Skagway, Alaska, United States

Trip Start Jun 25, 2009
Trip End Sep 10, 2009

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Where I stayed
Garden City RV Park

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009 - Skagway, Alaska - Day 4 of 4

This morning's early rising reminded me of my childhood days when dad would call up the stairs, "All hands on deck!"  Our carpool was scheduled to leave at 7:15 for our 8:00 a.m. cruise on the Skagway-Juneau Fjord Express Catamaran.

It was a rainy morning, and it seemed as though our "good weather luck" had run its course.  Although we have encountered our share of rain on this trip, it always tended to clear up for our group excursions.  In Skagway, we have not been so fortunate.

Our 65-foot, state-of-the-art, fast-hulled catamaran, the "Fjordland," was captained by an extremely able, young female captain.  Her first mate was also a spry, youthful 20-30 something lady who not only followed her captain's orders, cast off and tied the lines, but served all the passengers.

After departing Skagway, we headed south through Lynn Canal, the continent's longest and deepest glacial fjord. Lynn Canal stretches over 100 miles long and is over 2000 feet deep.  The canal was rough and even though the boat ran smoothly over the choppy waters, we took a few big waves over the top.  We stopped in Haines to pick up a couple of passengers, but the first-mate had difficulty tying up the lines when a hefty gust of wind caught the boat and tore the bow chock right out of the dock. Art saw everything as it was playing out and before the captain could even yell for someone to grab a line amidship, he had already done it.  With a possible disaster diverted, and new passengers onboard, we headed to Juneau.

Marine life abounds in these waters, and a wildlife cruise, narrated by the captain, highlighted our morning voyage. We saw hanging glaciers, bald eagles, humpback whales and Dall porpoise as we were served a continental breakfast.

Upon arrival at the dock in Yankee Cove near Juneau, we boarded a motorcoach and relaxed while our driver took us for a scenic, winding, narrated drive through the coastal rain forest of Southeast Alaska to downtown Juneau. The bus dropped us off for about three hours of free time. We had planned, the night before, with John and Margaret, to treat ourselves to a meal of crablegs, so after visiting the local library to "take care of business," we headed to the Twisted Fish Company located next to Mount Roberts Tramway in the Taku Smokeries Building.  On the way there, we met up with Charles and Julie and invited them to join us. 

After a satisfying meal, we had time to walk the streets and visit some of the shops.  We found a camera shop that sold extra large capacity batteries for my camcorder.  We also spent some time in the gallery of enamel artist, Wm. Spear.  I had already admired his work which is sold in some of the finer stores we had visited thoughout our travels and had purchased a couple of his pins and a zipper pull. We were fortunate enough to meet Mr. Spear and he signed the back of a new zipper pull that I bought named, "Blue Moon." 

We all met back at the bus and our driver-guide continued our tour of the city, showing us the capitol building, the governor's mansion, and some of the neighborhoods before we headed to Mendenhall Glacier in the Tongass National Forest. Personally, I could have easily passed up this leg of the tour.  On the walk to the visitor's center, the creeks with spawning salmon were pretty, but, seriously, how many times does one need to watch fish spawn 'til they die
and stare at old ice?

I was happy to find a CD about Jack London for my sister, Rita, in the gift shop, so the glacier trip wasn't a complete waste of time.

We reboarded the bus and were driven back to the "Fjordland" for our trip back to Skagway.  We looked for more whales and other wildlife.  Our snack on the way back was a bowl of seafood chowder. 

I've been working on an address list that includes pictures of all of our caravaners.  It is finally finished and we delivered them to everyone.
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