12 Days In Alaska
Aboard the Legend Of The Seas

Gail, Laurie, Frank and I set out from Hazleton in Frank's Blazer around noon, Thursday, August 21, 2003. It was hot. The A/C wasn't working. It hit 97 in Philadelphia that afternoon. This was Laurie's 30 year dream of going to Alaska. Friday morning we waited in line for an hour and forty five minutes at the Philadelphia Airport till we got our boarding passes, and I entered the plane as they closed the door. After a stop and plane change in Detroit, we made it to Vancouver, where the Canadian immigration officers were wearing Kevlar. We waited in line to board a bus for the harbor. After a nice trip through Vancouver to the harbor, we got on line to receive numbers. After receiving numbers, we waited on line to receive Sea Cards. After receiving Sea Cards, we waited on line for US immigration.
After immigration, we waited on line to enter the Legend of the Seas, finally inserting our Sea Cards and going through Security onboard for the first time. After an incredibly hearty lunch, we headed out of Vancouver, through the Sound toward the inside passage.
After spending a day on the beautiful inside passage, we finally docked in Ketchikan. Sunday morning, the four of us got on line for a bus to Harriet Hunt Lake where we entered a 19 person Canoe to paddle around the beautiful lake.
Since I was in a middle seat, I didn't have to do any paddling, and I had a chance to take this picture of the beautiful Reflections on Harriet Hunt Lake, high in the mountains above Ketchikan. We stopped in the middle of the trip for lunch and a hike.
That afternoon, we went for a walk around Ketchikan. This is Creek Street, a series of boutiques, built above a Salmon filled creek. Thousands of Salmon were attempting to swim upstream. Many were dying in front of us. It was amazing.
Monday we docked in Skagway, the town from which the miners left. Laurie and I took a walk around the town in the early morning, visiting some of the shops and some beautiful huge doggies while we gazed at the beautiful scenery.
In the afternoon, while the others went on a trolley ride, I decided to go Rock Climbing. It was awesome, but I think I'm getting a bit old and fat for this. I was ready for a shower and one of Royal Caribbean's wonderful dinners.
Tuesday morning I wandered the streets of Juneau while Laurie went Whale Watching aboard the Seaquest. Juneau, Alaska's capital, is completely landlocked. People can only reach this beautiful city and home of its legislators by plane or boat. There is no land route.
At midday, I went kayaking on an arm of the Sea stretching from the Inside Passage of the Pacific Ocean toward Menhenhall Glacier, the largest Glacier in Southeast Alaska. This scene is the spot where we entered the Kayaks.
As we paddled, we moved closer and closer to Menhenhall Glacier while Eagles soared over our heads and landed in the Sitka Spruces surrounding the Sea. A harp seal followed us and kept appearing every few moments near the Kayak.
Upon my return from Kayaking, Laurie, Frank and Gail met me near the Ship, and we all boarded the Roberts Tramway to scale the high cliff adjacent to the harbor. An incredible view and an awesome Eagle waited for us at the top of the Tramway.
We watched a short film, than Laurie and I hiked 1/2 mile further up the mountain. At that point Laurie returned down the circular path, and I continued on another mile to the cross near the summit. The colors were amazing.
Wednesday morning we arrived in Sitka the Capital of Russian Alaska. Laurie and I walked through the rain past very old churches and thousand of circling Salmon on the way to the Sitka Raptor Center, Alaska's finest Raptor Rehab Center.
At the center, we watched a talk about young Bald Eagles, visited their pet Owl, toured the room where they teach injured Eagles to fly and hiked past many injured Raptors toward a Creek full of hundreds of jumping Salmon where I lost my lens cap.
Laurie left while I hunted for my lenscap, spending time in a local cemetery. When I found her, we headed for Totem Park, where we borrowed the book explaining the Totem signs and hiked the two mile path viewing many Totem Poles and an Eagle sitting in a tree.
Thursday, our final day at Sea we started nearing the Hubbard Glacier aroung 7:30 AM. After breakfast we bundled up in sweaters, ski caps, gloves and jackets and headed for deck 10 to view the gorgeous entry to the glacier.
Over the next few hours we passed incredible vistas to the left and right of our Ship while we slowly moved toward the world's fastest moving glacier.
The Hubbard was calving even as we approached, large chunk of ice breaking off the huge expanse and becoming icebergs before our eyes.
Finally we reached the closest permissable distance, 500 meters, and the Legend of the Seas began a slow movement across the entire width of the Hubbard.
Then we reversed so the Port side could view the Glacier up close before we started slowly moving away from the awesome experience.
Watching Global Warming doing its work up close was both awe inspiring and terrifying. These four hours near the glacier was worth the entire value of the trip.
As we left Hubbard in the distance our views remained awesome. This marked our last day at sea.Click here to continue to the land part of our Alaskan Adventure