Monday, September 25, 2006

Post-cruise post

We made it back! (although I really didn't want to)

Brief synopsis: We left on Tuesday and flew from St Louis to Seattle. The parents of a good friend of ours live there, so we stayed with them Tuesday night and had the biggest king crab I have ever seen. It was absolutely wonderful. Wednesday we took the train from Seattle to Vancouver (side note would have cost us an extra $250 per person to fly into Vancouver. The train was $52 per person, roundtrip, plus we got to see some great scenery...thus the train ride). We boarded the cruise ship in the early afternoon and had lunch on the ship. We departed at 5 pm and headed from Tracy Arm, a small fjord. We were in Tracy Arm all day Thursday, then docked in Juneau around 1 pm on Friday. In Juneau, we hiked to Mendenhall Glacier (about 6.5 mi roundtrip) and got to touch the glacier. Pretty cool (literally)--I'll try to post pics when I get the chance. Saturday we were in Skagway where we went kayaking. Lots of fun since we were in a sea kayak with a rudder, so it was really easy to steer. We were kayaking in a lake where the salmon spawn, so we saw a lot of salmon and many bald eagles. Then on the drive back, we saw two bears fishing in the river. That's the closest I've ever been to an uncontained bear, and it was incredible. One of them walked right behind our van (we were pulled over to take pictures) with his freshly-caught salmon trying vainly to get out of his mouth. Sunday we cruised Glacier Bay and got some fantastic pictures of the glaciers, and of us shivering out on the deck. The weather was warm with temps in the 50's, but the wind coming off of the glaciers is pretty cold. Monday we were in Ketchikan and we went snorkeling. Yes, snorkeling. In a full wetsuit, of course. The water temp was 57F, so it was actually warmer than the air. We got to handle a sea urchin, an anemone, a sea cucumber, a sunflower star (like a starfish but with 20-24 legs) and a starfish (purple!). Tuesday was a day "at sea" and then Wednesday we arrived back in Vancouver. We did see seals, sea otters, porpoises, orcas, and humpback whales while cruising around. We actually saw several pods of orcas. They were beautiful.

We then stayed two nights in Vancouver at the Light Heart Inn Bed and Breakfast. I would highly recommend it. They're in a great location very close to the SkyTrain (Vancouver's light rail system). The breakfasts were delicious and our host, Greg, was always available to suggest things to do or help us find our way around town. We used our time in Vancouver to try out a tandem bike around Stanley Park. We biked all the way around the park and then returned to walk through even more of it. The weather was great and it was wonderful to be outside. Friday we took the train (actually a bus, but through Amtrak) back to Seattle and ate dinner with R. and J. at the Crab Pot. Yummm...more seafood. Then back to St Louis on Saturday.

Of course, we jumped right back into the real world with a birthday party Sunday night (happy birthday, Maggie!) and we have a soccer referee recertification test tonight. *sigh* But it was great while it lasted. Of course the food on the cruise was fantastic, etc., etc. We would highly recommend Holland America to anyone looking to cruise, especially after talking to several other people who've been on different cruise lines. They all agreed that out of the major lines they had been on, the service and food were best on the HAL cruises.

Still no news (although occasional rumors) from Ukraine...

1 comment:

Tonya said...

Isn't Vancouver fabulous! I LOVE it up there. Landon is from Vancouver Island. In fact, you probably passed the house he grew up in on your way to Alaska since we could stand on the deck outside his living room and watch the cruise ships come through the straight there. Your cruise sounds wonderful! I would love to see Alaska.