Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tale of the Whale....and Other Adventures

I am back in Toledo and finally feeling well enough to continue writing about our trip to Alaska.  I will try to combine days of the trip per post because I want to finish this trip before we leave for Europe on Sunday.
I was excited to get to Juneau because we had signed up for a Whale Watch excursion.  There were so many choices of things to do....but "Discover Alaska's Whales" caught our eyes.  This excursion also did scientific studies of the waters, so we got to be a part of that, too.  We collected water samples and checked for sea life...as stated in the excursion explanation... "Whale sightings are guaranteed, and you’re also likely to see seals, porpoise, sea lions and other marine animals, all while doing some significant good as you contribute to a whale research program. You’ll explore the foundation of the food chain by drawing plankton samples in a touch tank."  I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Cy looking at Juneau from our deck.

Juneau with low clouds covering the mountains.  It was stunning!

Some Sea Urchins We Collected while on the Whale Watch
They were returned to the water after we counted them.

Thar She Blows!
You can see the whale blowing out carbon dioxide as it surfaces for air.  It looks like a small geyser.

This is a dorsal fin of a whale.  It is swimming on its side and waving its fin out of the water.

Even when there were no whales to see...the scenery was awesome!

Another dorsal fin.  This is a humpback whale.  I was hoping to get a picture of the tail.

YES!!!  Even though the tail is almost in the water....I was still thrilled to
be able to get a picture of it.

Another tail shot!  This gives you an idea of the size of the whale.  I am glad that boat was there.

This was the best I could get of the back of the whale.  It did not want to breach for me...but I know those
photos are rare when going on a whale watch for just three hours.

Another tail!  There is also a small sea lion to the left of the whale.

This looks like the whale is saying 'good-bye' to us.
 As you can tell from the pictures....I was able to get a few pictures of a whale's tail.  I am so glad we were on a smaller boat with fewer people.  Everyone was able to find good spots for taking pictures.  Being short makes me somewhat assertive in trying to find a good spot when I am in a crowd as I worm my way through giants and let them take pictures over my head....and I did not have to do that this time.
The next day we cruised to Skagway.  We had signed up for a 'new excursion'....called "Bridge, Brew and Brothel."  We took a bus to this long suspension bridge where we also had a lunch of chili, bread and beer (I chose a soft drink since I don't like beer...but Ray chose the local ale.)  After our lunch we walked to the bridge and crossed over the Tutshi River.  It was so exciting to feel the energy of that river as it tumbled over the rocks below.  I don't think my sister would have liked walking across the bridge though.  She does not like heights...and this bridge also had  a mesh bottom so we could see the river by looking straight down.

This was taken along the way to the bridge.

These are called 'Enukshuks'...people stack rocks here.  This reminded me of the place in Sedona where there were hundreds of stacks of rocks.  We made our stack and took a picture of Cy next to it.

Here is Cy with the Enukshuk that we built.

I am getting ready to cross the bridge.  It was a bit nippy that day so I wore
a big headband to cover my ears.

I am halfway across the bridge!

Rae and Charlotte went with us on this excursion.  Here I am helping Rae cross the bridge.

Scenery on our way back to Skagway

More beautiful mountains

The scenery was captivating.

We returned to Skagway and visited the Red Onion Saloon where we learned the history of the brothel there
and got to visit the rooms upstairs.

When we got here we were giving some sparkling wine or lemonade and then
taken on a tour of the brothel.  We learned that the bar tender would have a row of
dolls...each one looked somewhat like one of the 'ladies'.  A man would pay the bar
tender and point to a doll, the bar tender would then put the doll on its back and send
the man upstairs for fifteen  minutes with the lady.

Good-bye Skagway
I have a few videos of the bridge and the brothel....but this computer is acting up, so I will deal with those later.  Right now, I have to get this posted and then get ready to go to see Ringo Starr at a concert at the Toledo Zoo.
Good-bye Skagway....we are on our way to Glacier Bay!


  1. You do the most interesting things! What beautiful scenery! I can't wait to have my turn viewing those mountains next year. All I have to say about that brothel story is "Oh my!"

  2. Your pictures are just lovely.

  3. Wow, what a tour! Breathtaking scenery, up close with wildlife and I echo Elsie's "Oh, my!"

  4. On your way to Europe? What a life! I hope when I retire I get to have this much fun. The pictures of Alaska are beautiful. I'll have to say that Alaska has never been on my list but, after my dad went two years ago and now seeing your pictures, it has moved up in priority. Someday.


  5. I love seeing the pictures you've taken!! You have some fabulous scenic photographs. Enukshuks...had never heard of them. Those whale tails and the back of the whale photos are incredible. I didn't see anything like what you did!!! We saw the whales blowing and their backs when they were at the surface but nothing like you did. But now, after seeing your photos, I'm content.

    Say hi to Cy! What a fun idea. Whatever made you think of using him in your photos?

    Thanks so, so much for sharing.

  6. The pictures are amazing. I have had some friends take an Alaskan cruise and the all say that the scenery is breathtaking. Your pictures sure prove it.