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:
And here is the Princess Patter:
Chris and I spent the day just walking around the ship and relaxing, honesty. I did click off some pictures while we tootled around. 🙂
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.
And then as we were very quietly sailing toward that massive wall of ice in the distance, our Naturalist’s commentary started…
Here we were on our balcony and at the ready to see the super-star of this day:
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:
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.
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:
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:
**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
I’m almost sad to be writing this my last post lamenting about our Alaskan Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. In this post, I will tell you about the last 3 days of our vacation
1) Our last day on the Coral Princess…
2) Disembarkation in Vancouver…and…
3) An Orca whale watching excursion trip that took us to Victoria on Vancouver Island. A strategically planned trip just so that I could meet a very special friend that I had met on Facebook via my Newfoundland dogs. This would be our first ‘in-person’ meeting–more on that later. 🙂
So, after saying goodbye to Ketchikan, we were ‘at sea’ for a day. I only took one exciting picture on this day. 😉 On sea days the crew brings out a plethora of different chains and you can have them made to fit. Cute little option, and not expensive at all…, I purchased a couple of bracelets.
We mostly used this day to relax, pack, shop for souvenirs, and just explore parts of the Coral Princess that we hadn’t seen yet. Then, the next morning, we woke up and were docked at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C…
Disembarkation went extremely smoothly as it always does, Princess runs like a well-oiled machine, they are very organized and efficient. We were escorted to our waiting motor coach that would take us to our hotel for the next couple of nights. The The Westin Bayshore…
We had big ideas of what we might like to do on this day, but, in reality, we took a little walk along the water, found a Subway, and r-e-l-a-x-e-d.
The next morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach; I was so excited that the day I had been waiting not so patiently for had finally arrived! First, I was going to see Orcas, and second and more importantly, I was going to meet up with my friend Liz!! YIPPEE!! We didn’t have to go far to catch our whale watching excursion boat, it was parked right at the dock outside of our hotel. We had booked this excursion online months and months in advance and it was finally time to climb aboard and experience the Prince of Whales excursion. We were not disappointed on the way to Victoria, after cruising under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, we spotted Orcas pretty quickly and enjoyed watching the J and L Pods as we made the crossing to Vancouver Island…amazing creatures that move effortlessly through that beautiful water, a site not to be missed if y’all ever have the opportunity. 🙂
We also eyed a harbor seal haul out–these cuties were just lounging around sunning themselves…ahhhhh, the life…;)
As we were getting close to docking in Victoria, we passed our boat’s sister ship…
The trip from Vancouver to Victoria (Vancouver Island) was absolutely breathtaking, the shores were tree-lined in places and in others there were lovely homes with sprawling properties that one could just melt into as they dreamed of how life might be living in this part of the world. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. As we were pulling into the dock, we saw the Fairmont Empress Hotel right in front of us, what a gorgeous place. If we had stayed in Victoria and booked through Princess, that is where we would have stayed…next trip. 🙂
Here is a little video snippet for you of the Orcas!
So, okay, we were snuggly moored up to the dock and it was *finally* time for us to meet my friend Liz. Liz and and I met on Facebook through the smallish Newfoundland dog community. She and I have a love for animals of all shapes and sizes, but we have a real affinity for our “Gentle Giants”, our Newfies; there is something very, very special about this breed of dog. ❤ All right, now for a little backstory on Liz, she used to be a professional chef, was a food critic writer for over a decade, is the author of several cookbooks (I brought this one with me for her to sign A Real Newfoundland Scoff), and she is an awesome blogger ~~ >Food 4Thought. She is the one who encouraged me to start this blog. Liz and her hubby used to live in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador–you know, over here on ‘my’ side of the Country, but her hubby got transferred and they had to pick up and move all the way over to the west coast. Liz and I had been wanting to meet for years and years and when they moved west, I told her that it would be more likely that she and I would get that opportunity (because my hubby and I routinely travel to Alaska and routinely disembark in Vancouver). AND, low and behold, my hubby and I planned another cruise to Alaska; I just couldn’t go without touching base with Liz and seeing if we could set up a meeting. She was thrilled and was on board with us stopping by for a visit, she and her hubby even went to the trouble of coming to the dock to pick us up. Now, I rarely meet anyone new without bringing them a little gift, so while I was still at home, I collected several items that I thought might give them a taste of where we come from and packed them in my suitcase, I also packed up a gift bag, and ribbon (so I could make her a bow for on the package), and tissue paper. I put the gift together while in the hotel room and carried that big bag on the whale watching boat…I didn’t get too many odd looks, well that I saw anyway…haha. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have cared…lol. As I was walking up the gangplank, I could see Liz at the top waiting for me, arms open wide, with the biggest grin I’d ever seen all over her face!! I practically ran into her arms and we hugged and cried for a good little bit of time. OH I was so happy to finally be meeting this lady!! AND her hubby who as you can see in the picture below was chuckling at us while we stood there making quite the spectacle out of ourselves while hugging and crying…It was an awesome moment!!! ❤ (I think she loved all of her little gifts too…you can see the bag in my hand there…haha…I was a site carrying that bag, no doubt about it…lol)
Once back at their home, I got to meet their Newfie Jack!!! OMGosh, what a big LOVE he is…he is as calm as they come…the epitome of how a Newfoundland dog is supposed to be. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Liz’s sweet Newfie girl Fleur, she had passed away a month ago on that exact day. 😥 Liz was so sweet and said that our visit helped her get through that day and gave her some good memories to recall on that ‘anniversary’. Bless her heart!! ❤
We were only able to stay there for a couple of hours because we had to catch a motor coach that would take us over to the other side of the island so that we could catch our boat that would take us back to Vancouver. Trust me though, we made the very most of our short time together; Liz had prepared a gorgeous meal for us…OH dear me, Liz created the best fish chowder that we’ve ever and I mean EVER had based on the kind of seafood we love…it couldn’t have been more perfect (and it was figure friendly, but we didn’t know that until after we were finished eating…haha…). It was SO good!!! YUM!! For the rest of our visit, we talked and laughed, and cried and laughed through tears, we loved on Jack, my hubby and her hubby got along famously and chatted almost more than Liz and I did. 😉 ALL was right with our worlds in those couple of hours…honestly, it was one of the very best visits I’ve ever had with anyone. Liz and I definitely have a very special friendship, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life!! **LOVE ya Lizzy**
<Sigh> Unfortunately, it was time for us to go and catch that motor coach, so we climbed back into Liz’ car and she and her hubby took us to our drop-off point. Talk about a bittersweet parting…OH I didn’t want to leave, that was a very difficult goodbye…
So we pulled ourselves away and headed to our motor coach that would take us to The Butchart Gardens. I had had no expectations about this place as I had been so focused on our visit with Liz and her hubby, but, when we arrived, I was blown away by the beauty that stood in front of us. As we meandered our way through the Gardens on our way to our transportation back to Vancouver, I was in awe and mesmerized by the sheer beauty of that place…
We hopped back on our whale watching tour boat and away we went back to our hotel in Vancouver. I will admit that I sat on that boat and was very sad, sad that I was leaving one of my dearest friends behind and I was also sad that tomorrow I’d be leaving this part of the world that I’ve come to love so much.
We pulled back into the Westin Bayshore’s dock, disembarked, headed up to our room and packed our bags…Tomorrow we’d take a taxi ride to the airport and head back to our humble abode.
Every time we go to Alaska, I always say it is “the trip of a lifetime”, and we’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have been able to do that trip 4 times. Who knows, we might go back again, I hope we go back again. So in closing, let me take a moment to thank you Princess Cruises for another amazing journey, one that allowed us to bask in Alaska’s beauty, cruising through Yakutat Bay, into Disenchantment Bay and then experiencing the wonders of Hubbard Glacier, gliding through the pristine waters of Glacier Bay culminating in the stupendous calving of Margerie Glacier. Then traveling through the Inside Passage where we experienced the three vastly different ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Thank you Canada for again welcoming us with open arms and hearts and for bringing two friends together, even if it was only for a couple of hours. Oh what an amazing journey…yes, **definitely** the trip of a lifetime!
Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤
Here is one more link…I wrote one post describing the Cruise Tour that we took in 2012…:) It covers our travels from Anchorage to the Princess Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge, on a jet boat excursion to The Devil’s Canyon (out of Talkeetna), then onward to the Princess Denali Wilderness Lodge, and then on a train ride back to Whittier (Anchorage) where we hopped on the Diamond Princess and enjoyed another Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. 🙂
Onward we go with our Alaskan adventure! I will be highlighting days 3 and 4 in this post, the days that we did our “Scenic Cruising”, first into Disenchantment Bay to see Hubbard Glacier and then the next day we traveled into Glacier Bay. We saw many glaciers in our travels, but we stopped, looked, and listened to two wondrous glaciers on each day, Hubbard on the first day and Margerie on the second.
The ship takes its time getting back to where Hubbard Glacier is located, but you know you’re getting close when you start seeing the little (which are actually rather large) ice bergs in the water surrounding the ship and the temperature starts dropping.
I’ll tell you a little about Hubbard Glacier, I’m thinking there are some out there that are as geeky as I am when it comes to nature and this sort of thing…haha…;) Nooooooo, I am not a tree hugger, I just honestly possess a deep rooted appreciation for pristine beauty such as this. Okay, anyway, Hubbard is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska extending 76 miles from its source on Mt. Logan in the Yukon. The cliff face is at least six miles wide and it towers 3 to 400 feet from the water level and plunges 300 feet at the front of the glacier from the water level to the bottom. As Hubbard is advancing, it creaks, cracks, and moans as it travels and is a very actively calving glacier. This makes for memorable moments when the huge chunks of ice crash into the bay creating a wonderful sound coined “white thunder” by the Tlingit people. BTW, I don’t just inherently know that information, there was actually a Naturalist on board with us and his commentary was broadcast around the ship and into staterooms via the tv and yes, I was *that* woman that took copious notes. 😉 The Captain of our ship the Coral Princess was fantastic, we pulled up really close (close is relative–we got to about 1/2 mile away) to the glacier and then the captain turned the ship so that the folks on one side of the ship could gaze at the glacier, he stayed there for 30 minutes and then spun the ship around so that the other side of the ship could watch it for another 30 minutes.
Here is a little video I took one year of Hubbard Glacier:
Okay, so that was an awesome day! Hubbard Glacier was amazing and the scenery to and from the glacier was breathtaking.
But, now let me tell you about day 4, and what we saw in Glacier Bay; it took my breath away and it alone is what brought us back to Alaska for our 4th time. I cannot express to you the beauty that is held within this pristine, magnificent place, I would venture to guess that it is one of the most gorgeous places on this planet.
Glacier Bay is a National Park so Park Rangers came on the ship and set up a “Ranger’s Station” where one could go and ask questions about Glacier Bay and purchase books and souvenirs. In addition, a Park Ranger’s commentary was broadcast around the ship and into all of the staterooms giving us a plethora of information about all of the glaciers and wildlife that we were seeing as we made our way in and out of the bay. The sky was rather overcast on this morning, but the later it got and the further we got into Glacier Bay the prettier the day got, the sun came out and blue sky could be seen. My hubby and I actually got a bit of a sunburn on this day.
There were many beautiful sights to see on our way into the Bay but the most impressive sight was Margerie Glacier.
Here are some more of those geeky facts for you: Margerie Glacier is a 21-mile-long tidewater glacier, it soars 250 feet above the sea level, and 150 feet below and it is an activity calving glacier. This one was much louder than Hubbard and it was calving almost twice as much.
See that piece of ice in the middle of that picture above? It looks kind of like a triangle, only it is the size 12 story building!
Oh my goodness gracious! We couldn’t believe our luck, we definitely felt as if we were in the right place at the right time. You should have seen the wave that that huge chunk of ice generated, it was quite impressive. 🙂 Wow!
Here are a couple of close up shots of the glacier itself, the crevasses were ridiculous!
Here is a video that I took of Margerie Glacier one year:
It was so hard to say good-bye to Margerie Glacier and I was quite sad to turn away from it because I truly don’t know if we will ever return to that exact spot again. It is a very, very special place, one that just brings calm to one’s very soul. Incredible!
Of course we had more beautiful scenery to behold on our way back out of the bay, check out this quartet… 😉
This is John Hopkin’s Glacier; we couldn’t go back to get a closer look at it because that is where seals go to have their pups and we had to keep our distance. 🙂
Here is a video that I took while in Glacier Bay one year:
Of course, we were fed very well while in Glacier Bay, that is, once we pulled ourselves off of our balcony and away from the gorgeous scenery–trust me, that wasn’t an easy task. But, we did partake in the Taste of Alaska Buffet:
***Update*** I’ve taken a moment to scan the Princess Patter for Glacier Bay day:
Days 3 & 4 flew by way too quickly, but now we were headed to our next destination Skagway, Alaska, oh what an adventure we went on while visiting Skagway; I can’t wait to share it with you…
***Update*** I’ve now completed all of my installments in the Voyage of the Glaciers Series and have included links to the next post in line (so to speak) at the end of each posting. So, here is a link to the next post and it covers our time in Skagway…:)