to back Alaska cruises. We spent most of this day tootling around the ship because we wouldn’t be to our “Scenic Cruising” destination until around 6pm that evening.  We had made reservations at the Bayou Cafe, one of the “Specialty Restaurants” on board, for 6pm too and we’d be doing some of the scenic cruising viewing right from there.  SIDE NOTE:  We’d be taking the 26 Glaciers Cruise out of Whittier, Alaska (where the Coral would be docked) the next day which would take us back into College Fjord only even closer to the glaciers than the cruise ship would be getting).  This was a very low key, relaxed day for us. Shoot, we didn’t even have to pack, well I take that back, we did have to pack the things that we had in the drawers, and I had to gather up all of my magnets and maps and such that I had sticking to the walls…more on how they transferred us in my next post.  For now, let me show you the Princess Patter for this day:

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And here was my outfit for the day:

IMG_8116We decided to eat very lite that day because we knew that we’d be eating a pretty hefty meal at the Bayou Cafe later that evening. So we took our sweet time getting ready that morning and then we headed on up to the Horizon Court for a little bit of a late breakfast.  I must pause here and say that we enjoyed the Horizon’s buffet, whatever time of day we decided to pop in there on this cruise.  Everything was always hot, everything was always super clean and organized, the service crew members were jolly, and the food was excellent.  You will not hear one complaint from us about the Coral’s Buffet.  Here are some pictures that I clicked off on that morning:

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When in the Horizon Court, crew members will come around and ask what you’d like to drink and refill your coffee/tea/whatever else for you. There is also an entire self-service drink station that is always open no matter the time you enter.  Here are a few pictures of what they offer:

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The Amuleto Italian Cafe is also part of the Horizon Court and this is where you can get your choice of sweet treats from cookies, to bread puddings, to cakes, pies, and much, much more. My personal favorite was a warm vanilla cream that they had out almost every day…I would have put that stuff over a steak if I didn’t think I’d be looked at strangely. 😉 lol Of course I’m kidding, w-e-l-l, maybe I’m not. 😉  IMG_1641

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After we were finished with our breakfast, we headed to the “Onboard Outlet Sale” that was being held down on Deck 6 mid-ship in the Provence Dining Room:

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I controlled my urge to pick some things up just because they were a great price and instead picked up these 4 spiffy magnets.  One for myself and one for each of my girlfriends and their hubbies who we’ll be cruising with to the Caribbean in the coming months. 🙂

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After we finished, well I should say, after I finished at the sale (because Chris was waiting out in the Atrium for me…haha), we decided to take a little walk around the ship and click off a few pictures of a few venues. 🙂

This is the Chapel:

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The Wheelhouse Bar:

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We clicked off a couple of shots of the Atrium…Such a pretty area!

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And Crooners:

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Also Meridian Bay:

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I’ll tell you this table of Brighton jewelry called to me for the entire two weeks we were on board because I really love Brighton, but, I abstained and can you believe it, I made it through without purchasing one of these pretties. 🙂 IMG_1041

Here is the Casino:

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And I thought these were super pretty, these were part of the Fine Arts display that they set up and down throughout the week–I believe the final art auction was on this day–don’t quote me though on that one…haha…I don’t have one lick of wall space available for Art so if I’m totally honest, we didn’t pay too much attention (*although* I would love a Robert Kincaid one of these days…<sigh>…more dreams). 🙂

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We then headed back to our Stateroom and hung out in there and leisurely packed up what we needed to pack readying us for our transition to our next room the next morning.  Before we knew it it was time for us to head on down to the Bayou Cafe. I chose to change my outfit for this little outing:

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And here is a picture of the two of us…Chris hadn’t changed yet, he actually wore a dress shirt and slacks (he didn’t want to wear jeans into a Specialty dining venue—I think you could but, he wouldn’t–his preference of which I’m fine and dandy).

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And here is the menu:

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Dinner was delicious…absolutely wonderful!! And this is what we had for dessert the “Buttermilk Bread Pudding with the Pistachio Caramel Sauce” <~~~ HELLO…SO good!!

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As we were sitting and enjoying our dinner, College Fjord was very quietly gliding by as we sat and gazed at its magnificent  glory out of our window seat.  Here are some shots we took while at dinner:

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And then we headed back to our Stateroom and Chris caught a couple more shots. Here was a pretty impressive glacier—BTW, all of the glaciers in College Fjord are named after US Ivy League Colleges. 🙂 Some of the names include: Amherst, Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Harvard, Smith, Vassar, and Yale. This is Harvard Glacier:

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And here it is cropped down a bit–it was a pretty hazy evening and we were I believe the Captain said 13 miles away.

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As you can kind of see by this picture, we were starting to lose the light so Chris and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out on our balcony and watching tv…we are a couple of old curmudgeons sometimes huh?! 😉 We laid our heads down on this our last night on our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise.  One of which, as all of the other Alaska cruises have done in the past, left an indelible imprint in our minds and hearts, filling our very souls with memories that we will hold tight to for the rest of our lives. The next morning, we’d awaken in Whittier, Alaska and we’d be ready and very able to start on a new adventure, our Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise.  As I sit here and write this, I am again brought back to that sweet, contented feeling that I had as I shut my eyes knowing that we had a whole week left in which to drink in even more sights and sound of this my “Happy Place”!

Here is a sneak peek at the next day’s 26 Glaciers Cruise, I canNOT wait to share that awesome day with you (and wait until you get a look at our next week’s Stateroom)…;).

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***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! ❤

~Arlynn

 

 

 

 

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers Cruises: Episode #8 – NB – Glacier Bay National Park

It’s Glacier Bay day you say? Ohhhhhh ***h-e-l-l-o*** to my very favorite “Scenic Cruising” day! The feeling that I’d always gotten after visiting Glacier Bay National Park on each of the 4 previous times we’d been lucky enough to visit was one of complete and total satisfaction. The words that I have used to describe how this place made me feel are numerous and may sound a little gushy, but, pristine, gorgeous, breathtaking, soulful, perfect, and sweet describe just how I had felt when we had been there in the past.  I could sit here all day and tell you how I’ve felt about this place in the past, but, now, in this post, I will be showing you more than telling you about our day. Here was the sunrise that morning:

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Here is a video that Chris took as we were getting ready to sail into Glacier Bay:

 

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Here is the Princess Patter for that day:

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I was up way early and dressed in anticipation of the day we were going to be having, this is the outfit that I started out the day in…

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See that cape?  I love that cape, but, that cape drove me crazy! It was pretty windy as we were sailing into Glacier Bay, and I had a camera in my hands pretty much constantly, and well, let’s just say that I was doing more pulling down and yanking around of that cape while cruising along.  It quickly found a spot on a hanger in the closet and I donned one of my new “Alaska” jackets, the purple one reversed to the navy blue side, here I am much more ready to have my hands at the ready and on my camera instead of wrestling with that lovely cape:

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And here was Chris, standing pretty much where he stood for the entire journey:

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We had a lovely surprise that morning.  A great friend of ours had given us a gift of a “Balcony Breakfast” and we’d chosen to indulge on this morning.

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We had some good eats that morning, a Princess crew member came into our room and set the breakfast up inside of our room because it was a bit damp out on the balcony (AND just to say, it would have been damp if we’d had a covering over the balcony, the rain was coming in side-ways for a time not just dropping from above). ANYhoot, here is what our breakfast looked like that morning–We asked if we could switch out the Champagne for something else because we were not going to drink it–Unfortunately, according to that Princess crew member, that wasn’t an option.  Oh well…we also had hot tea, coffee, and juice to drink.

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YUM!! That was delicious!!!

Here came the Park Rangers, because Glacier Bay is a National Park, Rangers are brought on board so that they can commentate on and educate us about Glacier Bay (you can hear their commentary on the outer decks, in the Horizon Court, and through the stateroom tvs on channel 41).  They also hold a Junior Ranger program for the kids on board. They give “Ranger Talks” in the Theatre, anyway,  you can take a peek at the Patter above to see what all they do while with us.  Here are a few pictures of some of the information that they bring on board with them…you can purchase items as well.

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I walked around by myself for a little bit of time and saw that they set up their table of information on the upper deck of the inside pool area.

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And while I was out and about being nosy, Chris was catching some gorgeous pictures as we were sailing into Glacier Bay…Like I said, I’m going to be showing you more than I tell you in this post. 🙂 Get ready for some gorgeous shots moving forward from here:

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We were starting to come up onto Lamplugh Glacier, first I’ll show you some pictures of this beautiful glacier and then I’ll put in a little video that I created while cruising up to it and while sailing passed it.

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And here is my video:

 

We saw some hanging glaciers as we cruised as well:

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I will admit that this day was not the sunniest day that we’d ever seen in Glacier Bay and it did drizzle on us pretty much the entire time we were in the Bay…But, y’all know what? It didn’t bother us one iota, trust me, *nothing* can ruin Glacier Bay Day…If someone did complain about the weather, and I over-heard them…well, if they looked my way, they’d see the disdain all over my face…get over it people! You are in Alaska, and you are in a place that not everyone gets the privilege to experience…so what, you’re a little wet…dry off and look past yourself and enjoy where you are and what you are seeing!

Anyway, I digress, we were now ever so quietly cruising up to the main attractions of the day. The Grand Pacific Glacier and Margerie Glacier. The Grand Pacific is nick-named the “dirty” glacier for obvious reasons (wait till you see the pictures that I will share with you from our Southbound voyage when I get to that Glacier Bay day, the Grand Pacific will look totally different):

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Margerie Glacier sits to the left of the Grand Pacific, and the Captain will sit and allow one side of the ship to view it for 30 minutes and they he will pivot the ship and allow the other side to view it for the exact same amount of time, we were on the Starboard side of the ship, so we were 2nd in the queue to view.  When it was our turn…my oh my, it took my breath away just like it had done every time I’d seen it.  I will hush now and just add some pictures of the magnificent Margerie Glacier—Watch for the calving pictures, she really performed for us that day.  And then I have a video of me commentating that will morf into that gorgeous ice flow’s calving events that it was kind enough to share with us that day.  Here goes:

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Wow, well now, that was something huh?!  Here is a picture that I caught as we were ever so slowing pulling away from the beautiful Margerie Glacier–As I mentioned in the video, I wasn’t too, too sad this time as I knew that we’d be back again the very next week…how lucky were we?!!

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Chris and I were pretty hungry by this point, so we skipped on off to the Horizon Court for a late lunch:

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We walked around the ship for a little while, here is what the outdoor pool looked like on that day:

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We headed back to our stateroom just in time to see the boat coming back to pick up the Park Rangers, they disembarked when we got back out of Glacier Bay…bye bye girls, see y’all in a week!

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Right after we exited Glacier Bay the Naturalist started commentating from the Bridge, as with the Park Rangers, her voice could be heard on the outer decks, in the Horizon Court, and via the stateroom tv, channel 41.

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We chose to stand on our balcony for this wildlife spotting event.  Here is what we saw floating on by our ship…I was thrilled!!!

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Let’s try to zoom in on one of these little dudes:

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Would you look at that?!  It was Sea Otters!! They were SO cute, they floated by on their backs like they didn’t have a care in the world…and they looked at us like as if to say, “Are y’all crazy?”.  “*This* right here, where we are, is the LIFE!!”  😉 Of course, our bodies might not be quite as adept at handling the water temperatures as these little (that aren’t so little…they are about 5′ long!) tykes are! 🙂

And then as Gloeta was just finishing up with her commentary, we spotted a humpback blow and three little seals as well. I took this picture below…I was completely lucky to catch that whale blow…haha…and you can see the three seal heads bobbing in the background.

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I remember that evening, the rain had finally moved out and we were enjoying standing out on our balcony and drinking in the sights…Honestly, we had no desire to go to one of the shows, we’d much rather watch the show that was going on right outside. 🙂

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As our light started to fade, we caught one more glimpse of one more humpback whale that evening…

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And our day was done, again, this day in Glacier Bay did not disappoint. I was again amazing, humbled, and blown away by the beauty and grandeur of that place.  I was extremely happy that we’d be back once more before we returned home. I remember saying a prayer of thanks for that fact.  Again, when my head hit the pillow that night, I was just about as content as a girl could be.

The next day, we’d be cruising in College Fjord, here is a sneak peek:

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***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! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

 

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers Cruises – Episode #7 – Skagway-Chilkoot Charters Yukon Rail & Bus Tour

Northward we travel on our adventure! On this morning, we arrived in Skagway, Alaska our third and last port of call on this Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers trip–We’d be doing 2 “Scenic Cruising” days after Skagway.  On this morning, it looked like our good weather luck had run out. 😉 There were low lying clouds and mist at the dock.

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As I always like to say though, “Please do *not* book your cruise to Alaska based on the weather!”.  The weather is ever changing and can go from sunny and warm to rainy and chilly in the course of just a few hours.  So we were not upset about this change in weather at all.  I did do a quick morning video, but it was not a Facebook Live video because the cell service was pretty awful there and I could not get a strong enough connection to maintain a Facebook Live video.  Here is what I did make though:

(OH btw, did you see that landslide in the video? We’ll revisited that once we start on our Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise)

(OH btw, did you see that landslide in the video? We’ll revisited that once we start on our Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise).

As you heard me say in the video, we’d be taking an Excursion with Chilkoot Charters and Tours and we’d be doing the Yukon Rail & Bus Tour.  Our tour started pretty early that morning so I went ahead and got myself showered and put together for the day pretty early.  Chris had retrieved our regular coffee and tea from the International Cafe–We did not want to eat a heavy breakfast that morning as we knew we’d be on the go all day long…Sometimes my stomach rebels if I eat too heavy…so I abstained from doing so most mornings that we had an excursion planned.

ANYhoot, here is my outfit for the day, I took a rain jacket with me on this day too…so glad I did, I needed it later:

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Here is the Princess Patter for the day:

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Chris and I were off of the ship by around 8:10am and after a very short walk (like to the end of the ship) we arrived at our meeting place; we were scheduled to meet our Chilkoot Driver by 8:30.  We clicked off some pictures of the beautiful Coral Princess while we waited.

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This is always my favorite port in which to dock.  Because of the clouds on this day, you can’t see the mountains that literally soar up behind the ship, but trust me, they are a sight to behold…just stunning!

It wasn’t long before our driver “Jenny” showed up in her Chilkoot Charters van, I will say, it was so much more pleasant spending the day climbing in and out of this van than it would have been climbing in and out of a motor coach.  Old “bad knees Arlynn” appreciated this van *so* much!

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First let me say that Jenny was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of her, but, she was a cutie pie with pretty red hair. When she told her stories as we climbed the mountains in route to the Yukon, she’d finish each story with “And that happened on a “Friday” or “Saturday” or on another day of the week…I thought that was cute…she had a great sense of humor, I really enjoyed listening to her.  I wish upon everything that I could remember ALL that she said…I don’t know how she keeps all of the information that she imparted to us straight…she was a gem!

All right, let me show you some of the sights we’d be seeing on our way up to Canada…I’m just going to show you a couple of screenshots from Chilkoot’s blurb from their website so that y’all can get a sense of this amazing company–they are very organized and your day is mapped out beautifully!!  (Chris and I did the Bus up and Train back down):

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So we drove through the thriving metropolis (of course said in jest) of Skagway first before we headed up the Klondike Highway to the Yukon, Here are some of the sights we viewed on our way:

This is a snow blower…a very l-a-r-g-e snow blower!!!

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IMG_1307As we traversed up that mountain, we saw SO much that I don’t quite know what was what to be truthful.  BUT, I have a ton of pictures to share and I will label the ones that I’m positive of what they are…

Here was my view btw…our van was only about half full, so I planted myself right in the center of the back seat…I had a great view out of both sides of the van:

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We had traveled past a few “Points of Interest” already and Jenny regaled us with her stories as we drove…I was quite enjoying myself already! We’d passed “The White Pass Trail of Ninety-Eight”, “Brackett Wagon Road”, and “Pitchfork Falls” and one of our first stops was at “Bridal Falls” and while we were stopped and out of the van taking pictures, Jenny took her water bottle over to the falls and filled it right on up with that wonderfully fresh water:

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SIDE NOTE:  My gracious, I look like a big MELON in that jacket…haha…I purchased that one before I left and ordered it up a size…I’m a big girl, but, I didn’t need that jacket to be *quite* that large…lol. OH well, I am who I am huh? 😉

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We hopped back in the van and traveled on up the mountain and around a few turns and then Jenny said that we had a cool photo op coming up.  Bridal Falls from a distance right when the White Pass train was passing over the bridge that spanned the distance over the falls…Here are those shots…pretty cool (and it was pretty cool outside too…the temp was dropping the further North we traveled).

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After taking a look at the “William Moore Bridge”, we stopped at the “Welcome to Alaska” sign for a photo op, Jenny took this picture of us with our own camera. 🙂 I’ve been wanting this picture for YEARS, so I was just tickled to finally be getting it. 🙂

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So Northward we traveled, y’all can take a look at the list of “Points of Interest” above, but, now, I’m just going to show you some pictures of the beauty and grandeur that appeared in front of us…the skies started to clear a bit (for a time) and we really caught some gorgeous shots.

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The Fall colors were out in places too…so, so pretty!1V4A0434

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As we were traveling we passed through Fraiser, British Columbia its claim to fame is that it is a Port of Entry into Canada; we needed to show our Passports to a Border Control fella.  We were not allowed to take photos there.

Jenny decided to zip on past the “Welcome to the Yukon” sign because there were a couple of motor coaches sitting there and all were waiting to get their picture taken with the sign (we stopped later on our way back down to Fraser and the train depot where we’d catch the White Pass Train)…

We rode by “The World’s Smallest Desert”:

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And our next stop was “Emerald Lake”…My gracious, it was breathtakingly gorgeous.  I took a little video of our time there, here it is (please excuse the wind, it was quite breezy that day):

And here are some pictures that we caught while stopped at Emerald Lake:

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Emerald Lake was as far North as we traveled on this trip, so after viewing that beauty, we climbed back in the van and started to head back down the mountain, we’d make a couple more stops along the way, first up was to Caribou Crossing, a quirky little place that the locals have made into quite a nice little stop for tourists.  You can find more information by clicking on Caribou Crossing Trading Post.

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It was a fun little place to visit, you could do a sled dog ride if you wanted to do so, or you could go and look and HOLD the PUPPIES which of course I made a bee-line to do!!

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They also had a petting zoo there…OMGosh y’all, I was in Heaven!!  I purchased a little bag of grain and I took turns feeding “Thelma & Louise” the two beautiful Alpacas and I had enough left over to feed a couple of sweet little goats too. 🙂 I was a happy girl!

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Fun times for me right there!!! ^^^

Next up was lunch…They make the same lunch each day right there on the premises at Caribou Crossing and you just walk in and they hand you a tray with your barbecue chicken and fixin’, and then you are pointed in the direction of a nice eating area. There was complimentary water and coffee available (I think coffee, I don’t drink it and Chris didn’t have any so I might be wrong on the coffee front…haha). (I have no idea what the cost of the meal would bed for someone who was just stopping in for a meal; our meal cost was covered by Chilkoot). And there was a bar in there where folks could get a beer, mixed drink, or soda…I opted for a Diet Coke…we paid a pretty little penny for that too. Regardless, there were donuts for dessert..YUM!

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We had a lovely time at Caribou Crossing and when our time was finished there, we climbed back aboard our van and Jenny transported us to town of Carcross.  It was a lovely little place with the train tracks running straight through the middle.  The town was obviously erected around the tracks and the ‘business’ that they’d bring to help the town survive. 🙂 There were a plethora of shops in which peruse, many of them, well mostly all of them that I saw contained merchandise that was locally made by Alaskans.  I didn’t see anything that met my fancy, but we did get an ice cream cone which was delicious and we strolled around the town until it was time to head to the van and eventually to the White Pass train that would take us on our ride down the White Pass Trail. Here are a few pictures of Carcross:

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Whoops, I forgot about our little stop at the Yukon sign…Here are a couple of pictures that we caught there:

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While we were on our way to Fraser to catch our train, Jenny told us of, and passed around pictures depicting the story of the just how hard it was for gold seekers to traverse the Chilkoot Trail and cross over into Canada (there were actually two mountain passes that led folks to the gold they were seeking, the other one was the White Pass Trail–of course, where they eventually built the railway). ANYway, the Canadian Mounties could see that many of the folks who were trying to make the trip were arriving with way too little goods that would not sustain them through a winter. So a new law was put into place which required all prospectors to bring 1 ton of goods to the border before they’d be allowed to cross over into Canada! It was estimated that it took each prospector 27 trips to achieve that requirement…OMGosh, can you imagine. It is a very interesting story and I encourage you to go ahead and read up on it here.

Here is a picture of a card that Jenny showed us listing the required 1 ton of goods:

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And here is a picture of said 1 ton of good that we took while walking through a little museum at Caribou Crossing:

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Well, right about the time that Jenny was finishing her story, it started to rain…which was okay with us, but, we did put our cameras away for a while.  We transported from the van to the train seamlessly.

Unfortunately, it was so cloudy, rainy, and foggy, we were not able to get pictures of that White Pass…I do know it is absolutely gorgeous though as we’ve done just the train excursion before. I will show you some pictures of the inside of the train car and a few pictures that I took out the window of the train as we slowly made our way back down that mountain pass to Skagway.  It was a very relaxing and lovely ride, we chatted with other folks in our train car and just relaxed.

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There was a stove in each car, and trust me, we needed it that day, it was quite chilly.  Also, there was complimentary bottled water in each train car.

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I guess it took us an hour or so to get back down into Skagway. A Border Control fella came on board to check our Passports once again as of course we had entered the United States on our journey.   By the time we were ready to get off of the train it was practically pouring rain.  Jenny had told us when she dropped us off at the train in Fraser that she wasn’t sure it would be her who picked us up when we disembarked the train (it would be *someone* from Chilkoot), but, there she was waiting for us.  She drove us right on back to where she had picked us up about 8 and a half hours earlier.  We generously tipped Jenny as she had been an amazing little guide, and I might of even given her a hug on my off of that van.  We’d had a lovely, lovely day!!  I have not one more picture of that day though…I was completely exhausted, truly.  Chris and I hurried back to the ship with our hoods on our heads and umbrellas open.  I have no memory of what we did for dinner that night…lol…I’ve been sitting here wracking my brain, <shaking head>.  I’m pretty sure it was the Buffet, either that or Pizza again.  BTW folks, the Horizon Buffet was amazing on the Coral, honestly.  The food was always hot and fresh and the desserts were fantastic.  I’ll be showing and telling you more about that in a future blog post.

All right, I’ll close this one out as our day in Skagway was coming to a close.  I didn’t do a lick of shopping that day, OH except for a baseball cap that I purchased while on the train, but, who needs to shop when there is so much beauty to behold and stories of the gold rush up the White Pass and Chilkoot trails to hear.  I was a very tired but very satisfied lady when my head hit that pillow and when I felt the ship’s oh so subtle movement. I slept like a baby that night. 🙂

Next up, my very favorite day, a “Scenic Cruising” day in Glacier Bay National Park.  Here is a Sneak Peek:

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***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!

~Arlynn ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fall Y’all 2017!

Hi Everyone!!  It has been such a busy time around our home as of late! As most of you know, Chris and I just returned from our back to back Voyage of the Glaciers cruises in Alaska with Princess.  I’ve been diligently working on my blog series for that trip, sharing with you a time that I have already tucked safely away in my heart and mind, I’ll be able to conjure up those memories any time I need to be transported to one of the most gorgeous places on the planet.  If you haven’t happened to see my blog posts about our trip up to this point, here is a link that holds all of the links to the blogs that I’ve written so far (check back often, I have a long way to go to finish that series):

Back to Back Voyage of the Glacier Cruises Blog Series

Before we departed for our trip, I was diligently working on getting my Fall Decor up and in place; I worked very hard for the couple of weeks before we left.  And I was successful…whew…I managed to get all of the indoor spaces completely finished!  That said, I not only got my decor into place, I also created YouTube Videos of every craft and space that I created. First, let me share some pictures with you of our home decorated up for Fall, then, I will give you a link to my YouTube Channel’s “Arlynn’s Country Craft Corner” 2017 Fall Home Tour Playlist that holds 20, yes, count them *20* videos of me bringing my creations to life such as Cozy Corners, wreaths, lantern centerpieces, lantern swags, etc…To say I worked hard, well, that is an understatement…haha. 😉 BUT, of course I thrive on my crafting and decorating, so it was definitely a labor of love!! 🙂 So here we go with some pictures:

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And here are some more shots of how I decorated up the rest of the back side of the house, moving through the family room, into the kitchen, over to the kitchen eating area, the kitchen hutch and desk, and the powder room.

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Okie dokie…That did it for the back of the house. I was very happy with how everything turned out!! I utilized a lot of my old decor and mixed it in with some of the new things that I had purchased and crafted.  I had a huge feeling of accomplishment, but, I wasn’t done yet! It was time to soldier on and move into the rooms that sit on the front of our home and in which I prefer a lighter, softer, and calmer color palette.  Instead of utilizing the the more traditional, bolder, oranges, reds, greens, and yellows like what we’ve just seen, I’d be utilizing soft silvers, creams, grays, blues, & khakis in the living and dining room as well as in the foyer that sits between the two rooms.  Let me show you some pictures:

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1V4A9600.JPG1V4A9576As I mentioned above, I did all of the decorating that you see in these pictures prior to leaving for our cruise, and when we returned home, I went ahead and finished the outdoor spaces.  Here is was I completed just last week:

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And that finished up my Fall decorating for 2017!  I am so happy that I took that 2 weeks before we left on our cruise to get the entire inside of the house finished.  I had forgotten just how much work it is to switch everything out and recreate the wheel for the next Season. BUT, that said, I’m super happy with how everything looks now and I’m even happier that I was able to create an entire Playlist of me showing y’all *in person* how I brought it all to fruition.  Actually, do y’all know what? It was Chris’ idea for me to start at the very beginning of my process, my first video begins with me in our basement showing where and how I store all of the Seasonal decor.  I literally take you through my entire process in that Playlist of videos…so, without further adieu, here is a link that will take you through my process, as I said, it is 20 videos strong:

2017 Arlynn’s Country Craft Corner YouTube Fall Decor Series

 

And did you see that massively HUGE wreath on my front door? This one:

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I actually made this one before I started to decorate in earnest, here is a link that will show you how I put it together:

Big Bold Fall Wreath

OH wait, there is one more wreath that I pictured above that is not included in the Fall Playlist, this one:

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Here is a link to this my…

Fall Fabric Mesh & Owl Wreath

OHHHHHH wait!!! There is ONE more wreath that I created that is not included in that Fall Playlist, this one (as I said, I’ve been b-u-s-y over here…lol):

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Here is a link to my :

Fall Deco Mesh & Owl Wreath

 

And that my friends is, as they say, *that*. 🙂 U-n-t-i-l I start decorating for Christmas in a few weeks….ahhhhhhhh….HELP! LOL 😉 JUST Kidding, y’all know I will love doing it once I get started!!  So for now, because I worked so hard before we left for Alaska, I will be able to sit back and write my Alaska Cruise Blog Series until it is time to switch everything out for the most wonderful time of the year *Christmas*!!

**In crafting there are no mistakes, only unique creations**

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

 

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers Cruises – Episode #6 – Juneau (Harv & Marv’s, Tracy’s Crab Shack, & More)

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:

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The Norwegian Jewel beat us into port…Here she is sitting prettily in the mist:

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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:1V4A0036.JPG

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Here is the Princess Patter for that day:

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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):

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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:

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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:

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I believe ours was called “The Alaskan”, here is a picture that I took of the inside:

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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:

 

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(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):

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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And on we traveled back to the cruise ship dock:

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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.

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And there is Tracy’s to the left:

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Here is the menu, we both chose the “Crab Shack Combo” and Chris got an extra king crab leg:

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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:

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There is Mount Robert’s Tramway:

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And look who we saw gazing down at us from the trees. 🙂

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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:

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***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! ❤

~Arlynn ❤