Carcinoid A rare form of "slow-growing" neuroendocrine cancer
Susan Anderson - An advocate for Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Awareness
Our first cruise and first trip Alaska combined was wonderful in every way!
I misspoke when I've said I made reservations in July 1999 ‑‑ sorry. I find now that it was actually August 20, 1999, when I made the reservations through AAA for the June 2000 cruise, pre‑cruise package in Vancouver, B.C., and our airplane tickets. We have heard "horror" stories of not receiving trip/cruise documents until the very last minute, so were please when our cruise documents/plane tickets were issued 1 May 2000. I like things organized and settled in advance! World Explorer Cruises, Inc., phone: 415‑820‑9200.
Before booking our "trip of a lifetime" I did a
lot of research on the Internet and via books. One very good book is "Frommer's
99 – Alaska Cruises & Ports of Call", a great deal of good info in a small
package. This book indicates there are many different kinds of cruises: "Mass
Market: a beer and pretzels kind of vacation, heavy on good times but light on
luxury, white‑glove service, and/or educational opportunities." "Premium: A
step up from Mass Market, with more stylish decor, service, activities, and
entertainment offered." "Luxury: Just like the dictionary says: 'a condition of
abundance or great ease and comfort: sumptuous environment'. On these ships you
get the best of the best. "Educational: Here the focus is less on diversion
than on concentration. Instead of going to a floor show in the evening, you
might go to a lecture on Alaska native art." There are also small ship soft
adventure, active adventure and port‑to‑port.
World Explorer Cruises: Best Features ‑ the itinerary wins the title, hands‑down. The Universe Explorer specializes in 14 night round‑trip cruises out of Vancouver, the only round‑trips of that length out of B.C., that offers all of the popular ports of call along with a few extra for good measure. The company bills these cruises "The Uncommon Route". There is also a 16,000‑volume library and a computer lab on board. World Explorer Cruises, Inc., phone: 415‑820‑9200 , ship S.S. Universe Explorer.
Sunday, June 11, 2000:
We left home and drove to off‑airport parking, then were taken to Terminal 2 of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ. We left Phoenix on Alaska Air flight #701 at 10:05 a.m., arrived in Portland, OR, gate C‑21 at 12:45 p.m. Our commuter plane was already loading at gate A‑3, so we race‑walked through the airport, no shuttles in sight anywhere, but we made the flight (Horizon/Alaska #2398). Landed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at 2:35 p.m. Portland and Vancouver were fully overcast with rain! Luggage, customs then bus into town and Sandman Hotel at 180 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, room 514. We had very good steak dinner at Moxie's in the hotel.
Monday, June 12, 2000:
Had large breakfast at Moxie's in the Sandman Hotel, it was very good. RAIN! Howard walked a few blocks to the Bank of Montreal to change some U.S. money into Canadian money. We then took a taxi to the Vancouver Aquarium (http://www.vanaqua.org/) that was impressive ‑ we always visit aquariums when possible. The Beluga Whales were impressive, as were the Sea Otters, Steller Sea Lions, Sharks, Orcas (killer whales), a VERY active octopus (they usually are only asleep), Amazon Rainforest and Tropical Gallery, frogs, peacocks and bountiful sea life. There were a few patches of blue sky, but mostly misting rain. We ate a light lunch at the aquarium and took a cab back to our hotel, where we again had a good dinner at Moxie's!
Tuesday, June 13, 2000:
A good breakfast at Moxie's in the Sandman Hotel. Overcast and rain off and on all day. 8:45 a.m. had luggage in lobby and had checked out. Grey Line tours came by for those of us going on the 3 1/2 hour Deluxe Grand City Tour of Vancouver, B.C. We did not see our luggage again until it was brought to our cabin aboard ship. We stopped at the lovely Totem Poles in the 1,000 acre Stanley Park, also at the Sunken Gardens in Queen Elizabeth Park, plus several photo sites, and had a good over‑view of Vancouver in the rain.
We were let off at the covered cruise ship pier and boarded the Universe Explorer for the start of our latest adventure. We had cabin #432 on the upper deck, port (left) side, with two windows. There were nine kinds of cabins, #1 best to #9 least desirable (inside, small, no window) our cabin was a #2 This ship is too old to have balconies. Howard stepped off the cabin several times and it was approx. 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, lots of mirrors, two closets, large bathroom with both tub and shower, three chest of drawers, two beds, and the two windows. We never felt cramped and had much more space than expected. There was a telephone and T‑V (have noticed some guidebooks say they don't have these in each cabin ‑ but they do). The T‑V showed printed world news, including European sports news daily ‑ no voice ‑ new was accompanied by beautiful classical music. The educational lectures were also shown on T‑V, as were some movies and many shorter videos of history, geology, and Alaskan information. The ship may accommodate 650 passengers "guests", and we were not full (none of the cruise ships are this year as the industry has over built). There were 550 of us "guests" on board with a crew of 250. Of the "guests" there was a group of 50 from England, plus another 30+ from England who had booked on their own, some from Australia and from Canada.
There was a group of Goucher College graduates (Baltimore, MD) that had a fine time. There was also a group of 100 with Elder Hostel ‑‑ I was NOT favorably impressed with how they did things, and therefore find it hard to imagine ever doing a trip with that group. They have a good reputation, but I'm just too independent to be herded around like sheep and have no say in what we are going to see and do daily. Also this ElderHostel group did not mingle with the rest of the "guests". We found all others to be open, very friends and interesting. I never talked with any crew member who did not speak English, and they all were gracious, pleasant and very helpful.
At 4 p.m. there was a mandatory lifeboat drill, as expected. We then walked ALL of the decks of the ship and explored. Our Hamilton Dining Room table assignment was in our cabin (as was gift from our travel agent). We were assigned to table #18 for the first seating ‑ breakfast open seating 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch 12 noon, and dinner 6 p.m. These times did change some depending on arrival time in ports. The casual dining (two cafeteria lines) Harbour Grill usually served breakfast 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and late night snack 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. I had lunch one day in the Harbour Grill, and we did eat breakfast there a few times, otherwise I preferred the Hamilton Dining Room, nice white linen table cloths, nine pieces of silverware, fresh flowers on the tables (also in the grill). GOOD service, GOOD menus ‑‑‑ a vegetarian menu, a low‑fat entree, and then multiple choices for the regular five‑course meal. Everything WAS good, also presentation was excellent, and the crew members were very good!
We met our dining companions at the first seating of dinner; Shirley from Sarasota, FL, Sandy George from Gansevoort, NY, Tom & Mary Wilson from Jamestown, PA. We had had our choice of table size, two, four, six or eight (when I booked the cruise) and I chose six, which worked well as we were congenial and had a good time together. There were many activities available for everyone this night, and every day and night! I filled out the shore excursion form for the first half of the cruise, and we attended the introduction of the cruise staff and welcome aboard talk.
Wednesday, June 14, 2000:
A day at sea. Open seating breakfast at 7 a.m. in Hamilton Dining Room. At 8:30 a.m. we went to the Mid‑Ocean Lounge for introduction of the speakers for the on board lecture program. Then attended the shore excursion presentation from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. We then added one small excursion to the list we had turned in the evening before. The sun was breaking through and we saw many dolphins! Took a brief nap. Watched the Anthropology lecture on T‑V, Dr. Ron Duncan: Ravens, Killer Whales, and More: Mythology and Dance. Howard then attended the Geology lecture by Dr. Dee Trent (Susan watched on T‑V in the cabin). Howard also attended a photo tips seminar with the artist‑in‑residence Frank Townsley.
This evening we attended the Captain's cocktail party/reception (pictures taken with Captain Donal Ryan) and welcome aboard dinner first of only two evening to be "dressy" (men suits or sport coat and tie, no tux) in the Hamilton Dining Room. After dinner walked the decks, spent time in the library and another private sitting room, gift shop. Saw the sun set at 10:12 p.m. into the ocean with pink clouds above, remained light outside. (No sunset ever came close to the bright/vivid colored ones we have in Arizona though.) There was very little feeling of movement on the ship‑a tiny bit which was great, I wanted to feel like I was on a ship. We were amazed by the number of people who became "sea sick", I have been on much rougher seas in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic Ocean within 20 miles of the coast.
Thursday, June 15, 2000:
Now out of Pacific Time zone and one hour earlier in the Alaska Time zone. We were happy to have the two windows to see out of without getting dressed and going out on deck. At 5:30 a.m. it was semi‑clear, lots of snow on mountains and lots of evergreen trees. Open seating breakfast at 7 a.m. in the Hamilton Dining Room. By going to these open seating breakfasts we met many other very interesting passengers. At 8:30 a.m. attended the Biology lecture with Dr. Allan Schoenherr: Alaska Varied Habitats: What you can't see from a boat. At 10:30 a.m. attended the Geology lecture with Dr. Dee Trent: "Gold is Where You Find It." Open seating lunch 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Our first Alaskan port‑arrived in Wrangell at noon, it was sunny, and a nice, 60 degrees. Wrangell has approximately 2,500 residents and is the oldest town in Southeast Alaska. It has been ruled by the Tlingit, Imperial Russia, Britain and the USA. We met at 12:50 p.m. for our first shore excursion in Alaska ‑ STIKINE RIVER JET BOAT. When lined up we were asked who wanted a real wild and crazy trip, I did, of course! There were five or six boats, but our captain (Tom Leslie) said he liked to go alone, let the others go one way and he would go another so we would be alone. There was Tom, then Ron and wife from San Francisco, Kenneth and Margaret Frye from Sussux, UK, Howard and me. We cruised, in the jet boat, the flats at the mouth of the STIKINE RIVER and went up SHAKES SLOUGH and other tributaries. We stopped at a Forest Service Cabin (available for rent, reached only by boat or floatplane), got out, then walked to TWIN LAKES. Back into the jet boat and continued up river. Saw many BALD EAGLES various places, plus waterfalls and other birds. We continued and entered SHAKES' LAKE and slowly navigated in and around the beautiful blue icebergs that had calved from CHIEF SHAKES' GLACIER. We then continued and visited several lovely waterfalls, got out of the jet boat again, also stopped to look in very clear and shallow water to observe fish. With passenger's permission we did some slips and slides and a 360‑degree spin and had lots of fun alone on the river! This was a four‑hour trip and in our top three favorite excursions of the trip‑would do it again if we ever get back to Wrangell. (World Explorer Cruise Company asked all of us to evaluate the trip and pick our favorite things). We went to 6 p.m. dinner, and walked the decks. Howard had developed a head cold (must have got exposed on planes or after got on ship). Ship left Wrangell at 7 p.m.
Friday, June 16, 2000:
5:45 a.m., very overcast. Ate breakfast in the Harbor Grill buffet – then RAIN. Walked decks and talked with other passengers. 9 a.m. attended Anthropology lecture with Dr. Ron Duncan: Totem Poles and Family Crests and at 10 a.m. the Biology lecture with Dr. Allen Schoenherr: Marine Mammals: Those Marvelous Diving Machines. At 11 a.m. Susan attended the pre port lecture for the ports of Juneau and Skagway. Susan ate her only lunch in Harbor Grill while Howard took a nap (only meal he missed) as head cold worse.
We arrived in Juneau at 11 a.m., 50 degrees and rain. Juneau was designated territorial capital of Alaska in 1900 and state capital in 1959. It is the states third largest city with a population of 30,000. No highways lead to Juneau, you arrive and leave by plane or boat only. We were met by mini bus for our GLACIER PANORAMA tour by HELICOPTER. There were six of us, including Ron & wife from San Francisco, Howard and me, and two ladies, it was raining heavily. We had a safety lecture then put on traction boots, poncho's and life vests, so were hot. The helicopter left Douglas Island, flew over GASTINEAU CHANNEL, downtown JUNEAU, and then flew over 65 miles of mountainous Alaskan wilderness. We landed ON the NORRIS GLACIER and got out, where we walked around on the glacier for 20+ minutes, looking down into crevasses and at the scenery. Back in to the helicopter and flew over TAKU GLACIER, HOLE‑IN‑THE‑WALL GLACIER and DEAD BRANCH GLACIER, and observed small icebergs that had calved and were floating. We returned to the ship, and then walked through downtown Juneau shopping ‑ both window and otherwise. I purchased a jade bear carving with a gold fish in its mouth, a sweatshirt and two tee shirts by Christine Alexander (have crystal on them, and I've had one for several years so know they wash well and nothing comes off). Enjoyed another good five‑course meal in the Hamilton Dining Room. After the first meal our waiter Mel always had our large glasses of milk ready and waiting for us. Milk always appeared for us even at the open seating meals when we were not in Mel's area, but he took care to see that we had it. 10:30 p.m. our ship S.S. Universe Explorer left Juneau for Skagway. Each evening there was easy listening piano music in one or two of the small lounges (Club Great Sound and St. George's Watch Lounge), plus usually classical music in the large Mid‑Ocean Lounge.
Saturday, June 17, 2000:
4:45 a.m. somewhat overcast. Due to arrive at 7:30 a.m. in SKAGWAY but arrived early. SKAGWAY was the starting point for the Chilkoot Trail during the gold rush in Alaska. We had a fast breakfast in the buffet, then outside to watch the mooring lines being places. 8:20 a.m. met a mini bus (there were five passengers, us and three from FL) for the KLONDIKE SUMMIT tour. We first went through SKAGWAY and then drove up the river valley with many stops for photos. We observed and photographed the White Pass Scenic Railway, PITCHFORK FALLS, other waterfalls and pretty scenery. The summit (3,290 feet) is a notch in the St. Elias Range and followed the "Gold Rush Trail of '98'" made famous by thousands of Klondike stampeders. We did drive over into Canada before stopping at a lovely lake, and then our return to SKAGWAY. We returned to the ship to 10:10 a.m. to change clothes for the next shore excursion.
11:15 a.m. met guide and bus for trip to Haines and our LYNN FJORD CRUISE AND EAGLE PRESERVE FLOAT TRIP (one of our top three shore excursions). We boarded M/V Fairweather Express in SKAGWAY for the 40 minute cruise through the LYNN FJORD/CANAL on the way to HAINES and Valley of the Eagles. Educational lecture on board telling us history of the area. LYNN FJORD is North America's longest and deepest Fjord. Arrived in HAINES, there was a bus driver, a guide and five of us passengers (Ed a professor from Baltimore, a retired couple from Maryland with the Goucher group, and us) for the 12 mile float trip through the eagle preserve. We boarded a bus and drove through town, and observed Fort Seward the U.S. Army's oldest Alaskan outpost, then along the CHILKAT RIVER, and past the village of KLUKWAN the ancestral home of the Chilkat Indians. We arrived at the starting point (with outhouse), our driver and guide set up food for lunch and we had a picnic in the light mist, but beautiful location. We put on traction boots, ponchos and life vests. There was a steady mist and sometimes more than mist, actual rain. We got into the 18‑foot rubber raft and were off down the CHILKAT RIVER system through the EAGLE PRESERVE. We saw Bald Eagles everywhere, many eagle nests plus other birds, but it was cold. This was a wonderful 12‑mile float trip and we were sorry when it was over! We floated over 1‑½ hours, but it seemed shorter and we would do it again! We then landed on a side of the riverbank, removed our boots, life vests and poncho's, they had hot chocolate, and then we returned to town. We again boarded the M/V Fairweather for the return trip via LYNN FJORD/CANAL to SKAGWAY. Back to our ship. The Daily Explorer (with all of the ship's activities) had stated that it would be Italian Dinner night in the Hamilton Dining Room, and Seafood Barbecue out on deck by the Harbour Grill. Although no fan of Italian foods we went to the dining room and were glad we did since we dined on fresh Dungeness crabs! Daily two of the people at our table took part in the early morning stretching classes and two of them used the exercise/fitness facilities, I never seemed to have the time to get involved, plus thought I was doing a great deal of walking anyway.
Sunday, June 18, 2000 ‑ Father's Day:
We had an early breakfast in the Harbour Grill. At 6 a.m. two Park Rangers from GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK and PRESERVE boarded the ship and were onboard all day, talking and pointing out sights and information. Within the park are MOUNT FAIRWEATHER 15,320 ft. and GLACIER BAY. The bay is about 70 miles long and 2 ½ to 10 miles wide. The weather was mixed sun and clouds. We got port side deck chairs and blankets and stayed there from 7:15 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. as we cruised GLACIER BAY. We saw many icebergs calving from MARGERINE GLACIER and GRAND PACIFIC GLACIER. We ate lunch at noon, and then back out on deck for MUIR INLET, RIGGS GLACIER and MC BRIDE GLACIER. I completed our second shore excursion form (for second half of cruise) and also attended a shore excursion presentation for the ports of Seward, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Each afternoon at 4 p.m. there were special snacks, we attended this day (the only time) for a Chocolate Lover's Buffet, and it really was special. Attended History lecture with Dr. Llya Vinkovetsky: "The Apex and Decline of the Russian Empire in America." We also viewed an educational video on Glacier Bay. Many more WHALES. We saw them daily on this cruise, both HUMPBACK WHALES and GRAY WHALES. Howard counted eight Gray whales at one time (this day). We saw Bald Eagles and many kinds of birds. Dinner was in the Hamilton Dining Room.
Monday, June 19, 2000:
5:30 a.m. cloudy, and it remained so all day. Sailing to YAKUTAK BAY to pick up three local native TLINGITs as pilot and lecturers while we visit HUBBARD GLACIER. Early breakfast and I was on port side about 7:30 a.m. and watched the boat come along side and the three TLINGIT Indians board. Again we used the deck chairs and blankets as we observed the scenery and talked with others. YAKUTAT BAY was impressive as were TURNER GLACIER and HUBBARD GLACIER (5 miles wide ‑ 65 miles deep), beautiful, large, blue and some dust on one side. This area was lovely and impressive ‑‑ much more so than GLACIER BAY! Lots of calving of icebergs!
Had lunch in dining room. Skipped the Anthropology lecture with Dr. Ron Duncan: Potlatch: It is Better to Give than to Receive, and skipped artists workshop. Attended Geology lecture with Dr. Dee Trent: Alaska Shake and Bake, and the Biology Lecture with Dr. Allan Schoenherr: Alaskan Wildlife: Coping with the Cold and Dark. We then left YAKUTAK BAY and headed north in the Gulf of Alaska. Cloudy sky, gentle rolls with small white caps, but cleared by 5:30 p.m. We had another good dinner. Then visited the photo shop and attended pre‑port lecture for ports of Valdez and Seward.
Tuesday, June 20, 2000:
5 a.m. overcast. Saw mountains with snow on both sides of the inlet going in to VALDEZ. We had an early breakfast and then went out on deck to view the scenery. Just before we got to the dock in VALDEZ Susan saw a SEA OTTER swimming out of the area rapidly. The VALDEZ arm of PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND was the prettiest harbor we saw on the whole trip! VALDEZ is the most northerly ice‑free port in the Western Hemisphere. It was lovely on all sides, plus this day it was calm, no wind, water glass smooth, even with a slight mist of rain. We docked about 9:30 a.m. Howard suggested I use his binoculars to see what the dock side shops had for sale, and I did so, shopped via binoculars. Decided there were several things of interest so went to the dock. Did not go the four miles into town, although free shuttle service was offered. Had a nice lunch (as always), lots of food, I'm not used to five course meals every lunch and every dinner, plus large breakfast!
Boarded a bus to take us to Era Helicopters (same company as in Juneau) for our PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND HELICOPTER SAFARI. Again a safety lecture, put on traction boots and life vests. There were the pilot and five of us passengers‑two ladies, Ed the professor from MD, Howard and Susan. VALDEZ is called the "Little Switzerland" of Alaska and we had good views of the town and the terminus of the TRANS‑ALASKA PIPELINE. We flew over the VALDEZ ARM of PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, the CHUGACH MOUNTAINS, COLUMBIA GLACIER & BAY, ANDERSON PASS, ANDERSON GLACIER, and SHOUP GLACIER. Landed on rock beach at the face of SHOUP GLACIER and we got out of the helicopter for about 30 minutes to walk around, take pictures, observe the icebergs close up (sit on them), some blue icebergs, some blue sky and some sun, comfortable and warm. This was another neat trip! Flew back to VALDEZ and then small mini‑bus back to the ship. Had another great dinner.
Wednesday, June 21, 2000:
4:30 a.m., clear sky and light! Out on deck, then early breakfast, and then back out on deck in the bright sun with clear blue sky! Docked in SEWARD at 8 a.m. Next to us was a larger ship from the Seven Seas Line‑they unloaded the passengers who had cruised north and they then got on train for Anchorage. Later that afternoon they boarded a new ship full of people who came via train from Anchorage for the cruise south. Howard walked in to Seward and up a hiking trail, which he enjoyed. Susan took free shuttle bus in to town, and shopped (window and otherwise) for about an hour before taking shuttle bus back to the ship. SEWARD has a population of 3,000 and is situated at the head of Resurrection Bay, a scenic, ice‑free, deep‑water harbor that connects with rail, highway, and aire routes. The town was named in honor of William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who arranged the purchase of Alaska from the Russians in 1867. The town was founded in 1903.
We met our shuttle for short trip to the small boat harbor where we boarded the "Glacier Explorer" for the six‑hour KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK CRUISE with box lunch. We immediately started seeing many HUMPBACK WHALES (lost count), GRAY WHALES (lost count), STELLER SEA LIONS (hundreds in several locations), HARBOR SEALS, CORMORANTS, BALD EAGLES, MURRES, PUFFINS, KITTIWAKES, BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS various gulls and other birds by the thousands. We cruised RESURRECTION BAY, through islands, and around AIALIK CAPE. We saw BEAR GLACIER, HARDING ICEFIELD with AIALIK GLACIER, PETERSON GLACIER and HOLGATE GLACIER. Our boat went to within ¼ mile of the face of HOLGATE GLACIER (it seemed closer), where the engines were stopped so we could listen to the ice against the boat, the glacier calving, and hear the seals. There were many SEAL pups on the small ice flows. We also cruised through the islands of the ALASKA MARITIME NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE including CHISWELL ISLAND. This was a beautiful day with clear bright blue sky. We stayed outside on the decks the whole six hours, except for time Susan spent in the wheelhouse on the return trip talking with the "captain" Leaf. Of course the wheelhouse had great views and was warm. She found that Leaf had gone to professional dive school in Seattle, WA [our son Scott went in Oakland, CA] so talked about diving in Alaska and such things, Leaf now 42 and although a "master diver" not doing very much since turned 40. Returned to SEWARD, decided not to have dinner on the ship but to eat in town. Went to Ray's near the small boat harbor for a wonderful fresh seafood dinner ‑ had scallops, prawns and halibut. After dinner we shopped and then took shuttle back to the ship. Susan stayed out on deck until well after 11 p.m. thinking she might get photos of good sunset, but the sky did not light up as it does here in Arizona. 10 p.m. the S.S. Universe Explorer set sail across the Gulf of Alaska for Sitka.
Thursday, June 22, 2000 ‑ Shelly's 31st Birthday:
A beautiful day at sea, bright blue sky, calm, glass smooth waters! Had an early breakfast and then took a stroll around the decks. We were among the fortunate ones to obtain tickets for a tour of the bridge of the ship with Staff Captain Madko Antisic (from Poland), the chief engineer Marek Skotniewski was also from Poland. We were in the first small group at 9:10 a.m. to visit the bridge, which was very, very interesting. Later we saw an Educational Video: which took a tour of the SS Universe Explorer as the film went to the Bridge, Engine Room and Galley. Lunch and walking the decks. Attended History lecture with Dr. Llya Vinkovetsky: The Purchase of Alaska: Causes and Consequences, then art show/sale of work by the artist‑in‑residence Frank Townsley. Attended Anthropology Lecture with Dr. Ron Duncan: Shamans and Masks: The Art of Transformation. Some people attended a napkin folding demonstration and others a grandparent's bragging social. Attended pre‑port tips lecture for the ports of Sitka and Ketchikan. Dall Dolphins playing along‑side the ship right outside our window. Great dinner in dining room. Attended "The Raven Steals the Light" and other adventures, Debbie the shore excursion manager, did selected reading from the TLINGIT and HAIDA Legends. Tired, wonder why, to bed early! Woke up 10:40 p.m., sky lit up beautifully from sunset, but didn't try to photograph just went back to bed.
Friday, June 23, 2000:
Third great day with bright clear blue sky and sunshine! 6:30 a.m. breakfast. Arrived in SITKA about 7:30 a.m. This was ONLY port that the ship had to anchor out in the harbor and then passengers ride tenders to and from shore‑all others we were at a dock. Founded by Alexander Baranof (head of the Russian American Company) in 1799, Sitka was established on the West Side of Baranof Island facing Sitka Sound. The Tlingit Indians have resided in the Sitka area for over 10,000 years. Baranof's settlement, Saint Archangel Michael, was the new headquarters for the Russian American Company moved from Kodiak, Alaska. Sitka has two colleges, museums, bookstores, galleries and is in a beautiful location.
The 65‑foot SEA OTTER EXPRESS picked us up at our ship at 8:30 a.m. for our three‑hour cruise (rest of passengers tendered in to SITKA). Susan was the first to spot HARBOR SEALS. After this there was so much great sea life! Went to several STELLER SEA LION rookeries; found a "raft" of 24 adorable SEA OTTERS (later found more); observed three or more GRAY WHALES; many birds ‑ BALD EAGLES, CORMORANTS, GLOUCOUS WINGED GULLS, TUFTED PUFFINS, RHINOCEROS AUKLET, COMMON MURRES and many others. We docked at SITKA harbor around 11:45 a.m. which is in downtown SITKA. This company guarantees that you will see an otter, a whale, or a bear. If not, you'll receive $40 cash refund at the end of the voyage.
We walked along the harbor to the SITKA NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK. We went to the visitor's center and then walked the nature trail through the forest observing many beautiful TOTEM POLES. This is one of the largest exhibits of Tlingit and Haida totem poles in existence. We walked back to the downtown area and shopped a bit. Then had lunch at the upstairs Bay View Restaurant. We had a beautiful view of the harbor, sparkling blue water, and snow‑topped mountains, and hamburgers ‑‑ time for a bit of "junk" food. No coats or sweaters needed. Visited more stores. Then toured ST. MICHAEL the ARCHANGEL RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL. Archpriest John O. Zabinko explained the icons and history. We took 4 p.m. tender back to the ship. The ship left SITKA at 6 p.m. for Ketchikan. SITKA gets from 90 to 120 inches of rain yearly, the record is 400 inches. Many people said we were there on one of probably the five great days they would have this summer. Nice dinner, as usual, then walked decks and talked with others. Watched a pod of GRAY WHALES spout, dive and show their tails along the port side of ship for quite awhile. Watched the sun set into the water about 10 p.m..
Saturday, June 24, 2000:
Fourth day of great bright clear blue skies and sunshine, warm mid‑60s. Breakfast early, docked about 7:30 a.m. in KETCHIKAN. We boarded a bus to the float plane area of the harbor. Our small DeHavilland plane held the pilot and 10 passengers, including one sitting in the co‑pilots seat with her video camera. Each person had a large picture window. This was our two‑hour DELUXE MISTY FJORDS FLIGHTSEEING trip. The MISTY FJORDS NATIONAL MONUMENTS has a total area of more than two million acres and is the USA's second largest wilderness area. We took off from the harbor at KETCHIKAN and the waters of TONGASS NARROWS, flew over various islands to MISTY FJORDS approximately 22 air miles east of KETCHIKAN. We observed many beautiful snow‑topped mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Landed on BIG GOAT LAKE. Howard and Peter Miller (of NYC) were the only ones to get out of the plane and stand on the floats of the plane to take photographs. RUDYERD BAY has a very tall waterfall that empties down into BIG GOAT LAKE, lovely! All too soon this flight was over and we went back to downtown KETCHIKAN.
Stopped at the visitor's center, the usual yearly rainfall is 160 inches (sometimes more)! Yikes, we get 7 inches per year in Tempe, AZ. They, like Sitka, have very few clear sunny days ‑ but this was one of them. The local residents say KETCHIKAN is five miles long, four blocks wide, and two blocks up Deer Mountain. This is known as the "Gateway to Alaska" as well as the "Salmon Capital" of the world. It is also known as the wettest town on the North American Continent! We took a taxi to THE TOTEM HERITAGE CENTER, which we toured. Then toured the DEER MOUNTAIN TRIBAL HATCHERY (salmon) and EAGLE CENTER, all were interesting. Then we walked back down hills to the main part of KETCHIKAN, and in one area along the side of KETCHIKAN CREEK. We shopped some, and then had ice cream before our return to the ship. There were four cruise ships in town, but ours was there the longest period of time. Our ship left port at 4 p.m. Another nice dinner, again visited photo shop, and walked decks talking with others. There was a great deal of entertainment and many activities that we did not have time to attend or take part in, so am not listing those things. Set clocks back one hour tonight, going off of Alaska time and back to Pacific time zone.
Sunday, June 25, 2000:
Fifth great day of bright blue sunny sky, as we were at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean. Had a late breakfast, 8:30 a.m. Attended the Disembarkation Talk done by Cruise Director Lee Druay and then pre‑port tips for Victoria. Completed evaluation questionnaire about the cruise. When asked which three shore excursions we would recommend and/or enjoyed the most the decision was difficult, but we chose: (1) JET BOAT on the STIKINE RIVER, (2) LYNN FJORD & EAGLE PRESERVE FLOAT TRIP, and the (3) SEA OTTER EXPRESS boat trip. (No space for (4) but it would have been the KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK CRUISE.) We had lunch then attended lectures: History with Dr. Llya Vinkovetsky: The Gold Rush, The Second World War and Beyond; the Biology lecture with Dr. Allan Schoenherr: Wreck of the Exxon Valdez: Eleven Years After. Again watched the video "SS Universe Explorer Ship Tour". All day was beautiful, small white caps but smooth sailing! Fixed our tip envelopes with cash to give out. Gave at lunch to waiter (Melchon), at dinner gave to headwaiter (Juhn) and to busboy (Joseph). After dinner gave to cabin steward (Joel). In the afternoon Susan took a nap and Howard read, ONLY day to actually kick back and "rest". Went to the captain's cocktail party and farewell dinner (the second dressy evening), where had more photos taken. One of the dessert choices was Baked Alaska with singing waiter parade. Attended Farewell Gala Show: Cristina Ruotolo ensemble ‑ violin, Vanessa Ruotolo ensemble ‑ cello, James Shallenberger ensemble ‑ viola, Chia Nagatani classical piano, Dorothy Bishop classical singer, Guy Bogar classical singer, Garold Whisler pianist and Janey Smith pop singer. Watched colorful sunset from a back deck about 10 p.m., smooth, calm, waters.
Monday, June 26, 2000:
Sixth day of bright blue clear sky and sunshine. Breakfast and then out on deck. Susan to photo shop to order pictures taken evening before. Howard stayed out on deck and then Susan packed her luggage. She listened to lecture (via the T‑V while packing) on the SEMESTER AT SEA. This ship does two 100 day around the world cruises with Semester at Sea academically sponsored by the Univ. of Pittsburgh and administered by the Institute for Shipboard Education. She was surprised to learn that 50 "adult" passengers may go on any 100‑day Semester at Sea cruise and may audit any or all classes. Sounds wonderful and exciting!!
Arrived in VICTORIA, B.C., CANADA, about 11 a.m. VICTORIA known as the City of Gardens, is the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest and the capital of British Columbia. Since Susan had been here before and we knew what we planned to do, we ate lunch and let most of the people get off the ship first. We then got a taxi and went to BUTCHARD GARDENS (http://www.butchartgardens.com). Susan and Carol Goewey visited here in Sept. 1994, but it was Howard's first visit and he enjoyed photographing the bright and beautiful flowers growing in eleven gardens. After spending several hours at BUTCHARD GARDENS we went to the newer BUTTERFLY GARDENS. We saw huge moths, beautiful butterflies ‑‑ some landed on Howard's hat several times ‑‑ including the metallic blue of the BLUE MORPHO BUTTERFLY and many other kinds, plus fish, and talking Cockatiels. We took taxi back to our ship. Visited one last gift shop, and purchased today's Wall Street Journal at a news stand.
Susan is a news junkie, and this was the longest she has ever been without 24‑hour news via CNN and daily newspapers, but she decided not to purchase any papers on the trip and to make do with the re‑cap news as shown on the ships T‑V. Howard packed and then we went to dinner. We walked decks and then sat out on a back deck talking with people and enjoying the beautiful day and views across the Straits of San Juan Fuca to Port Angeles, WA, USA. Saw Joel our delightful cabin steward and gave him our small amount of left over Canadian money. Our bags were to be in the hallway before midnight ‑‑ except of course for our carry‑on bags with passports, plane tickets, Canadian customs cards, house and car keys and clothes for tomorrow. We were asleep when our ship left VICTORIA at midnight.
Tuesday, June 27, 2000:
Enjoyed our last meal aboard ship, an early breakfast. The statement put under our door the night before from the pursers office was correct, so no need to go to that office. The shore excursions and our few gift shop purchases and the photo shop purchases would be charged to the credit card that we selected the first day on board. The ship docked in VANCOUVER, B.C., at 7 a.m., could have arrived a bit earlier but would have had to pay the longshoreman for an extra shift so waited. Another bright, sunny, clear day, beautiful ‑‑ seventh such day in a row! Everyone's baggage was color coded (our color was bright green) and people got off according to their baggage tag color, each group took about 10 to 15 minutes, all very orderly and nice. But with only 550 "guests" surely much better than with 2,000 "guests" on the much larger ships, which do not interest us. We got off the ship, got our luggage and went to bus that took us to the VANCOUVER Airport. Went through US customs and then were able to check luggage through to Phoenix. Had Horizon/Alaska flight #2239 at 1 p.m. for Seattle, arrived in Seattle about 1:50 p.m. Left Seattle on Alaska Air flight #766 for Phoenix at 4:10 p.m., arrived in bright sunny Phoenix on time at 6:51 p.m. Picked up luggage, got shuttle to our off‑airport parking lot, and drove home.
Susan took 28 rolls of 24 exposure print film (672 photographs). She is currently working to put these pictures into photo albums and note what they are! She shall also fix one album with less than 100 photographs to show people. Of course she will show all photos to anyone with interest, which is doubtful.
Howard took 22 rolls of 24‑exposure slide film and one roll of 36‑exposure slide film (564 slides). He chose 150 of his "best" slides and fixed in one tray. If anyone would like to see slides from Alaska, he will show this tray of 150 and ONLY this tray.
Food consumption on the 14 day cruise:
Copyright 2000 and beyond by Susan L. Anderson
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