Cruise to Alaska Part Two
During our recent cruise to Alaska (see previous blog) we had three ports of call as well as spent four hours at the Hubbard Glacier. The main reason that we chose Alaska as a destination was to see some glaciers and we are very glad that we did. On the third day of the cruise the ship spent four hours at the Hubbard Glacier doing 360’s so that everyone could get a good view. The Hubbard Glacier originates in Yukon Territories and meets the ocean in Disenchantment Bay in Alaska. It is the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska and has a face 10 kilometres wide. The glacier is approachable on two routes for cruise ships on one either side of Haenke Island. The naturalist on-board our ship was quite excited because on the day we sailed sea ice was blocking the more common route so we approached the glacier from the narrower less common side. It was worth the trip despite the rain. The Hubbard Glacier ice margin has continued to advance for about a century.
The following day we docked in Juneau where Jeff and I and my mom woke early to take a rafting trip down the Mendenhall River. The Mendenhall Glacier extends from the Juneau Icefield, its source, to Mendenhall Lake and ultimately the Mendenhall River. It is approximately 12 miles long and has receded 1.75 miles since 1958. We boarded our rafts on the shore of Mendenhall Lake (10 to a raft) and the temperature dropped significantly as soon as we set into the lake. We were lucky enough to float by several pieces of glacier than had broken off and are now sitting on the lake floor making them safer to approach. After about 30 minutes on the lake we reached the mouth of the river. The temperature went up a few degrees and we headed for the rapids. A few class 2 rapids and one class 3 later we were gently floating and watching the eagles and the salmon fisherman as we drifted by. It was a great trip for beginner rafters and glacier watchers except for the ice cold feet (water in the boat after the rapids).
Ports of Call
Our Port of Call were Icy Point Strait, Juneau and Ketchikan. To Jeff and I Juneau and Ketchikan were very “Sunshine Coast esque”. Small towns with piers, a mix of old and new, local fishing boats, souvenirs and great scenery. Icy Point Strait is a destination owned by Huna Totem Corporation and built for cruise ship traffic. A brilliant idea if you ask me. Not very many passengers got of the ship that day but Jeff, Mom and I enjoyed a local lunch of Seafood Chowder, Caribou Chili and Huna Fish Tacos made on Fry Bread to support the local economy and it was GOOD! Check out the story of the Tlingit people and the village of Hoonah here.
Currently On A Road Trip
We are very glad that we chose this trip to Alaska and that the Knight family was willing and able to join us. Jeff survived a whole seven days with my relatives and can live to talk about it too! We are now in the Kootenays and the Okanagan on a road trip including the fabulous BC destinations of Kaleden, Creston, Invermere, Panorama, Vernon, Coldstream and Kelowna…stay tuned.