Monday, July 22, 2013

Juneau, Alaska: Sea Lions and Glaciers and Whales Oh My!

As most of you know, I recently returned from a cruise.  It's taken me a while to get around to writing about it.  It was amazing!

Our first port was in Juneau, Alaska.  I saw whales!

Before I tell you anything else, I just need you to see this great picture Robyn took.
It's a tail of a whale!
I feel better now.  That just had to be done.  Did I mention I saw whales?

But I suppose I can tell you the story of what happened the entire day.

First of all, I wore pants.  
This is my view while waiting for the ship to dock.
People had told me tales of how cold Alaska is.  Since we were going whale watching, I figured the boat moving quickly over water would make it pretty darn cold.  I should have stuck to my gut and worn shorts.  Even Alaska doesn't get cold enough for long pants.  At least not in July.  (I imagine if I was doing the Iditarod, I'd want some long pants.)

The first thing we did in Alaska was get on a bus.  The company that we booked our whale watching with had a tour bus that took us around.  The driver was super knowledgeable and super fun.  She drove a school bus in the lower 48 during winter and came up to Alaska during the summer to drive a tour bus.  She gave us lots of information about Juneau.  Things like the fact that you cannot drive to the city of Juneau.  Alaska's capitol is only accessible by air or sea.  Who knew?  Also, Juneau has a Walmart.  She was very excited to tell us that.
The weather forecast: Cloudy with a chance of bears and eagles
The first stop the bus made was at the Mendenhall Glacier visitor's center.  We had only paid for whale watching, but they said the bus stops at the Mendenhall Glacier first, so that was included for free.  I'm really glad we got to do that, it was beautiful.  

The hike to the best viewpoint for the glacier was about 1 mile round trip.  We booked it out there as fast as we could because our time there was limited.

The Alaska wilderness was rejuvenating, as evidenced by Robyn's pose
Zack and I were precious as we approached the glacier.
The closest you  can get to the glacier without getting in a boat or swimming is from nugget falls.  Here is a panorama to show you the view from the shore.
As you can see, the glacier is still across a bit of water, but Robyn was able to get some sweet shots, nonetheless.

This is about what it looked like with the naked eye
This is with Robyn's telephoto lense.  I love the blue color.
We enjoyed the view of the fall and the glacier for about 15 minutes, then it was time to book it back so we didn't miss the bus.

Our next stop was at Auke Bay Harbor, to go see whales!
I took a selfie with the locals

We learned some fun facts.
Finally we got on a boat
The cold wind made Robyn sad
The boat didn't have to go very far before we started to see wildlife.  After just a few minutes the boat slowed down to let us see the eagles.
They also took us by this little buoy where the sea lions like to hang out.
How the one climbed into the higher area is one of life's greatest mysteries.
Finally, we got to see whales.  I think my favorite picture was the awesome tail shot up above.  But here are a couple others.
Here is a whale hump.
Here is a whale spouting 
Whale watching was a neat experience.  Our guides would pull up to an area in the boat.  They would point to an area of water and tell us there is a whale out there.  We'd keep our eyes peeled until we'd suddenly see a spout.  We probably saw 10 different whales during the time we were out there.  It was super amazing.

After the whale watching, we still had some time before we had to get back on the ship.  We walked around downtown Juneau.  We noticed there were several Russian shops.  I guess that's the thing when you're that close to Russia.  
I really wanted this hat, but I didn't 85 dollars want it.

Robyn is the cutest babushka ever.
We did see a bear while we were there.  Unfortunately, it was stuffed.  It was the only bear I saw in Alaska.  It is my belief that all Alaskan bears are stuffed.  That is based on my extensive experience in Alaska.

Also, I never saw Sarah Palin.  Based on my experience, she is not in Alaska.


  1. It makes me so happy whenever anyone comes near our home!!! We're straight East of Juneau and looks very similar here, especially heading into the Canadian Rockies. So happy for you guys and your awesome trip.

  2. Wouldn't Alaska be better off if Sarah Palin was never in Alaska.. She and her bloody thrill killing friends probably killed so many bears that you won't see them. Alaska even has a kill on sight law for orphaned bears and wolves ( no kidding ). The current politicians in Alaska have turned the state into a moose farm.. and have destroyed it. My brother has lived in the state since 1985.. I know.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...