Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cross Gulf Ferry

Within 3 hrs. of getting back from the Glacier Tour, we boarded the Cross Gulf Ferry and left Whittier. Had a reindeer sausage right before we got on-board. Figured they wouldn't have any of them on the Ferry.
Lynn boarding the Ferry. That was all she packed for 3 weeks....all I had was a normal sized backpack and my computer bag. We do some laundry every 3 days or so. No checked bags anywhere we go. No cotton only a pair of jeans a piece. Lots of nylon/synthetics. Packs small and dries quick.
The first evening and the next morning were uneventful. Thick fog but calm seas. Ferry has a nice bar and Alaskan Amber on tab. Played a game of scrabble one night in the bar. Lynn won 5,328 to 7....(damn cheater!)
We watched a couple movies in the small theater, as well.

We rented a berth with a private bath and 4 bunks, 2 of which made into a couch. Lynn slept on the bottom bunk. I slept great...nice rocking motion combined with the low hum of the engines agreed with me. Lynn was up before me both mornings, never heard her leave the berth.
Our berth location.
The Ferries seem to be the Greyhounds of Alaska. See all kinds of folks here. Old, young, some carry on their own food and make P&J sandwiches for every meal, some have expensive vehicles or RV's they are moving across the sea. We met a couple from Wisconsin that we talked to some and with my Boston Red Sox cap on, it was quite easy to have a kindred spirit from The Nation that would strike up a conversation with me and we instantly had something in common.
Morning coffee.
A group from Mexico came on these.
After 1.5 days at sea, the Ferry stopped for 2 hrs. in Yakutat, about half way between Whittier and Juneau and the home of the biggest National Park in Alaska and North America, St. Elias/Wrangell.
Heading up the hill to the visitors center from the Ferry at Yakutat.
The parks up here are bigger than some States and Countries in Europe, and one single glacier in St. Elias/Wrangell Park is bigger than Rhode Island....yes, it is some huge country up here.
It was too foggy to see any of the surrounding mountains and glaciers, though.

The trip down to Juneau from Yakutat brought us into Southeast Alaska. We started seeing some Dall Porpoises. These guys were speeding by. Sometimes they will surf in the wake of the boat, but not today. We also saw some of these guys for a fleeting few seconds on our glacier tour out of Whittier.

Folks on the ferry pointed out some Orcas. All we could catch was a far-away dorsal fine sticking out of the water for a few seconds. As we got into the Inside Passage, though, we started to see spouts from Humpback Whales. They were quite far off, but with binocs and even the naked eye, one could catch flukes lifting out of the water once in awhile and of course, the water spouting as they refilled their lungs for a dive.
Lynn glassing some whales, waiting for them to surface.
There were about 5 in this pod.
I took a movie, but didn't focus it very well. It was cool to watch them with binocs.
video

The fog started to lift and with my iphone, I knew the weather was supposed to be great. We started to see what all the fuss is about. Mountains everywhere.


Ferry heading out of Juneau as we came in.

Mountains 360.

video

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