Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 6: icy waters and a pirate sighting

Alright, I'm back at it. We've taken on a new adventure at our house, potty training, and it has consumed my last few days. That, along with some other work I've had has meant the blog was put on the back burner. I've got to get the rest of our vacation documented before I forget the details!
Day 6 of our vacation was spent at sea cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord. It was wet and cold... much like I expected our entire trip to be. (If you are like me and didn't know what a fjord was, it is the space leftover when a glacier moves. The one we went through was something like 1/2 a mile wide, over 1000 ft deep, and several thousand feet tall on the sides. All the rock carved by ice. It was an amazing sight for sure.)
Here are some shots from one of the top decks (just above the navigating bridge) before entering the fjord area.
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We got to see quite a bit of wildlife as we cruised. Here were some porpoises we saw that morning. There were quite a few all jumping along at once.
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We also saw a bunch of humpback whales. Some were pretty far away, but some came close to the ship!
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A look ahead.
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Here are some trees and rocks along the shore, but see anything interesting in this shot?
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Here's a closer look of what was in the trees. It's a bald eagle! Thanks to my telephoto lens I was able to get the shot above (yes, it was FAR away.) The shot below is just a low resolution crop of the above image.
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Here's another interesting one. Through the haze and fog, do you see what I saw?
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Here's another low resolution crop from the above image. See the two bald eagles?
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Then there were some humpback whales... just swimming along.
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And a bird.
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By the time we entered the fjord, we went back to our room so we could warm up and stay shielded from the rain. That was when I was so thankful for our covered balcony.
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The view looking back toward the back of the boat from our room.
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First sighting of ICE!
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I wish I could give you a scale for this, but I can't... trust me, it was HUGE and we couldn't even see the top because of the clouds.
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Somewhere I heard that the floating ice is as big as 3 busses. I'd believe it.
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Blake snuck inside to regain the feeling in his hands. Also, he was a bit annoyed with my excessive picture taking at this point. Oh well, couldn't resist this face.
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Here's a shot to help give some scale to this place, a Disney cruise ship. These boats are like floating cities.
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As we neared the glacier at the end of the fjord, the ice started getting bigger and bigger. These were all taken with the 400 mm telephoto lens.
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Some came VERY close to the ship.
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By this time, we were getting really hungry, so we went down to the dining room for some lunch. We got to sit by a window and take in the amazing view... as well as eat lunch with a card carrying Santa. He wasn't just any Santa, he spoke like a Pirate! I was confused at first, but his wife put my mind at ease when she said, "Today he's a pirate." Like that's a totally normal thing! He kept the "game" up the entire lunch, and I had nothing clever to say because I was in shock the whole time. What are you supposed to say to a man whose job is to be Santa, so he looks like santa yet he is speaking like a pirate? Sadly, I didn't have my camera to document this exciting time.
After lunch, Blake had to fulfill his swim team duties he earned at the staff Christmas party last year. Remember this? Well, he got to take a dip in the outdoor pool while cruising icy Alaskan waters.
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Good job, Blake!
The day was one to remember for sure. The wildlife, ice, mountains and even the clouds put on an amazing show... oh, and one cannot forget the infamous pirate santa.

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