Saturday, June 25, 2016

Juneau – capital of the state of Alaska and

Bald Eagle gathering spot: the first one being on a lamp post right off the ship, which funnily enough is the only one that was easy enough to take a photo.

Bald Eagle waiting at the fish packaging plant

As we hadn’t rented a car for this stop due to the short time, we debated upon simply walking around town (quaint with wooden one and two-story buildings) or taking a locally organized tour to the Mendenhall Glacier, whale watching among other offerings.  In the end we settled for the whale watching without the glacier in hopes of having a bit of time in town afterwards. This was an excellent choice!

Our bus driver out, whose name I neglected to memorize, was a great source of information (another one who had only been here months) with many a joke. Our boat, run by Juneau Tours, a fairly recent one and the two guides on board, Emily and Jon not only good ones, but very enthusiastic ones as well. The pilot, although mostly unseen by me as I never got on the top deck, did an excellent job as well

Once out where we were most likely to spot whales, sure enough, mother Flame with her latest baby (she has had 7 – one every three years) were into performing. Now have you ever tried to take pictures of wild animals in the water from a boat that’s rolling? Not an easy task I can assure you, still we probably managed several thousands in the hour and a half that we were out. I also didn’t know that each whale has an individual tail – similar to our finger prints – so that it is easy for the naturalists to name and recognize them.

Dock at Auk Bay

Krill, which is what the giants feed on - but millions at a time

A whale's tail

blowing and rolling

Mom and baby
They were rolling, splashing but not jumping
Just cruising along
Mom and baby

"Flame"'s tail
On the way into the docks in Auk Bay we also swung by a buoy with Stellar sea lions “sunning” themselves.

Then we got another of my famous pieces of “luck” when the bus driver, Brandy, announced that her bus would be swinging by the Mendenhall Glacier on the way back into town so we got a view for free – and given the amount of busses and tourists massed in the turn around it’s a good thing we hadn’t opted for that tour.

Mendenhall Glacier
Back in Juneau we found the statue to “Patsy Ann”, a deaf dog who belonged to the town and who always knew when a boat was coming in and faithfully greeted them. Thereafter I walked up to the Post Office to mail some post cards then discovered a coffee shop with wi-fi and was able to post one blog and check on e-mails.

Patsy Ann

Back on board we were delayed by two missing persons and left almost an hour late.
But never mind, the balloons were loaded and there was a balloon drop to much amusement and noise before we literally sailed off with the sun setting behind us.

I loved watching the floater planes land and take off

I loved watching the floater planes land and take off
Before the Balloon Drop

After the Balloon Drop
Our boat as we returned in the afternoon
Sunset as we headed toward Ketchikan

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