Saturday, August 8, 2009

Juneau to Skagway

It was a glorious day leaving Juneau heading north to Skagway. About 75 degrees and sunny. All the smoke from fires was gone due to a change in the wind direction.

We hit the rear sun deck and just basked in the view and relaxation of 6 hrs. of mountains, glaciers and water falls as the ferry cruised along it's way. Saw a pod of whales just off the starboard side, real close. Too many eagles to mention and some Dall's Porpoises as they zipped along the top of water.

It rains 220 days a year in Juneau. We felt sorry for all the folks that come to Alaska and don't get to see the sights they expect to see....... what we've been able to see. After talking to a number of tourists and locals, we know we've been lucky.

If there are 2 things I'd recommend if you go to Alaska:
1- Don't save up for years and dream of an Alaskan trip and then go on the cheap. The "shoulder" seasons are too risky, IMO. Only 20 out of 100 people get to see Denali and a lot less get see the glaciers, mountain peaks and water falls from glacial melt of SE Alaska due to weather. It's a long way to come to look at clouds and fog and morn about it.
Save money on food and lodging and go in the height of the summer. Hostels, public transportation, buying food in stores, etc. can save you a bunch.
We just finished a dinner of local king salmon we prepared in our B&B. A lot of places have kitchen facilities at no extra charge. Ask about them.
2- Fully expect to fill your time with other activities if the weather is uncooperative. Hikes, historic walks, museums, etc. Get "closer" to the land and water. There is still much to enjoy. Be careful how much you book in advance. We found if you spend 2-3 days in a town you can get what you want on the day (weather wise) you want it. Bring a rain coat!!!
Towns like Wrangell and Anchorage don't have cruise shops stop much, if at all (all tourists from ships have to get bussed into Anchorage, harbor is not deep enough for them, but they are trying to change that, dredging). Many days we've experienced a different feel of the town once the cruise ships load up and take off. Consider driving or us the ferry system to not be part of "the herd."

One of many glaciers....too many to keep track of.
Mendenhall Glacier. Flag from the Ferry.
Juneau, Auke Bay.

A 6-pack of Alaskan Amber got us well along our way.....had to disguise the container, no alcohol allowed on the solarium deck.
Needed some sun glasses.

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