Diamond Princess Day 4 – Juneau

We woke up early this morning because it was light not long after 4.00am.  Sandy tried again to upload the photos from yesterday to the blog with no success!  After breakfast we watched our ship dock in Juneau, which is the Capital of the state of Alaska and has a population of 30,000.

At 8.30am we set off for our shore excursion, which was described as the Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari and Whale Watching.  There were 13 other people on the excursion and we headed off to a spot close to the glacier and walked through a picturesque nature trail, stopping to take photos along the way, to a lookout at the base of the Mendenhall Glacier.

Before we left the ship, one of the Princess crew members introduced Pembroke Bear to us and asked our tour guide/professional instructor, Hugh, to take him with us and show him a good time, with the idea being that Hugh would take photos of him and us and give the camera memory card to her when he returned Pembroke at the end of the excursion.  Needless to say, this provided quite a bit of hilarity as we all thought of lots of poses that we could put him in including sitting in a tree, trying to raid the bear proof rubbish bins, him taking photos of the glacier and the whales, having a ride on Sandy’s shoulders and generally having a great time!!

Hugh encouraged everyone to try new settings on their cameras and explained how we could take better photos.

The Mendenhall Glacier began about 3000 years ago and is fed from an icefield high above Juneau.  The glacier is approximately 13 miles long and rises above the Mendenhall Lake, which is dotted with icebergs that have broken away from the glacier.

Our adventure continued when we reboarded the bus and were taken down to the harbour to Auke Bay.  We boarded a boat specially designed for wildlife viewing – it had panoramic windows that opened completely and even had arm rests on the windowsills to help rest your camera.  As we headed out into the bay, we admired the snow-capped mountain peaks and the placid waters of the bay and Stephens Passage, on this perfect sunny and warm day.

We were fortunate to find a pod of Killer Whales and watched, as well as took photos of them as they frolicked not far from our boat. We also saw a majestic bald eagle, sitting on top of a channel marker. We saw some sea lions from a distance but quick enough to get photos.

We were also privileged to watch a Humpback Whale surface several times on its way through the channel. He would come up to the surface for air several times in a row, staying close to the surface and then he would take one last big breath and disappear under the water with a flick of his fluke (tail) he would dive to the bottom to feed on the fish there.  We learnt that Humpback Whales can stay underwater for approximately 6 minutes, so it quickly became a competition to see who could see him surface first as he could travel quite a distance in that time!

The boat skipper was great, manoeuvring his boat so that we could get great photos.

On the way to the ship, the driver and Hugh dropped us off at the Mount Roberts Tramway, which is within easy walking distance of the ship (about 15 minutes).  The “tram” is  a large enclosed gondola.  We boarded the tram, which holds about 30 people and climbs 1,750 feet in 10 minutes up a very steep incline.  We wandered around at the top, taking in the beautiful panoramic scenery as well as looking through some of the gift shops and local artisan craft shops before heading back in the tram to the downtown area and then walked back to our ship for a very late lunch.

Sandy spent a couple of hours late this afternoon trying to upload the photos to the gallery, one again with no success, so will try again early tomorrow morning before too many other people are up using the internet, checking emails etc.  The satellite/internet connection is extremely slow and very expensive, especially considering that all the hotels we have stayed at so far, have given us free wireless internet access in our room.

We set sail at 9.00pm after another wonderful day in Alaska.

2 Responses to “Diamond Princess Day 4 – Juneau”

  1. John and Delma says:

    Looks like you are realy missing work

  2. Selle-Belle says:

    Hi my loveliness,

    You’ll have to give me some pointers when you get home,now you’ve enjoyed a photography course….lol!!!

    The day out ‘n’ about sounded awesome!!!! Seeing green….lol!!!

    Looking forward to the next installment!! 🙂

    Will miss you tomorrow, we’re scrapp’n at Deb’s!!! Your ears will be burning, casue we’ll be talking about you…..all good thou!!! 🙂

    Lots of love & friendship,

    Shell-Belle xxoo

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