Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Days 5-6

Day 5- Juneau

Today was a whale watching/glacier tour excursion. I was totally looking forward to it. This morning though I made sure to go up early and get some darn food. No way was I going to starve to death today.
Looking over the side of the ship Juneau was really pretty but it didn't have the charm of Ketchikan. It looked more like a big city. Although the mountains were beautiful.
We got on the bus that took us to the whale watching boat. The driver was actually pretty darn funny. We boarded and picked our seats and waited for another bus to come and finish filling up our boat. Once everyone was settled in away we went. It took quite a while before we finally saw some whale spouts in the distance. The boat captain drove us (floated us?) over to where they were just in time for us to see it go under. The naturalist a cute emo man told us that they go under but come back up in a few minutes. Well after going in a darn circle for 15 minutes he laughed and said we were going to go find another less shy whale. We never did see that whale again.
The cute emo man started on a lecture and let me tell you something. If you want to turn a cute man into a incredibly handsome man have him start spouting off things that show you how smart he is. Woo wee... ahem.
Anywhoooo.... we finally found some whales and saw quite a few tails. I have some perfect pictures of the water. See my stupid camera has this delay. So when you click the picture of the whale tail it takes it when the tail is under the water. Very frustrating.
They then showed us some seals too. The whole trip took around 3 hours. By then we were kind of burnt out on whales LMAO. We did get one picture of a tail though.
OH! I forgot to mention at one point a whale surfaced about 20 feet from the boat. Almost everyone on our side had a freaking heart attack thinking we were going to be capsized. FUN! Man they are huge.
We all hopped back on the bus and went to the glacier. The bus driver let us out right where there was a little look out over a stream. We walked up and looked down at the salmon that were spawning. What a sight to see. Bright red fish with green heads the size of my calves just swimming in about 7 inches of water. Every once in a while one would woosh the ground with it's tail to release eggs. It was stunning.
That's when we see a tiny white thing go flying by. Then another and yet another. The ranger starts yelling don't feed the fish. Some yahoo was throwing cookies at the salmon. Seriously what is wrong with people!
A little further down the stream there was this huge group of people. So being the nosy person that I am I wanted to know what was up. Of course I am only 5'-2" so I can't see a darn thing. After a bit of shaking and squishing I finally get up to the edge. I look over and there is a momma bear and two cubs. She was brown and one cub was brown, the other was black. They were just sitting there happy as can be munching on a salmon.
YAY!!!! I saw a bear in Alaska
After watching them for a while we walked on down the path towards the glacier. That first sight. Holy cow. That is something I will never forget. This giant beautiful blue wall of ice. Smaller blue iceburgs floating in the lake before the glacier. Incredible.
We walk down to the edge of the lake and are looking at this beautiful blue floating iceberg in front of us when clunk. A huge rock hits it. We were stunned. Seriously someone is throwing rocks at the pretty blue iceberg... Yup same stupid fish feeding yahoo. Seriously dude what is wrong with you. Sheesh.
By then it was time to get back on the bus. It brought us back to Juneau and I started to drag the honey to the Red Dog Saloon. See I watch deadliest catch and the fisherman go in there to have a drink called a Duck fart. I wanted one lol. We didn't get to go on the deadliest catch excursion in Ketchikan due to the fishing excursion so I didn't want to miss this. The problem was every other person on the planet wanted to go in that bar too. We couldn't even get in the door. I was so darn disappointed. But I did move people out of my way, open the door and put both feet right inside that darn bar so I could say I had been there lol.
We walked all over that town and by the time it was time to go back on the ship I no longer had any feet. No really I just had stubs that pretended they were feet.
We got back on board just in time to go to dinner so off we went. By now we are liking all of our table mates. In fact the guy that had a bitchfest that first night was turning into one of our favorites. That table was rolling in laughter as we talked about our day ashore. Each one of my tablemates was a character. They were all beginning to find me amusing since I have no fear of asking for something different. Or ordering two deserts *snort.
After dinner we walked around the shops and had a drink up on the deck. I was pretty careful with my smokes by the way since I had a giant scab in one nostril. At least it was up high enough that I didn't look like I had blown my nose to death.
We were tired and decided to go to bed around 9:30. Hell we were beginning to feel like the old people of our group by this point. Bed at 9:30 geez.
So off we went on our stubs and crawled into bed. I should mention that the seas were so calm now you almost couldn't tell you were on a boat at all.
What in the heck is up with all the mirrors on the boat. Seriously if you are going to eat yourself silly do you really need mirrors in the elevator that show you just how fat you have gotten in 5 days? UGH

Day 6.... Haines

We didn't have an excursion until the evening. We were going on a evening wildlife viewing around 5 so we didn't have to be up early. Felt like the first time in a long time. We went upstairs to the buffet and looked out over Haines.
Where in the heck are we? There was almost nothing there. Everything was spread out and it looked like small town America in a really pretty setting. We decided to go down and walk around for a bit. Maybe see if we could find someone to take us to the eagle park that was suppose to be here.
We ran into two of our tablemates on our way down. They didn't have anything planned for the day and they were exploring too. We decided to go somewhere together. We found a woman selling excursions on the shore privately. The eagle one started at 12 and got back to late for us to get back to our next excursion but she did have one that started in 15 minutes that was going to a lake where eagles were suppose to be. So the four of us decided why not. It was only $40
We hopped on this little rickity bus and away we went. The first thing we ran into was road construction. Felt like home lol. I am not a height person by the way and due to the road construction we ended up inches from the side of a cliff. It was at that point I was wishing I had depends. It was also at this point the woman tour guide tells us that there are no bathrooms for the next 3 hours. Ummm couldn't you say that before we left. And why is it when someone tells you that there are no bathrooms for the next three hours you suddenly feel like you are going to pee your pants?
Driving through Haines was stunning. The water is a milky blue due to glacier run off. We passed this little house with wildlife flags that sat on the inlet. Then we passed a fish weir.
Let me explain this for those who don't know what that is. When the salmon run the fish and game people set up this wier to block off the fish from going through the river except at a certain point about a foot wide. So all the way across the river is this wooden fish net type thing. Minus the middle foot. Now where this foot wide space is there is a man standing looking into the water. He has a clicker in his hand and every time a fish swims through he clicks his little clicker.
This is his job. Counting fish. For hours a day. Seriously there has GOT to be a better way to count fish then this poor man standing there with a freaking clicker in his hand.
We then get to this beautiful lake where the bus driver lets us go walk around in the forest. This is after she shows us fresh bear poop.
"ok people, look this is fresh bear poop, that means the bear is close by, have yourselves some fun walking through those woods by yourselves, see you in a 1/2 hour"
I will admit though the forest was wonderful. Lush and wet and filled with plants. After our half and hour was almost up I ran to the lake, took off my shoes and waded in.
I actually had to look down to see if I still had feet. At this point I look at the honey to make sure he took a picture of me standing in a lake in Alaska and he is gabbing with our tablemate instead.
Ummm honey... picture before my feet freeze please.
When I got out of the lake my feet were bright red LMAO!!! But I did inspire a few more people to wade in that lake. Grab life by the hands people we are in Alaska! We may never be here again!
We hopped back in the bus and started back when we saw a bear walking along the river. The lady in the bus wasn't going to let us out. You could see steam coming from some of the peoples ears. But then the bear walked under a bridge so she let us all out on the bridge to take pictures. Turns out the bear was a juvenile who had a collar on. Pretty skinny little guy. He was walking towards a fisherman who grabbed his fish in one hand and ran up the side of the river and onto the bridge. You should have seen this man standing there with a fish in one hand looking over the bridge. Funny stuff.
After taking pictures for a while we hopped back on the bus and went back to the ship where we had enough time to have lunch before we went on our princess excursion. We joked about how we were going to go on the same excursion and giggled to ourselves how funny that would be.
When we hopped on the bus for our second excursion. Sure enough what happens? We go towards the same exact place the first excursion took us. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes and figured what the hell. We will never be here again time to enjoy ourselves lol.
We actually got to stop at the house with the little wildlife flags on this tour though. We watched seals bobbing up and down in the water. Looked at a eagles nest. Took pictures of a beautiful eagle in a tree.
We drove right to that lake passing the wier. The tour guide told us we would be stopping there on the way back.
When we got to the lake they had two guided tours into the woods. We joined up with one group and away we went. For some reason we always end up in the back of these tours. I guess I like to make sure no one gets left behind. Wierd quirk of mine.
As we are walking along the tour guide is telling us about the plants in the area. "oh these are blueberries, watermellon berries, cloudberries, elderberries... all are edible"
So what are me and the honey doing as we are walking along in the back.. eating berries. Just popping those suckers in our mouths and chewing away. It was about 1/2 way through the walk that I realize we never saw her point to which berries were which because we were in the back. We were just eating random berries in the wilderness. So smart.
At this point we get back in the bus to to the wier. As we are driving down someone stops the bus driver and tells her that a bear has been sighted down the river so we went driving to go find it, bye wier and counting guy.
At the bridge (yes that same bridge) we see a bear walking back towards the wier. We hop out to take a picture of the bear (yes, it was the same bear!) The bear starts walking down the bank of the river and all of us are following along on the road.
Way in the middle of the river (wide as a 4 lane highway) there is this incredible rock. Standing on that rock is a fisherman. Standing on the shore is a bear. Standing on the road is a huge group of camera happy people.
Suddenly the bear stands straight up, puts it's nose in the air and turns to look directly at the fisherman. The fisherman looks at the bear. The bear starts walking towards the fisherman and scrunches down into a little ball on top of the rock. See now this guy is directly in the middle of this river. He has no where to go. The bear starts ambling towards the fisherman and you can see when he realized that this bear wanted him and his fish.
Somewhere around here is where I would have peed my pants and threw my fish at the bear.
The fisherman starts sliding off the rock the whole time eyeballing that bear. The bear would take to steps towards him.. amble a bit... look back at the fisherman and take another two steps.
It was around here that I also began to worry I was about to watch a bear mauling.
The fisherman was finally in the water that reached his chest (he was wearing waders) and the bear turned fully towards him. The guy started yelling and moving his arms around and trying to scare the bear. At first it didn't look like that bear was going go give up but finally it started to go back up the river towards the wier. As we passed the car from the fisherman it's plates said Washington. That guy (who by the way was out of that river and back in his car so fast I almost didn't see it) has one heck of a story when he gets home.
The bear walked all the way back up the river (with us all following him) to the wier where he reached his paw in the water, pulled out a giant fish and ran across the road into the woods.
We all got back into the bus and went back to the boat.
As we headed to the buffet the captain came on with an annoucement. Our ship was broken down, an expert was being flown in to see if the repairs were adaquate and we would be missing Tracy Arm Fjord. CRAP But! The captain says you can go ashore here until midnight.
Remember the first line of this... there was almost nothing here in Haines. So big woop.
Everyone was really disappointed at the news.

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