Glacier Bay National Park

September 11, 2009

My favorite part of our Alaskan cruise was Glacier Bay National Park.  We spent one entire day cruising in this remote and pristine wilderness.  Glacier Bay is accessible only by plane or ship, so I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the beauty of this gem of a national park.

Here are some photographs that give you a sense of the wonders found in the park:

One of the many glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park

One of the many glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park

Lining up on deck to see the Margerie Glacier up close

Lining up on deck to see the Margerie Glacier up close

Jagged blue ice of the Johns Hopkins Glacier

Jagged blue ice of the Johns Hopkins Glacier

Harbor seal floating on an iceberg by the Johns Hopkins Glacier

Harbor seal floating on an iceberg by the Johns Hopkins Glacier

Shades of blue, Glacier Bay National Park

Shades of blue, Glacier Bay National Park

Sun streams through the clouds, Glacier Bay National Park

Sun streams through the clouds, Glacier Bay National Park

Cruising Alaska

September 9, 2009

Our cruise ship, the Coral Princess, at the dock in Ketchikan

Our cruise ship, the Coral Princess, at the dock in Ketchikan

My husband and I returned on Monday from a 7-day cruise from Anchorage, Alaska, down the coast to Vancouver, B.C.  We booked the cruise at the last minute after learning that I would be furloughed for one week while the Seattle Public Libraries closed for budget reasons.  When I was investigating things to do during my week off without pay, I ran across this cruise that fit the timeframe exactly.  We’ve never cruised before, so we decided that when life served up lemons, we’d make lemonade and enjoy a vacation that took us away from our everyday concerns.

We didn’t see as much wildlife as during our land vacation in Alaska in 2008, but the scenery along the Alaskan coast was stunningly beautiful.  Here are a few photos that attempt to capture the scope of this week-long cruise:

Snow-capped peaks surrounding Harvard Glacier in College Fjord

Snow-capped peaks surrounding Harvard Glacier in College Fjord

Lining up on deck to see Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park

Lining up on deck to see Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park

These days Skagway pans for tourist dollars rather than gold

These days Skagway pans for tourist dollars rather than gold

Skagway guide dressed in Gold Rush era clothing

Skagway guide dressed in Gold Rush era clothing

Departing Skagway ahead of two other cruise ships

Departing Skagway ahead of two other cruise ships

Float plane descending into Juneau

Float plane descending into Juneau

Lone kayaker against the immensity of the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau

Lone kayaker against the immensity of the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau

Icebergs in the water by Nugget Falls near the Mendenhall Glacier

Icebergs in the water by Nugget Falls near the Mendenhall Glacier

Cloud-enshrouded forests around Juneau -- Juneau gets over twice as much precipitation as Seattle.

Cloud-enshrouded forests around Juneau -- Juneau gets over twice as much precipitation as Seattle.

It rained every day of our trip, but the changing clouds were beautiful and dramatic.

It rained every day of our trip, but the changing clouds were beautiful and dramatic.

Totem poles at Saxman Village outside Ketchikan

Totem poles at Saxman Village outside Ketchikan

Native carver demonstrates his craft, Saxman Village

Native carver demonstrates his craft, Saxman Village

Our favorite activity was simply watching the scenery go by from our aft deck.

Our favorite activity was simply watching the scenery go by from our aft deck.

I cherish the memories of sunsets at sea.

I cherish the memories of sunsets at sea.

Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver, B.C. on the final morning of our cruise

Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver, B.C. on the final morning of our cruise