Monday, September 29, 2014

Up the Inside Passage and Into the Interior of Alaska

 Bill an I just got back from a voyage to Alaska (Sept 10, 2014 thru Sept 24, 2014).  Below is a map of the our travels.On this trip we covered plenty of miles on both  land and sea. After flying a few hours from DFW, our ship voyage began from Vancouver, B.C..
                          Below is a summary of the ships log showing the ports and the distances:
 1681 Nautical Miles equals 1861 Statute Miles. After the sea portion of the trip we traveled for another week on trains, buses, boats and cars.

One of many sea planes landing at the busy port of Vancouver, BC.

Vancouver is a beautiful place.

Before long we were out to sea. On The Inside Passage you are in sight of land  most of the time.

                                                              Sunset after a long day.
It seemed like it took an hour for the sun to finally go down on the first day.

 We steamed north most of the night. I woke before daylight and stepped out on our balcony into the cold morning air and discovered we were in port at Ketchikan, AK
 After breakfast the gang plank was lowered and we took off looking for adventure.

After freakfast we boarded a small boat and headed for Mystic Fiord.
Eagle in Mystic Fiord.

Volcanic spew; Mystic Fiord

Harbor seals on an Island in the fiord.

 Fiords are deep inlets carved out by glaciers. That accounts for the steep hills and mountains that rim most fiords.

                                                    Back to Ketchikan to board the "Mothership".

The second night we traveled to Juneau. Though the island of Juneau is the state capital, there are no roads leading to the mainland. You have to travel by boat, plane or ferry.

We left the ship and went looking for whales on a catamaran. To everyone's surprise, we ran across two pods of killer whales before we spotted any humpbacks.

The Orcas  weren't even supposed to be here. However, as the climate warms and the ice melts they go farther north every year. On the Atlantic side of the arctic the Orcas have begun to feed on the  narwhals,  giving the Inuit natives some serious competition.

                                                                   The little fin is a baby.

 This humpback whale is diving. The water here is up to 400 feet deep. Soon these whales will migrate to Hawaii where the have there calves, then they all star back to Alaska in the spring to fatten up in these waters. In the fall the cycle start over again.
                                    It is a mystery why sea lions gather on this island each fall.
Harbor seals showing off before being eaten by killer whales...

The guy on the left is more concerned about impressing the girls than he is about the killer whales. He may loose his head over a...never mind.

The glacier is calving or dropping icebergs in to the fiord.

                                                                       Mendenhall Glacier.
                                                         Chilly waterfall next to the glacier.

The photo above shows the complete water cycle. The water evaporates from the fiord. The clouds of vapor rise until it is cold enough for the vapor to condense and the drops fall as rain or snow. When the rain, or snow land on the glacier they bond to it and slide down hill until they fall back into the fiord. Then, the whole process starts again.

 The train up to White Pass from Skagway.

 Marker for the trail used in 1898. The visibility is poor because of the sloppy gray clouds we were in.

Look for the track near the top of the hill.

Old steam locomotive in Juneau.

The front of this building in Skagway is made of pieces of driftwood.

An eagle on the way  to musher camp. Below are some sled dogs in training.

These two pictures show our ship down the hill at the port. Look closely above the point of land on the far side of the fiord and you can see the top of the ship.
This is a 10X view of the previous photo.

Downtown Skagway

 The big fan on this locomotive is for blowing snow off the railroad track.

        Glacier Bay
I suggest you put your coat on for this part. You don't want to get a chill...
The Grand Pacific Glacier.

 Bill and Dennis on the top deck.

I'd hate to fall in this salty water slush.

 That night, after leaving Glacier Bay, we traveled in relatively open water. The sea caused the ship to pitch and roll. The cabin was creaked much like the the sound of an old wooden boat in a movie. The sound of the water against the hull was audible each time the ship rose and fell. The constant movement and gentle sounds provided ideal sleeping conditions.

College Fiord.

Next stop:  Talkeetna and it's three rivers.

 The structures in this homestead was eighty feet from the river bank when they were built in the 1960s.

 When we went ashore the tour guide carried a weapon in case there was trouble from bears.

 Dead-fall trap. If you can read there should be no danger.
 Trapper's line cabin.
 Tree growth on a spruce.

 Town down Talkeetna.

The mayor of Talkeetna is a cat named Mr. Stubs.
 Denali National Park.

 Dall sheep.

 Old dog house at ranger line cabin.

 Carol Charley is an Athabaskan native.



 Riverboat ride on the Chena River in Fairbanks

This float plane took off right beside our boat.


Chena River.

 Alaskan pipeline.

 Gold dredge near Fox, Alaska.

 Lobby of Fairbanks Airport. When we left to head home, Sept 24, 2014, it was 25 degrees.

 Some extra photos:


  1. Hey, Dennis! Great pics! Looks you and Bill had a great time. I like the pics of Glacier bay and the moose pics too. The cool weather looks nice. I heard you guys had really great food too. Wow! Glad you had a good time, Thanks for the pics! Anthony

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