I've had a fairly busy 1st week on board. Conferences at Sea are not a holiday .... well they are, but they keep you on your toes and I didn't sleep so well the first few days. I've taken to afternoon naps as we had meetings finishing after 10 pm followed of course by late supper, and our first one in the morning at 8 am. They weren't long meetings but fitting in the eating around them was a bit of a challenge. Funny that. I now feel as though I've done nothing but eat and sleep for a week. We did have a couple of walks, one in Ketchikan and again in Juneau. TWJ has been ashore in every port ... was that good or not? I feel very lazy but as we don't sail until 9 pm I will still have time for a short walk after dinner .... But I'll probably settle for a walk around the deck 15 which has a 'walking track.' or deck 7 which is supposed to be 1 mile if you go 4 x round.
We watched 4th July fireworks here in Whittier last night, at midnight, in daylight. They were pretty good fireworks with lots of BIG bangs and sparkling showers, balls etc. against the rocky hill backdrop which still has a few patches of snow. This morning, about mid-day, as we sat in a sunny dining-room out of the strong wind which had sprung up between 1 am and 6 am, we watched the Whittier 4th July Street Parade. There were all of 20 vehicles including the ambulance, fire trucks, one from the wharf covered in kids and the big yellow one from the airport, a few locals, some sporting the USA Flag. If I hadn't felt so tired I'd have been sorry not to have been down on the street of which there is only one in this town. The local population, about 270 people, live in one apartment building but the town is busy. There is quite a marina as well as a fishing fleet. A lot of people come here to reach their cabins by boat. It seemed a busy little town with parking for 1000 vehicles or so. Must be challenging getting here by road sometimes as there is a one way tunnel which is open one direction on the hour and the other way on the half hour, and they all have to stop for the train. This is the only route to Anchorage for other tours and the flights back home. It costs around US$50 PP one way in the bus.
TWJ enjoyed watching some otters eating their fish dinner as they lay back in the water like grandad in his armchair. He also watched a bunch of bears playing, (through the binoculars), way up in the mountain side in College Fjord. Today he took a photo of a moose sleeping in the doorway of a specially built shelter for it just down town by a takeaway place. We've seen a few whales and dolphins but we've seen more at the beach. John feels glaciered out ... I haven't done much sight seeing as I needed to rest more between meetings. Now I have a week to catch-up and we might even have better weather. The last 3 days have been sunny but previous was very foggy, cold and some rain so not much to see anyway.
It was sad to say goodbye last night to so many who had become good friends and I only got one or two addresses because I left it a bit late considering most were dis-embarking at 6 am. I hope we meet some nice people this week.
I could become addicted to this Cruising Lifestyle if the internet wasn't so expensive. I'm learning to do some things differently like write into my normal writing program and cut and paste to email to save time on line. I wish my picture program was working. Feel very frustrated by that.
TWO DAYS LATER
TWJ & I are sitting beside a window in the buffet dining room in the sun heading up Glacier Bay. TWJ has seen lots of whales, some breaching. I never seem to be in the right place at the right time but I did fluke dolphins a couple of times as I took a constitutional around the deck. TWJ has gone to get me some lunch. I am demanding to be waited on!!!!!!
This is so cool. We are cruising along in sparkling sea alongside green covered hills and snow covered mountains about 2 hours away from the glacier where we turn. Already we are seeing the occassional floating ice. Yesterday in College Fjord some of the larger hunks of ice, smallish icebergs, had broken up and the sea looked as though it was covered in floating meringues.
Yesterday we did something we said we would never do .... we went to the shopping seminar to find out about all the freebies. Now we have loads of homework before we arrive in Skagway tomorrow, so that we make the most of our coupons. There is a local Glass artist which I want to go to. It would be nice to get hold of some ammolite too, not to mention blue diamonds, gold chains etc. I can dream. Last night we went to one of the shows .... very fast dancing and very loud music. I hated it ... well that's a bit of an exaggeration but the wonderful talent was totally ruined by having the sound too high, not distorted but loud enough to be hard on the eardrums.
I've enjoyed going to the only place on the ship, other than formal dining rooms, where I can get cappuccino in a CUP! It's a little bar on deck 5 with comfortable seats and usually under-used so that I can sit by the window about 10 feet / 3-4 metres above the sea and chill out with a view. It's also adjacent to the area the have musical concerts so yesterday I listened to some light classical music. Piano & violins. ...very nice.
Today is hazy again. Yesterday was nice too although the weather changes often and as unpredictably as NZ. After the show we walked around the deck, about 9.30pm, enjoying the sun reflected off the water, still hours away from sunset. When we'd had enough we caught an elevator to the buffet deck, collected our evening snack of fresh fruit and ice water and walked through to the patio around the pools to enjoy our umpteenth meal of the day. As we headed toward the windows I thought they'd pulled sun-shades down. Not so. We had entered a fog bank and the ship's foghorn sounded regularly for the next hour or more. It was a relief to get up to a really sunny day this morning, probably our warmest in Alaska.
Yesterday I went to the ship's church service .... so different to last week although I did appreciate it. 2 hymns, a short prayer and a sermon read by one of the ship's crew. I got the impression he wrote the sermon for the ship ages ago, at the beginning of his contract, and uses the same one, speaking as fast as he can, every Sunday. I also managed to fit in a seminar on pampering your skin ... selling point for some expensive products and an offer of discounted facials ... not for me this trip but I did take advantage of a free 'makeover,' which turned out to be nothing more than full make-up for the price of a lipstick, which I needed. I looked very glam last night and spent ages removing eye makeup. Then I needed plenty of soothing eye drops.
The glaciers are coming into view and I've finished my first course of salad and freshly roasted beef. Time to put this away until later. I'm trying to decide between dessert or our special, iced coffee with the addition of some ice cream or cream freeze or everything. What awful decisions we are forced to make. giggle. I'll take it out onto the after deck and enjoy as we have now reached the end, Marjorie Glacier, where the ship turns and lingers to watch and see if bits carve off. This glacier is moving about 1.5 – 3 metres a day.