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Alaska

Thirteen – The Aftermath

I was sifting through some photos this weekend of our trip to Alaska. I came across this one. I must’ve completely blocked it out of my brain. This is what your laundry room looks like when a family of 4 comes back from a 2-week trip to Alaska.

 

Thirteen loads of laundry. And that does NOT include the 2 loads we did the night we got back so Jason could have his stuff to pack for Boy Scout summer camp!

Alaska Day 15 – 7.14.12

It’s Saturday morning, and the fun part of the vacation is over. We’re docked in Vancouver and getting ready to head home. We dock at 7:00 a.m., but we can’t get off the boat until the time we’ve been assigned. They will transfer us from Vancouver to Seattle via motorcoach. We get ready, eat breakfast, and have some time, so we head up to the pool deck so Dude and Princess can get in one last game of giant chess.

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Then at 9:30, we head to our gathering area to start our journey home. Let’s just say that it does NOT go at all as smoothly as it should’ve! Here’s the letter I sent to Princess customer service explaing our trip back to Colorado Springs.

“My family enjoyed a wonderful 7-day cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess that left Whittier on July 7th and reached Vancouver at 7:00 a.m. on July 14th. We had signed up for the shuttle transfer from Vancouver to Seattle for that morning. When we got the disembarktion paperwork onboard, it said meet at 9:30, which we did with about 20 other people. Then we sat. And then we stood in line. Then we sat some more. Then we took the bus as planned.
 
However, before we even got on the bus, the person ushering us around said it would take about 5 hours with customs, etc. Not a good thing for any of us on that bus since flights were anywhere from 2:50 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. It took us FOREVER to get to Seattle. Everyone on that bus missed their flight, except one family of 4, and they only made their 3:50 flight because everyone else let them off first so they could run (we were travelling with this family and know they barely made it).
 
Also, others we were travelling with that had later flights and who were sitting in the lobby of the cruise ship when we dismbarked made it to Seattle BEFORE us on their Princess shuttle bus. Seriously? How does this happen? And why were we made to sit on the ship for 2 1/2 hours before we left when others met at 7:30 to disembark? Princess had everyone’s flight information and we were assured any flight after 3:00 p.m. would be no problem. There is no excuse for the complete lapse in scheduling.
 
As a result, my family missed our direct flight to Denver. Thankfully, the flight agent took mercy on us since it wasn’t our fault and rescheduled us on a flight that we barely made as well. Instead of a direct flight to Denver, we had to go through Las Vegas. When we got to Vegas, our connection time was so tight, but it was the last flight to Denver that day, that the 4 of us had to run from our arrival gate to our departure gate. The gate agent had already shut the doors, but were also wonderful and let us on the plane anyway. We fly enough to know this does NOT happen – we were very thankful.
 
We finally arrived home at midnight rather than 7:00 p.m. as originally planned.
 
I am requesting a full refund of $236 to cover the cost of the very failed “no fuss no stress” Princess Cruise line transfer from Vancouver to Seattle ($196 for the 4 of us) and the $40 extra we paid to have Southwest check us in automatically for our original scheduled flight so we could all sit together (that did not happen since we barely made the rescheduled flight – my 9 year old daughter and 11 year old son had to sit by themselves on the flight).”

Dude had to get up Sunday morning and pack for a noon departure to Boy Scout Summer Camp (yes, he was leaving for another week!), so we sent him and Princess to bed right away. Hubby and I sorted laundry and pulled out only Dude’s clothes so we could wash them overnight so he could pack in the morning. It was a late night and not the ending we’d hoped for.

But, we had a wonderful trip! Every bit of it was awesome and just what we wanted. I can’t wait until I can go back and spend another two week on land exploring even more of the awesomeness that is Alaska!

For now, back to reality :?)

Alaska Day 14 – 7.13.12

We wake up Friday morning to our last day on the boat – a day at sea cruising to Vancouver. Amazingly, it’s even nicer than the previous days! Not only is it sunny out, but it’s also warm, shorts and t-shirts warm! We eat some breakfast and pack up as much as we can in the morning so we can have the rest of the day to do whatever we want to on the boat. We start off our day hooking up with QT and Ed for a friendly shuffle board tournament. Princess watches as Dude shows off his shuffleboard form.

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As you can see in this photo, Ed and Hubby are amazed at QT’s ability to hold a hot coffee AND play shuffleboard :-)

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After some fun playing shuffleboard while enjoying some yummy cocktails on the deck, Ed headed off for trivia, Dude and Hubby headed off to do whatever it is they wanted to do, and QT, Princess, and I headed to the spa to get our nails painted. We didn’t make reservations ahead of time, so we ended up just making one for Princess since we couldn’t all get in at once.

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Yes, my 9 yeard old got a mani/pedi on the cruise! And she was as happy as a clam about it :-) Of course, then we were off to the pool. She begged me to wear my suit so I could go in the hot tub with her and swim in the pool, but 2 minutes after we got there, my social butterfly ran into some friends and was off splashing around and eating ice cream with her buddies.

 

Mid-afternoon, it was time to go back to the room to pack up the rest of our stuff (have to leave your bags outside the door before dinner), and get cleaned up for happy hour. We had a wonderful time drinking wine and snacking on appetizers with QT, Ed, Tony, and Deb while we stood on the balcony and watched the dolphins play alongside the ship. We enjoyed a great dinner together before we parted ways. The Boedies headed to the outdoor pool deck to catch a little bit of a movie on the giant outdoor screen . . .

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. . . while we waited for this . . .

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The first sunset we’d seen in 14 days! We’d finally gotten far enough south that the sun set at a halfway normal time. It was beautiful and an amazing way to end our awesome vacation.

Alaska Day 13 – 7.12.12

It’s Thursday and we wake up in Ketchikan! We’re very excited for our last port day because we get to go on our fishing and wilderness dining excursion. We planned another later departure – 10:00 a.m. – so we could sleep in and have a good breakfast. We ordered breakfast in the room again and sat on the balcony in the beautiful weather as we watched the ship being led into port by a Coast Guard boat with a very large gun on the front. Dude thought that was very cool!

 

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We saw a bunch of float planes taking off and landing while we were cruising to the pier.

 

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Then we saw THIS! The Coast Guard boat, which was right below our balcony, suddenly gunned it. We looked to the right where it was headed and saw that a float plane was trying to take off between our boat and shore. Apparently the Coast Guard boat didn’t like that idea, and we got to watch a game of chicken!

 

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The plane pulled up in time to get over the boat and was off. We all wondered if that guy would get a call when he got back from his flight!

We met our fishing guide, Don, on the dock at 10:00 a.m. and we were off, headed toward the boat landing! Ketchikan is beautiful :-)

 

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After a nice 10 minute walk to the end of town, we were outfitted from head to toe in waterproof gear to protect us from all the fish guts we would hopefully have to deal with. I love that they try to make the adult life jackets look like blue denim shirts complete with collars and pockets :-)

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It was just the 4 of us and Don on the boat. I was loving the cruise, but couldn’t have been happier to be heading out on a small boat with the family for the day.

 

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Don couldn’t believe the weather. He said the past week had been cloudy, cool, and rainy. We were way lucky to have had such a great weather day! After a brief discussion about what kind of fishing we wanted to do, we determined we wanted to go for quantity so the kids could enjoy reeling in fish rather than try for big fish to send hom. I was enjoying the scenery and water so much that I didn’t even care if I caught a fish – I was just happy to be on the water :-)

After a little while, Dude pointed out the giant lures we’d be using to fish with. In addition to the giant squid lures, we each also had a big piece of salmon on the hook!

 

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It took us about 15 minutes to get to our fishing destination. On the way we saw some awesome houses, including this one with a giant retaining wall!

 

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Then Don stopped at our destination, about 20 yards from shore. When he asked me and Hubby how deep we thought it was, we both said about 25 feet. Then he showed us the GPS/depth finder.

 

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Um ya – that DOES really say 649 feet! Don thought that was a little deep to start with, so he took us a little closer to where it was about 250 feet and gave us a little fishing lesson. On his word, we all dropped our lines, let ‘em hit the bottom, and reeled ‘em up a couple turns. Then we fished :-) It took a whoppin’ 2 minutes for the first fish to be caught! Then another fish bit at the same time and we had two people reeling in fish!

Since we were such awesome fishermen, Don decided we were read for some deeper water and took us out to about 400 feet of water. I just want to say that reeling even a 10?pound fish up from 400 feet down is a LOT of work! Holy crap!

Here’s Dude reeling in his first fish. He was so excited when he determined he actually had a fish on the line!

 

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Then he kept reeling and reeling and reeling and complaining how hard it was but loving every minute of it and refusing to let Don help.

 

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Dude let too much slack in the line a couple times, so Don went over to give him a little reminder lesson on how to reel a fish up from the deep dark depths of the sea!

 

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Dude finally got his fish to the surface and Don stabbed it with the grabber thingy and pulled the fish into the boat. He unhooked it while Dude shook his injured wrist out :-)

 

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Then he got to pose with his fish – the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!

 

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It was a red snapper – aka a rock fish. They call ‘em that since you catch them deep right off the rocky bottom. Isn’t that the ugliest fish ever?! That thing sticking out of its mouth is a float sack. They have those so they stay upright when they sleep at the bottom – it’s what sharks don’t have, which is why they drown if they stop moving. Anyhoo, when you pull these guys up, the pressure change is too great and the sack increases and bloats and ends up so large it comes out of their mouth and makes their eyes bulge out. It really is creepy lookin’!

Dude dropped his line back in and caught a quill back next. He had to hold this one on the hook because Don said if you touch its quills, it’s like it stings you and it burns like there’s acid in the cut. Not fatal, but very uncomfortable.

 

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Princess also caught a fish even though she had her line in the water half as much as everyone else :-) Fittingly, she caught the smallest fish, also a quill back.

 

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After catching her fish, she was content to just sit on the boat and look good.

 

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Here’s Hubby all happy and relaxed fishing (I think he looks like a Lego Man fisherman in this photo!) . . .

 

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Then this happened!

 

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He hooked one! After lots of reeling and huffing and puffing and laughing and giggling and excitement, he pulled this guy out of the water.

 

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Another red snapper. His fish’s float sack got punctured and deflated when Don stabbed it with the hook to pull it in the boat, so his doesn’t look quite as freaky as Dude’s did!

After all that work, it was time for Hubby to relax…

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…while I reeled and reeled and huffed and puffed and laughed and giggled and whished I’d worked out more before I pulled in this guy!

 

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Another red snapper – of course it was the biggest one :-)

We all threw our lines back in and Hubby came up with this big cod . . .

 

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. . . while I reeled in a halibut.

 

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You’re only allowed so many rockfish, so we fed the small quill backs to the bald eagle that was watching us from high up in the tree.

 

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It was so cool how the second Don waved the fish in the air, the eagle just knew and started flying down. The he eyed it in the water.

 

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Put his legs down, and swooped in for the grab.

 

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As he flew away, he squacked a loud and beautiful thank you. It was very cool to see!

We trolled around a little more to check out some sights and drop some deep lines, but didn’t have much luck. Princess and I didn’t even fish, we just hung out and watched the water. Raise your hand if you knew the waters off Alaska were full of jellyfish??? I had no idea!

 

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We decided to call it a day and headed to an island beach where we got to get out and enjoy our wilderness lunch. We were all happy to get the hot waders off and wander around in our shorts and sexy boots :-) Princess loves the water and just had to wade around in it.

 

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Dude hung out on shore and trolled for clams, which were abundants.

 

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Here’s Hubby, walking back from the facilitrees :-)

 

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I laughed when I heard that the first time and giggle every time I think of it! Here are me and Hubby by our catch before Don filetted it.

 

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Our guide, Don, filets the large red snapper I caught.

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This fish? A halibut another boat caught.

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Look at that thing!!! That fish was HUGE! Look at the picture of Don filetting the biggest red snapper we caught above – remember how big it was when I was holding it? Now look at how much of the table this ginormous halibat takes up. Holy Crap! This thing makes our fish look like minnows! I didn’t even want to know how hard it was to reel that thing in!

 

These are our fish filets, ready to be cooked over an open flame in the woods. Yummy!!!

 

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We wandered around camp a little while they cooked our fish. The area was so green and lush!

 

 

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Our fish was finally finished and we got to enjoy our fish with an awesome red sauce and homemade bread baked in the camp oven.

 

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After lunch, we enjoyed the best berry cobbler that the cook also cooked right there in the camp oven. The whole meal was amazing. Talk about fresh fish!

We were bummed when it was time to head back to the boat, but all good things must come to an end. We arrived back at the docks, unloaded all our stuff, and stopped at a few shops before we returned to the boat. You can’t go to Ketchikan and not get a totem! Even though we were totally fully, we still showered and headed down to the dining room for dinner. The Costas had gone fishing for Salmon while QT and the rest went flightseeing and driving through the totem park. Everyone had such an awesome day and couldn’t wait to share adventures and pictures. We couldn’t have asked for a better last day at port.

 

As we pulled out of Ketchikan, we headed out on the deck to see this pretty sight :-) When you’re married to a pilot, everything that has to do with airplanes is cool, even contrails.

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Alaska Day 12 – 7.11.12

Wednesday in Juneau! We chose not to do any excursions in Juneau so we could have a day to explore and do whatever we wanted. We decided to grab the GPS and head to the aerial tramway for a ride to the top of Mount Roberts for a hike and geocache. On our way to the tram, we saw a couple yachts, including this one.

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Just a normal boat . . . the fun part was that it was from CO!

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We had to giggle at this sign – all was normal until the second to last line.

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We had some great views from our aerial tram car as we went up Mount Roberts. Here’s a good one of our ship.

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We haven’t talked about the ship much, but it was cool! See the pool on the top deck near the middle by the green lawn? There’s a movie screen attached to the green lawn, so we could sit by the pool each evening and watch a movie.

 

Here’s a view of Juneau. I still think it’s weird that they chose a capital you can’t drive to!

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Dude and Princess thought the Totem on our hike was pretty cool!

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It was quite rainy and cool out, and we had to navigate some snow to get to the geocache.

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The waterfalls on the hillsides were beautiful! Looks just like Hawaii.

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The GPS led us to this spot, but the kiddos had a tough time finding the cache.

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With a little more searching, we found an awesome geocache in Juneau!

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Hubby had to have a picture with the airport, which was really cool! Having to fly though that valley to get to the airport – it was fun watching the large planes navigate in and out.

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Family photo at the top of Mt. Roberts – Yes, those are clouds right behind us.

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We headed back down and walked around town for awhile, because the kids definitely had not been through enough stores with trinkets, t-shirts, and slippers! We had an awesome fish and chips lunch on the dock while we watched float planes come and go. Then we found this!

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Dude thought he’d died and gone to heaven! Where else could you buy an RC airplane, Alaska socks, fabric by the yard, and shampoo all in the same store?

 

On our way back to the ship, we came across another M.A.S.H. sign – apparently those Alaskans like their M.A.S.H!

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This sign on the little Chamber of Commerce building made me giggle.

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We headed back to the ship for our 3:30 departure. Princess had been giggling at her bed the entire time and had to take a picture of it. Nice normal bunk that drops out of the ceiling …

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And then you read the warning sign…

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Really?! What else are you going to do with a top bunk other than let children sleep in it???

Anyhoo, we had a great day exploring Juneau. Princess really wanted to hang out at the pool, so we headed down there. Of course she ran into some friends from Kid’s Club and ended up playing with them in the pool for hours! Hubby, Dude, and I settled into some lawn chairs and watched a movie on the big screen outside . . . We Bought A Zoo. We weren’t going to formal dinner that night, so we all just got ice cream and shakes and pizza and burgers whenever we wanted it while we watched the movie. A great ending to our afternoon!

We headed back to the room to clean up a bit before going to the evening show in the theater. Back to the stateroom pretty early so we could get some rest before our day in Ketchikan – deep sea fishing!

Alaska Day 11 – 7.10.12

Tuesday – our first port day! We loved the glaciers and wildlife and cruising, but we were so excited to get off the boat and explore. Today – Zipline and Adventure Park with the Costas! A couple weeks ago we were wondering if we’d even get to do this with Jason being in a cast. I chose not to cancel it, hoping they’d let him do it anyway. I’m so glad I didn’t cancel because he ended up getting his cast completely off rather than replaced! Woo hoo!

When we docked at the pier, this was outside our window – bunches of ship names and the names of the captains painted on the rocks – pretty cool.

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We also took the opportunity to get our photo taken with the name of our ship.

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After a quick shuttle ride through town and out to the adventure park, we got all geared up and ready to go.

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The very stylish helmets are not to save our melons in the event of an accident but to protect us from change or anything else that might fall out of someones pocket as they soar through the air above us :-)

We hiked up to the beginning of the adventure park. The kids were first in line, so they had to sit and wait for the rest of us to get there.

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And yes – Princess’s helmet does match her outfit perfectly.

 

The adventure portion of the park started with a walk across the Indiana Jones bridge – this was designed to get us used to the harnesses and to trust the guides and the equipment. I can’t say that this was my favorite part 😉 Princess and Hubby did fine.

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 Then we got to walk across a wobbly rope bridge before heading to the single plank.

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 Hubby and the kids got all bunched up on one landing. Kinda made me nervous being so far off the ground with everyone on one landing!

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Princess is still smiling, ready to go on the first mini-zip.

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There were some other people in our group, so we had to wait for a little while after the mini-zip before we could head to the progressively bigger ziplines.

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We were all excited for the bigger zipline! Princess cruised down without any issues.

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Dude and I were a little more nervous to just jump off the platform. The platform ends before you can feel the harness tighten and hold your weight, so it’s a bit scary to take that leap! Full disclosure – I may or may not have sat down on the platform and slid off the bigger zipline 😉

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After each zipline, we had to take a little hike to the next one. The last 3 ziplines were all together, so once you went down one, you had to complete the last two. Here’s Princess all happy and excited, about 30 seconds before she freaked out and refused to go on the last 3 ziplines!

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The boys scared her by telling her the last zipline was really super long and you’d go 45 mph. That did not excite her . . . at all. So she hiked down with the guide after the rest of us went ziplining.

After some trail mix and hot chocolate, we headed back to town and had the bus driver drop us off at the brewery for a yummy lunch of fish and chips and local brewed beer. We explored around town for awhile, then walked over to the airport to check out the runway and the helipad.

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We met up with the Costas and headed back to the ship – but not before I got a picture of Dude and Princess actually not picking on each other.

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 We had a wonderful dinner on the ship, then headed right down to the theater. Dude wanted to get the perfect seats for the Landon Swank show! He was way excited when he saw that he was going to be performing on the boat. The show was very cool, and Dude and Princess even got their picture taken with them on our way out.

Tomorrow? Juneau – can’t wait!

Alaska Day 10 – 7.9.12

Monday – we wake up to foggy, rainy, chilly weather for our trip through Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay National Park is a very protected area, allowing a very limited number of watercraft into the area. This meant that we had the waters basically to ourselves the entire day, allowing us to truly experience this beautiful place.

Unlike Sunday with our trip into Yakutat Bay to see the Hubbard Glacier, the weather did not clear up today. We took advantage of the complimentary deck blankets and grabbed a few before heading outside to see the awesome views. It was rainy, but it wasn’t windy, which really helped!

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We tried to keep a little dry under the umbrella!

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We didn’t see much wildlife in the water or on land, but we did see tons of bald eagles and other birds. None of the birds were afraid of our ship at all! This guy was beautiful flying around.

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And his buddy was even more amazing just sitting on this little iceberg.

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There were quite a few of these guys flying around…

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Their white bodies looked beautiful against the blue water! Then this guy came to say hello.

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Princess and Dude spent a lot of time checking everything out with the binoculars. Love this picture of Princess!

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The Marjorie Glacier WAS just another glacier 😉 And for the kiddos, it was a little boring since we’d spent hours watching the Hubbard Glacier calf the previous day. They were wet and cold, so we finally let them go to the kid’s club. Hubby and I hung out on the deck for quite a while, and finally found shelter from the rain after a lot of other people bolted inside from the rain. Watching glaciers is so amazing! And it’s not so much watching them as hearing them. You can hear the ice crackling, then you find the area where it’s calving, see the ice fall into the water, and about 10 seconds later, you hear the light thundering sound. It’s very cool.

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When the boat started to leave, we looked out through the bay and saw a ton of ice that we had to cruise through! Hard to see in this photo, but you can see a line where it looks like the water is different . . . that “different” water is ice!

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We decided to throw in the towel. We went and got a couple drinks and had a fun adult afternoon together doing whatever we wanted. We grabbed the kids in time for everyone to get ready for dinner. This was OUR first dinner in the dining room at our table with QT, Ed, and the Wetherbees. The kiddos were pretty adventurous and refused to order from the kids menu. Instead they tried all the adult food . . . including calamari steak and clams! There are so many courses, that even if they only had a couple bites of each, they were still full. and of course there was dessert, which was always awesome! After dinner, we took the kids back to the Kids Club, because the adults were going to go out for the first time. Deb had discovered a “secret” little bar down some steps at the back of another bar, so we all headed down there. We were the only ones there, and had a great time chatting, drinking, and just being together.

Here’s the Birthday Group – Me, QT, and MS – all 40 this year!

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And here’s the crew of adult folks that joined us on our birthday adventure. Big thanks to everyone who made the trip to celebrate with us!

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Tomorrow is our first port day, in Skagway, and we’re looking forward to a great time at the Zipline and Adventure Park with the Costas!

Alaska Day 9 – 7.8.12

Sunday! Our first full day on the ship. We’re so excited to go into Yakutat Bay and see the ginormous Hubbard Glacier. But first, we had to enjoy the breakfast we had delivered to our room. No, she doesn’t look real thrilled to be up, but seriously, you’re eating breakfast in your stateroom with whales right outside off the balcony!

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Early in the afternoon, we went to the top very front of the ship to watch us enter Yakutat Bay. It had been cloudy all day, but it cleared up beautifully! It was quite windy and a little chilly, but the views were so amazing that we didn’t even care. Dude, of course, had gotten another mocktail to carry with him.

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We could see the glacier from way far away, and it got a little boring for the kiddos to just hang out and watch it from afar, so they invented a contest to see who could slide the furthest on the super clean and super slick ship deck.

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Other people started coming up, so the sliding had to stop, which gave me about 30 seconds where they were still for a photo :-)

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The little white square of snow to the right of Princess’s head is the glacier. Yes, we are still very far away! But there was still lots of fun stuff to watch – like this boat that was approaching.

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Why was this boat approaching? To drop off 2 pilots to help guide our captain and the ship through the iceberg filled water. Yes – seriously. They pulled up to the side of our ship. Then our shipped dropped a rope ladder out a door on the 5th level, which the two pilots climbed up. They stayed on the ship for the next 2 days while we went through Yakutat Bay and Glacier Bay.

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Here are some of the small icebergs we’re allowed to run into with the ship and push out of the way. The pilots are there to guide the captain around the larger icebergs that are attached to the bottom.

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We still had a long way to go to get to the glacier, so we decided to head down to our balcony with the Costas, where it was MUCH warmer!

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We had a great view of the smaller icebergs in the water. It was kind of like trying to pick out cloud animals.

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We also saw this boat cruising around the boat. This is one of the small rescue boats on the ship. Gives you a size guide for that iceberg.

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Earlier in the day, we had stopped at a poster making table on one of the decks. We were supposed to make posters so that when this boat drove around, it would take pictures of you with your posters. When we saw him, we ran into our room to grab our posters, which we’d forgotten about! We ended up buying that photo from the ship.

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We steadily approached the glacier, which was AMAZING!

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I couldn’t believe all the ice we cruised through and how close we got! And with the sunny weather, the glacier was so active, it was unbelievable. We kept hearing these loud crashes, then finally realized the glacier was calving! At first, small little snowslides appeared to be falling into the water, but they were big enough to produce the sound of thunder in the distance. We were enjoying it so much, that we didn’t even bother to dress for formal dinner night. I mean, it’s a glacier – right there! How could we possibly leave that to go eat dinner??? So we kept watching and ooohing and aaahing and being amazed. And then we saw two huge spires of ice fall off the glacier and into the bay. Absolutely amazing. It was the coolest thing ever. And because we were so mesmerized, I totally didn’t think to take pictures. We just sat there and enjoyed it and listened.

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The ship spent a lot of time at the glacier – 30 minutes for the starboard side, then it turned and spent 30 minutes for the port side. As we pulled away, we took the opportunity to get some photos on our balcony.

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We went up for another dinner at the buffet before dropping Princess off in the Kid’s Club for the first time. We told her we’d do the hot tub the next day, but that Hubby and I were going to relax on the deck and read for a while – she wasn’t interested in that. Then we decided that yes we did indeed want to sit in the hot tub! Everyone else was at dinner and the view was amazing, so Hubby, Dude, and I got our suits on and went to the hot tub at the back of the ship so we could watch the glacier as we cruised away.

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We went to pick Princess up in time for the show and enjoyed mojitos and mocktails while we watched a cheesy cruise production complete with singing, dancing, and a revolving pink cadillac in the middle of the stage. A great ending to an amazing day aboard the ship. On tap for tomorrow – Glacier Bay!

Alaska Day 8 – 7.7.12

Saturday! It’s the day we get on the boat. We’re excited to go on the surf part of our trip, but also very sad to leave Alaska and our friends. We’ve had such a wonderful time! We all drove to Anchorage to walk around the Saturday Market and do a little shopping before we head to Wasilla. Saying goodbye was tough, especially for these three sweeties – they all cried :-( But they did get to stop at Claires and pick out BFF necklaces to have as a momento of their week together.

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The drive to Wasilla was beautiful – see theme here? Everything in Alaska was beautiful! We saw tons of waterfalls along the way and we got to go through a one-way tunnel. We had to plan to get there close to 4:30 so we could make the trip through the tunnel. They open it one way for 15 minutes, at which time it closes to let the cars get through. Then they open it the other way at the top of the hour for 15 minutes. Pretty cool!

We got on the ship without any issues, put our backpacks in our stateroom, and headed out to grab some food from the buffet before exploring the ship. Dude and Princess immediately found giant chess and had to play.

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After getting our bearings on the ship, we headed back to our room for a little bit before heading down to meet everyone. I have to say I was very surprised at how large the room was! We’d gotten the mini-suite since there were 4 of us. The bathroom was huge for a boat bathroom – even had a super large bathtub! There was all kinds of space when the beds were put away. When we came back from our tour, Greg (our room steward) had pulled out the sofa and pulled down the bunk. Great arrangement for 4!

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We hung out on our balcony as the ship pulled away from port. It’s just so cool to see a large ship move sideways with its thrusters and turn on a dime! The view wasn’t bad at all. It was rainy and cloudy, but we could still see the awesome waterfalls.

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We met everyone in the lobby at our agreed on time to officially start the birthday celebration! We had gotten the kids the unlimited soda, shakes, and mocktails pass for the week. $7/day per kid . . . totally worth it when each thing is $3! They took advantage of it and went to the first bar they saw. It was so cute! Dude ordered Princess’s drink for her :-)

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There was a “sampler” show in the theater that evening, so we decided to head to the theater and see what kind of entertainment we’d be able to see throughout the week. Hubby and I ordered mudslides. Dude ordered another calypso cooler and Princess ordered a strawberry shake. Dude decided that sounded good, so he ordered one of those, too. Double-fisting it on his first night on the boat :-)

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Princess was too wiped out after drinking some of her smoothie and slept through the entire show.

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We headed back to the room, wondering if we’d be able to sleep at all! The seas were quite rough, so the ship was moving quite a bit. It took a lot of getting used to that first night, but after that we didn’t even notice. We ordered late room service breakfast for the next morning so we could sleep in and recoupe from our turf  vacation.

On the schedule for Sunday, Yakutat Bay and the Hubbard Glacier!

Alaska Day 7 – 7.6.12

Friday! Our last full day of the turf half of our vacation. We had no plans, and quite frankly, didn’t want any. The girls went out to play, and after 6 days, Dude finally decided he should go out and play, too. Two daughters means only girl stuff to play with :-)

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The kids had a great time playing outside all morning, and then Josh told us about his surprise for us for the day. His friend owns a float plane on another lake, and he was going to come take us on a float plane ride to see the Knik glacier! So excited!!! Dave pulled up to the dock, and we were ready to go.

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We had to go in two groups because the plane only seats 4. So Princess and I went first. Here we are taking off!

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Because we’d already taken a flightseeing tour of the glaciers around Mt. McKinley, I didn’t take the good camera. I figured we’d already seen it all. Big mistake! It was so cool! Very different seeing a glacier at 500 feet instead of 11,000 feet! Here are some photos Hubby took of the glaciers on his trip with Dude. I made them take the good camera :-)

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I’m still amazed at the awesome turquoise blue color that seems to be inside the glaciers. Very cool! I asked Dave if he ever landed in Lake George (the lake above). He said ya, if there aren’t too many icebergs. He said he’d land in there, reach out and grab some ice, put it in a cooler, and head back to his house and make margarits :-) When I asked him what would happen if he ran into one of those tiny chunks of ice, he said “Titanic. Total Titanic. Except the floats are compartmentalized, so only that one compartment will fill up and you’ll still be able to float.” Um, if I recall correctly, that’s what the TITANIC guy said! I was glad he didn’t decide to land . . . this is what it looked like the day we were up there flying around.

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On the way too and from the glacier, we saw all kinds of fun scenery. We saw a bunch of 4-wheelers out on the glacial silt:

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We also saw this guy skiing – brrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

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 This is the lake that the Rogness family lives on. Beautiful! Their house is the one toward the right of this photo.

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Everyone made it back safely and thoroughly enjoyed their trip!

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 Later in the afternoon, the Boedies decided to do some geocaching around the area. There were quite a few geocaches around the lake and around town, so we headed out to explore. It was refreshing to see this huge mushroom on the tree – moisture! – something we don’t have in Colorado.

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We looked for 5 caches and only found 2! Geocaching here was definitely not like geocaching in Colorado! When we geocache, we usually find geocaches that are at a point of interest . . . at the end of a great hike, near scenic areas of a hike, at a neat natural feature or old gold mine. Not here! The caches were just randomly placed in the middle of a bunch of trees . . . which meant a bunch of mosquitos!

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Our favorite cache was Micro in the Woods :-)

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It was hilarious! There was a geocache box inside the microwave.

Back to the house to pack, enjoy a wonderful last dinner with our friends, and get ready for our trip to Wasilla to catch our boat on Saturday morning.