Monday, May 30, 2011

Alaska Trip Wrap Up & Crew Photos

Whether you’ve read my recaps or just looked at my photos, I’m sure you can tell that we had a fabulous trip! Every time I have explored a new place, it has impacted my life. I have to say, though, that I don’t think a trip has ever affected me quite so much as this one did. The passengers and crew on the Safari Quest were a large part of that, so I wanted to post one last wrap up post to thank the crew and my fellow passengers for the wonderful week.

Here are some photos of the crew taken throughout the week by Karl and other crew members.

Sean, the Captain of the Safari Quest

Dirk, the Safari Quest's Engineer, and Sean

Dirk riding to the rescue on his unicycle!

Karl, our expedition leader aboard the Safari Quest, out in a kayak

Karl carrying Mom across a river so her shoes wouldn't get wet

Denee, the Safari Quest's first mate (and our skiff driver for many of our adventures!), on the bridge

Denee on the back deck

Alexandra, the Safari Quest's pastry chef & Bob, the Safari Quest's chef in the galley

Alexandra constructing her fabulous Glacier Cake

Sarah, the Safari Quest's hotel manager, Angela, a steward aboard the Quest, and Brittany, a steward aboard the Quest

Angela & Brittany at the bar in the lounge

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alaska Trip: Some Videos

I finally have gone through my videos and here are some of them (though most aren't very good). I'm not sure how well this will work as this is my first time using the camera and uploading the videos.

I apologize in advance for the shakiness and for any background noises/commentary that doesn't really apply to the video itself.  Click on the 4 arrows at the bottom right corner to view any of the videos full screen.

Humpback Whale

Quick Look around Margerie & Grand Pacific Glaciers

First attempt at a 360 degree view in skiff out by glacier

View of Margerie Glacier with some info in the background (if you can hear it)

Cracking Glacier & info on height of glacier in background

Different perspective of Margerie Glacier as we're returning to the Quest

Margerie Glacier Calving 
Nowhere near as amazing as in person-- it's a bit hard to see on this video-- look towards the far right of the glacier.  You can spot the splash of it falling in the water easier probably
Oh, and pardon our excited exclamations :-)

The brown spot moving along the beach is a brown bear spotted as we were leaving the Margerie & Grand Pacific Glaciers

Bear on beach at Tidal Inlet

Bear wrestling a stick

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Alaska Trip: Day 9

Still miss being out on the water on the Quest, but today was a good day!  We had a wonderful Jeep Tour today with our guide Molly.  Mom and I were the only 2 who signed up, so we had our own personal tour!  I am so glad we went because we got to see a lot more of Juneau (both in Downtown and “out the road”).  We had learned from the narrative in the seaplane the day before and from our guide Molly that though there are roads in Juneau, the only way out of Juneau is by boat or plane!

We made a few different stops along the way and of course I took photos when I could.  We had great visits to the Shrine of St. Therese (where we almost interrupted a wedding and also saw a whale off shore), the University of Alaska-Southeast, and a private area with a local ranger stations where we walked up to the reversible falls for a local salt chuck (containing both salt and fresh water).  We ended the tour at a salmon hatchery for a brief visit.

Photos below and as always click to enlarge!

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Alaska Fisherman's Building

Totems on campus at University of Alaska- Southeast 

Chapel at Shrine of St. Therese

Near the chapel at Shrine of St. Therese

Pillar for lights at entrance to island with chapel

Labyrinth at Shrine for St. Therese

Reversible falls at Salt Chuck

Hollow tree stumps

Entrance to Salmon Hatchery in Juneau

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alaska Trip: Day 8

A sad day as it is our last day on board the Quest  I really wish we didn’t have to leave! When I woke up for breakfast, I joined my mom, Sean, and Denee on the bridge briefly before breakfast. I was surprised to see Sean without a hat for the first time the entire trip (which was weird because I had just had a thought before making my way to the bridge that I hadn’t seen him without a hat on the entire trip!) When I looked out to see where we were, I couldn’t believe we were already approaching Juneau!

By breakfast, we were already at the dock and soon it was time to disembark. The crew waited for us on the dock and I took a few quick photos (one shown below). We hugged everyone as we made our way back up and across to the Goldbelt Hotel with Karl. Our bags took a little longer, so Mom and I checked into our room (we stayed 2 extra days in Juneau to explore) and waited.

We didn’t have a firm plan for our 2 days in Juneau, but I noticed a sign about a Juneau Jeep Tour the next afternoon when we went down to pick up our bags. As we took the bags back to the room and made plans to walk around downtown and ride the tram to the top of Mount Roberts there in Juneau, I convinced Mom into looking into the Jeep Tour. We ended up signing up both for the Jeep Tour on Saturday and a Flight & Feast excursion via seaplane to the Taku Glacier Lodge later Friday afternoon.

Since we had a few hours before our flight to Taku left, we decided to ride up the tram, eat lunch at the top and enjoy the view. After lunch, we briefly visited Lady Baltimore (a bald eagle who lives in captivity due to her injuries) and explored a bit. I walked out along the start of one trail to take some photos, but Mom didn’t want to get her shoes muddy (there was still quite a bit of snow on the trails and some of it was melting). After buying a couple souvenirs & presents for people back home, we headed back down the mountain to drop off our purchases before our afternoon flight. We passed Sean on the street as we were headed to check in and waved (since he was on the other side)!

The whole flight & feast trip was quite an adventure. I’ve always loved flying (odd as I’m a bit afraid of heights) and even thought about taking flying lessons, but I’d never been in such a small airplane before. Since I survived the helicopter to Catalina with Summer, I figured I would be okay in the seaplane. I got a bit jumpy a couple of times, but the view and photo ops from the plane were enough to distract me! It was challenging taking photos out the window. Between the wing in the way and things going by so fast, I’m glad I got the shots I did.

Once we got to the lodge, we had a whole other adventure! Soon after making our way up to the lodge, one of our fellow passengers called out that 2 bears had been spotted in the woods just behind the lodge. Of course we all went to investigate (though Mom and I kept our bear training info from Karl in mind as we approached). It was amazing to see the two black bears so close to the lodge! When one started coming towards us, Mom and I decided to slowly back away and head inside. We chose our seats for the feast near the window overlooking the BBQ area and headed back outside when another bear was spotted approaching from the front of the lodge this time!

Soon it was time for the feast and as we began to eat, we saw the bears approach the BBQ area. All salmon was long gone, but the bears evidently couldn’t pass up salmon-flavored sand. It was amazing to watch them lick up the sand and interact. I think most of us spent more time taking photos of the bears through the window than actually eating! All too soon it was time to head back to Juneau in the seaplane. Mom and I were exhausted when we made it back, but I ended up dragging her back up the tram because of a missed photo op earlier in the day that had been nagging me  After that, we headed back to the hotel to crash and rest up for the jeep tour the next day!

Photos below and as always click to enlarge!

The Safari Quest Crew
From left to right: Alexandra, Bob, Karl, Brittany, Angela, Sarah, Denee, Dirk, Sean

Mount Roberts Tram

 Interesting No Smoking sign

View from top of Mt. Roberts

Mt. Roberts Info (the math is slightly off for # of hours of sunlight, but it's close!)

"Butt Quack" Boxers at a shop in downtown Juneau

Take off in the seaplane

Various scenery from the flight to Taku Glacier Lodge

Taku Glacier Lodge as we arrived

Bear warning sign!

Black bear near the lodge!

Another black bear in front of the lodge

Black bears investigating BBQ and licking salmon-flavored sand

Leaving Taku Glacier Lodge

Inside seaplane on trip back to Juneau

Scenery on way back to Juneau from seaplane

View of dock & wharf right after landing

Taku Flight & Feast Office in Juneau

Our seaplane at the dock

Mural at Juneau City Hall

Stud Puffin Boxers! 
The photo (below) I dragged Mom back up the Mt. Roberts tram to get...I wished I had taken the photo throughout the whole afternoon, and since we had a free ride back to the top any time that day, I figured what the heck, right?  I even ended up buying the boxers!