Sunday, August 2, 2009

Juneau

The final port in our seven day Alaskan cruise was, Juneau, the capital of Alaska, founded during a gold rush in 1880 is nestled at the foot of Mt. Juneau. After an early breakfast, we went ashore and hop on a shuttle bus. Today we would drive across Juneau and board a boat for a whale watching excursion. After a quick stop and a glimpse of Mendenhal Glacier, we were off to see the whales. We boarded the boat with great anticipation! And were greeted by this guy, who was just hanging around.

We enjoyed the beautiful scenery through our binoculars. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we sat on the edge of our seats, scanning the surrounding water. Along the way we passed this floating bouy, covered with sea lions. Each of, which we were told, weighed 800 lbs. The sea lions in the water were trying to jump on the bouy, but the others wouldn't let them. Before you knew it, we saw the first sign of whales.

The boat captain slowed down and moved in for a closer look. While the boat drifted along, the on board naturalist began to share interesting facts about whales. Just as we were about to stand up and move outside, a huge humpback whale jumped out of the water about 150 yards away and she yelled, "9 O'clock...breeching whale!!!" Amazing! At dinner that night, Leslie gave us all a good laugh when she confided that she thought a 'breeching' was a species of whale:)
They opened up the upper deck and we hurried up the stairs to find a good spot to take pictures. As we were getting settled, the humpback whale breeched out of the water (close to the boat) startling everyone a bit! Of course, I missed everything but the splash! I did get a close up on the next pass. Watching these huge mammals glide through the water is amazing. Patiently waiting for the tail to come out, roll and sink slowly back in.

An awesome picture!

Back to the shuttle bus and on to Mendenhal Glacier. With only 2 hours left, we would have to hurry! Off to get a closer look. After snapping a few pics of the glacier. Leslie and I decided to walk over to the water fall. My dear Coach, who has a much better sense of time than I do, warned us we only had 40 minutes to get over there and back on the bus. Challenge! We took off like a couple of 'mall walkers'! Leslie, stayed focused and kept moving. I however was slowed down by a few points of interest.
Narrow path....Lot's of moss....Blue lupines or Bluebonnets...the state flower of Texas.
At this point, Leslie is out of sight and though I was making progress, I was begining to realize this waterfall was huge!....and it was far away! Getting a bit concerned about the time, I began to trot. Not a pretty site. Huffing and puffing, and needing ' a little girl's room', I stopped, snapped a few more pictures and waited for Leslie. Who, by the way, made it all the way and stood close enough to feel the water spray. Close up - Medenhal Glacier. We made it back to the bus with a minute to spare. Which was a good thing, because our bus driver had to leave a couple of people behind that didn't make it back. Whew! And as if we hadn't walked enough, Leslie and I went searching for some ice cold sweet tea. One mile later we found McDonalds and 2 large cups of tea. The guys, needing a little more excitement rode the Sky Tram up the mountain, for a spectacular view. They also saw, up close, a Bald Eagle, injured by a shot gun and recuperating in a cage. They said it was huge...with a 6 foot wing span! Juneau, a former gold mining town counts among it's riches some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. Can I get an amen?



7 comments:

Beth said...

That would be just like you to miss the bus!! :) Glad you made it back and love all the whale pic's, those are awesome! Can you have lunch with me tomorrow, I miss you! ;)

Gina said...

Those are the most extraordinary pictures I have ever seen. You have such a gift for capturing the beauty, the gift of nature. Fascinating.........
Gina

Michelle said...

I'm in awe over these pictures of the trip. Breath taking!

Rochelle said...

Wow! That scenery is somethin'! So majestic..so pure. It looks like you all had a wonderful time there and really enjoyed yourselves. Thanks for sharin'!
Rochelle

merryheart2 said...

your photos are amazing.
thanks for sharing.

Lynnette said...

AMEN!

Nancy Elaine said...

Amen. Isn't our Creator awesome?
I love all of your photos, especially of the whale fluke. I saw these whales in Hawaii. I was on such a high after seeing my first one. They get around don't they?