1 Year Journey – Alaska – Juneau

We woke up to our ship docking in Juneau around 5:30am Alaska Time.  It was a beautiful morning!

Neat wall of fog behind us that looks like a glacier as we were pulling into Juneau:

We really liked seeing all the tall and skinny waterfalls.  It looks like Hawaii!

This is the first time we’ve had to set our clocks to a time earlier than Pacific Time, so that was neat!  It’s a good thing, because we had a whale watching excursion booked for 7:30am, which felt more like 8:30am to us!

We got off the ship and immediately headed to the meeting point for our whale watching tour.

I wish we had time to ride in this sky tram!

We hopped on a tour bus and headed toward the dock.  It became foggy quickly.  I love seeing tall evergreens in the fog.  That’s probably my favorite thing to see in the Pacific Northwest!

Here is where we launched from:

Tripp started feeling sick as the boat went out to sea. I don’t blame him.  The fog was so thick you couldn’t tell what was ahead or out to the side.  All you could see was the water spraying out from the boat.  When the boat would make a turn it even made me queasy!  The whole time we were headed out, there was a tour guide inside telling us about the humpback whales we would likely see, but all I could think was “where’s the bathroom, because I have a kid who is about to need it!”.  Luckily he never threw up!

Here is the tour group gathering….check out that fog!!  You can’t even seen the boat.

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Because it was so foggy, we were told to listen for the whales blowing water out of their blow hole, since that is the best way to find them with such limited visibility.  It was a neat, but eerie, feeling to be sitting out in open waters in dense fog.  Everyone was silent, and all you could hear was the water lapping against the hull of the boat after the captain cut off the engines.

The captain constantly looks for whales, and also listened to his radio for other whale watching boats in the area to say they had spotted a whale.

We did hear and see some humpback whales!  The fog made it harder to spot them, but it also added a neat, mysterious atmosphere to the whole thing.

Here are some shots of a big one!  They estimated the tail to be about 15′ across!!

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Whenever a boat spots a whale, here come the others who heard about it on the radio. They all seem like friends, which is pretty neat.



We also got to see some sea otters playing in the water.  After we saw a few whales, we headed back to shore.


Walking up this ramp reminded me of when we would take my granny’s boat to Eliza Island in the San Juans.  We would walk up the ramp and load our stuff into an old red pickup truck while my dad or grandpa would moor the boat and row the dinghy back to the dock.

Our tour bus then took us to Mendenhall Glacier.  That was a beautiful sight!  It was neat to think my dad had walked around the same area many years ago!

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This massive waterfall is just to the right of the glacier (see how small the people are?):

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In the visitor center, the kids got to touch some 200-year-old ice.  They thought that was pretty COOL! 🙂

In the visitor center parking lot, there is a elevated boardwalk through the woods that is supposed to be a good viewing area for bear watching.  We didn’t see any bears (someday…), but we saw some dead fish on the side of the creek and a lot of worn trails near the waters edge, so we definitely saw signs of bears.  We did see a porcupine sleeping way up in a tree, and the beautiful view shown below:

We then headed back to the cruise ship and headed toward a glacier (I don’t recall what it was named, so I’ve renamed it to Habersetzer Glacier).  On our way, the scenery was really beautiful!

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We love how the mountains go right down to the water!

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As we got closer to the glacier, we began seeing chunks of ice floating by….really neat, but kind of eerie!

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Here is where we were located:

It got prettier every second we inched our way closer.  The water way got pretty narrow for a ship this size!

Her is an aerial view of where we were headed.  It’s neat to see the glacier from above:


Starting to see the glacier pretty well now…

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We saw this huge chunk of really blue looking ice!  I told the kids that’s where Kool-Aid comes from. 🙂

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We got to go to a special deck to view the glacier, which was pretty neat!  They served hot chocolate and gave out blankets to stay warm.  Fancy!!

Once we arrived at the glacier, the captain spun the ship around in a 360 a couple of times so people on all sides could view it.  This was impressive, given the ship is 965′ long, weighs 186 million pounds, and we were in a very narrow body of water with ice chunks / icebergs all over the place!


We saw baby harbor seals lying on small icebergs floating by…so cool!!  Wish I had a photo of them.

This isn’t what I pictured Alaska being like!  This looks more like a photo of a tropical location (minus the chunks of ice!)

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What an awesome day it’s been!

The next morning we will arrive in Skagway.

2 thoughts on “1 Year Journey – Alaska – Juneau

  1. GREAT pics! You’re right….it is not what I would have thought Alaska looked like along the shores. And Mendenhall looked different than it did back in the 70’s. You guys really got to see a bunch in such a short time. Neat trip. Great memories for all of you.

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