Cruising the Inside Passage, Alaska, August 11, 2018

Not much to say about today.  It’s a day cruising the inside passage on our way to Vancouver, Canada.  It’s also our last day on board and packing, although a nuisance, is a must.  As with everywhere except Ketchikan, its raining.  What a monotonous thing to have to report.  I’ll bet even you, the reader of this journal, is getting tired of reading it.  Imagine how we feel.  And yet, in some ways the rain, wind, clouds and mist provided a mystery and beauty to the land.

I didn’t take any photos today as there is nothing more to add.

We took it easy in the morning.  We took it easy in the afternoon up until, that is, packing time.  Then we took it easy again in the evening.  We started with cocktails in the Ocean Bar with our family.

Pre-dinner cocktails was the one time in each day when we gathered together as a family; it was the time when JoAnn and I learned about their experiences during the day.  That’s when we learned about their visit to the sled dog training center and about their rafting trip when Colin, who is bound for Penn State University when we return, jumped in the water to test the wet suit.  This trip was special for Colin, Casey and Valerie as it was a graduation present and a chance for the three of them to experience Alaska together.  Colin loves the outdoors and intends to major in environmental science at the University.

Tonight was our night in the Pinnacle Grill and, as I said before, we certainly enjoyed our dinner and our last night on the Noordam.

Well, our bags are packed and waiting to be hustled into the hold for offloading tomorrow.  Vancouver, here we come.

Ketchikan, Alaska, August 10, 2018

What do you call it when the rain isn’t falling, the breeze isn’t blowing and the day isn’t cold and bitter?  A rare, sunny day in Ketchikan, Alaska’s rainiest town.  Why just yesterday they had almost three inches of liquid fall from the sky.  How lucky were we to see the sun?  What a wonderful day.  Here is the view as we sailed in.

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Juneau, Alaska, August 9, 2018

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August 9th is another rainy day and it finds us in Juneau, the capital of Alaska.  Juneau is named after Joe Juneau, a gold prospector who came to the area in the late 19th century.  As Joe must have said, “there’s gold in them, there hills” and the city was off and running.  The city is nestled between Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts and is land locked with the only way in or out being by water or air.  It is also the only state capital that borders a foreign county.  Lets don our rain gear and set off to see the town.

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Haines, Alaska, August 8, 2018

Rainy, windy, cool; these adjectives describe the weather in Haines today.  Oh, and did I mention cloudy?  Clouds hang low over the mountains obscuring the peaks.  Welcome to Haines.

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We had no set plans today.  We took our time this morning and decided to walk into the newer part of town.  Bundled in warm clothes and girded against the rain off we went.

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Glacier Bay, Alaska, August 7, 2018

If you are visiting Alaska a trip into Glacier Bay is a once in a lifetime experience.  We stopped to pick up a park ranger (Glacier Bay is a national park) around 8am.  She narrated our trip into the bay, pointing out interesting things along the way.  “Look, at 2 o’clock, there are some mountain goats.  See those little white dots half way up the mountain.  There they are,” she would tell us.  Unfortunately, I was did not see any goats or bears or any wild life.  What I did see was nature; rivers of ice, mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, clouds and mist.  I did my best to capture it for you.

Lets start with a photo taken from my seat in the Explorations Cafe, as we entered the bay.

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On board the Holland America Line Noordam, August 6, 2018

Our first day on board the Noordam was a relaxing one as we cruised the Gulf of Alaska in route to Glacier Bay.  We decided to take our time in the morning and have a leisurely coffee in the Explorations Cafe.  Then we were off to take some photos of the ship and a selection of its art work.  The ship is designed in muted colors and the day was rainy.  Many of the photos are on the dark side for which I apologize.  I still think they provide an accurate reflection of the ship and its art.

Lets start our tour in the Lido Market.  We have always felt that Holland America had an outstanding buffet and the Noordam did not let us down.  There was plenty to choose among from Asian, to Italian with multiple pizzas to choose from, sandwiches and so much more.  No table stayed dirty for long, as busy boys were numerous and attentive.  Here are a couple of shots of the Lido.

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Anchorage, Alaska, August 4 & 5, 2018

We made it!  Arrived in the Sheraton Anchorage, for our Holland American southbound cruise, around 1am on August 5th.  The hotel lobby was deserted save for the lady behind the reception desk.  There were two rooms reserved for us and we were happy to finally be in Anchorage.  We arrived only nine hours later than originally scheduled.  No sightseeing, no dinner, no nothing in Anchorage today.  Blame the weather, American did.

Here’s the view from our window.

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Luggage, as arranged by HAL, is scheduled for 8am pickup.  Rain or shine, someone will be knocking on our door to grab our bags to transfer them to the Noordam.  That means Caden and I (JoAnn and Jenna are in their own room) have to be ready at 8.  We are taking a train to Seward, where we board the ship, but the luggage goes ahead of us.

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