Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our Vacation

On August 10th we woke up early in the morning to drive to San Francisco. We were celebrating our anniversary in style. We arrived about noon and hopped on our crusie ship, the Sea Princess, for a 10 day cruise to Alaska. Once on board we checked out our room and went right to the buffet for lunch. We set sail about 5pm going right under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The next day was our 31st anniversary. We woke up to the balloons on our door. After the buffet for a big breakfast we relaxed, walked the ship, and rested. Then back to the buffet for lunch.

This was a sea day as it took two days to get to Alaska. We relaxed, enjoyed the buffet, rested, and ate at the buffet. That night was formal night. We shared the table with an older couple that seemed to make cruising (and drinking, for the wife) their life. They had just finished a world cruise and were telling us they had cruised over 500 days. I had the ever popular Love Boat Dream for dessert; however, they are getting smaller each year. I had the same dessert almost every night.

Our first stop was Victoria, British Columbia. First thing was to hit the buffet for a big breakfast. We did not see any side trips we wanted to take, especially with the cost of the others we had planned, so we walked to the fisherman's wharf. Not much there but we were puzzled by the floating homes, smaller than a one-bedroom studio apartment that sold between $300,000 and $500,000. Crazy. After the walk we went to the buffet for lunch.

The next day was another "at sea" day full of buffet eating, walking, visiting the buffet, and relaxing. On the way to Juneau.

In Juneau, after gorging ourselves at the buffet for breakfast, we went on a whale watching trip. A nice comfortable boat that had a pilot who knew just where to look. We saw several humpback whales and one dove down about 30-40 feet from the boat.

We stopped at a nice overlook of the Mendenhall Glacier.

In Skagway, after hitting the buffet, we took our favorite excursion, the White Pass Railway. It starts with a motor coach ride about 60 miles into the Yukon and then the train back into town. Again a wonderful day. The train follows the original path of the Klondike gold miners, with the original trail still visible.

The next day we were sailing into Glacier Bay. We woke up early and went straight to the buffet. What an incredible day. The weather could not have been better and the water was so calm it was like a mirror. So much color in the sky, the water and on the beautiful glacier-capped mountains.

As we looked at the glacier, the naturalist ranger told us about the wildlife in the area. In his words there are "whales, birds, sea liions and what not". I happen to capture the rarely seen "what not".

Part of the wonderful experience of Glacier Bay is approaching the "Tide Water" glacier and hoping to see is calve into the sea. The noise it makes is awesome, they call it Blue Thunder. Mostly we saw small pieces but we did see one piece the size of a bus fall off. My camera was set on speed shots so I captured the entire event. So cool. Many of my pictures were also taken by a crew member photographer and for sale for $20 each. For the Global warming crowd, the rangers noted that more of the glaciers are growing than shrinking. Also, the calving is a natural occurance caused by the fresh water glacier meeting the salt water of the bay.

While watching the ice fall a nice crew member from Bulgaria took our picture. FYI, the glacier is 250 feet tall here. Doesn't look that big, does it?

The next day we were in Ketchikan where, after another big breakfast at the buffet, we took a shore excursion to a rainforest walk. I thought it was quite disappointing. The walk was with a guide, way to short, no wildlife, and much too slow. 1 1/2 hours to go less than a mile. They did have a rescued bald eagle and owl. The eagle is such a magnificant animal. She seemed so pleased to pose for pictures. We did some shopping after the short excursion, then to the buffet to eat.

The second to last night was again formal night. One reason I like cruises so much is to see how much my dear sweet wife enjoys them. We sailed all the next day just relaxing and eating.

The last two days were again at sea with buffet visits and exercise as we became the Wii Bowling champs of the Sea Princess. This was the second cruise where we accidently ended up on the same trip as old friends Rudy and Norma Wehrli. Their family had come along, so we got to have a lovely visit with them and their daughter Lisa Clark, one of our oldest and dearest friends. It was such a treat. We ended our vacation staying the night in San Ramon where Sue's brother Steve lives. We had a great visit with Steve and Nancy and were even joined by Jacob (Lumpy) and his new bride as well as Matt and Karen and their cute kids. Then the 6 hour drive home. We are extremely grateful for Steven taking care of the home front and keeping the dog alive.


Robert and Suzanne said...

(Even though I was allowed to edit the post for spelling, I let Robert keep complete creative control of the content.)
We are not buffet hounds as he makes us sound.
Cruising is great, I highly recommend it for ultimate relaxation.

abenning said...

That looks amazing. I wish I could have gone. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Bren said...

I am glad you had a nice time. We would like to go next time... Would it hurt to invite the rest of the family on all your fun?!?!?