Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alaska or bust . . . Part 2!

The Alaska photo journal continues. . .

Before leaving Juneau too far behind, this sculpture on the public library in Juneau reminds us of the significance of the raven and the eagle for the First Nations of this southeastern portion of Alaska.

On to Skagway, in a heavy fog.

Adjacent to the ships' docking pier, the rock formation seems to be covered with graffiti. In fact, this is a tribute to the many cruise ships' Captains. The story goes that the crew of each ship paints a tribute on the stone cliffs. The higher the painting is off the ground, the more respected the Captain.

The Garden City. . .

Mike, our fearless tour guide, shuttled us to our first stop. . .

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad. It's a narrow gauge railroad.

We are headed out of town, up toward the northern reaches of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Following the path of the 2-year gold rush of 1897 and 1898.

Into tunnels. . .

. . . and leaving them behind.

The rugged scenery is much softened by today's heavy cloud cover and fog.

Near the summit, the sky begins to clear.

We took the train one way, then Mike (the guy in the red jacket above) brought us back by tour bus, allowing for stops for the toothy-grin tourist photo ops.

This overlook basically captures all of Skagway. The little city swells with the arrival of the cruise ships. That paved roadway at the near edge of town isn't a main highway, far from it. It's the airport runway.

Can't resist snapping a picture of waterfalls. There are lots of them!

Back in town, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up a few things. . .

 . . . and, of course, there is a quilt shop! (And, of course, we shopped there!)

Wild Alaska Catch. A basic spot to grab a tasty bite to eat. Nothing fancy. Picnic tables on an outdoor patio. My kinda place!

And, of course, I had to order the Alaskan King Crab legs! The fries were good too!

Indeed, it's living up to its reputation . . . the garden city.

A raven. They are everywhere. And since we just took a train ride, this particular raven perch seemed a appropriate picture for the album.

Back on board, and ready to set sail, leaving Skagway to our stern.

And a new friend in the state room.

A beautiful sunset. What could be on tap for us tomorrow?

We entered the Tracy Arm Fjord early the next morning. The ship is now headed toward a massive glacier along a narrow, deep channel. What's this ahead? Not your usual flotsam and jetsam.

Icebergs become more frequent as we get closer to the glacier. That blue coloring is the result of years and years of compression of the frozen ice. As the ice is compressed, any air bubbles are squeezed out. With the frozen water devoid of any air bubble 'impurities' the water refracts light from the blue spectrum of the rainbow. (I'm sure there's a more scientific way to explain that, but let's just say, the blue is a naturally occurring color in glacial ice)

More awesome landscape.

. . . and more . . .

 . . . and more. Notice the glacier at the top of the photo. My former geology professor would be pointing out the curved U-shape of the rocks at the glacier's edge. I just thought it was pretty!

A group of quilters (including me!) decided to take advantage of an Asian breakfast on the day that we were in the fjord. A spot high above the lower decks gave us a great vantage point for glacier viewing! And the food was way yummy, too!

And finally we are there. Wowsers!

Photo op!

Just wow!

Heading back out of the fjord, we had more opportunity to see wildlife. The tootsie roll shaped object on the rock to the right is a harbor seal. We saw lots of those. Along with tons of sea otter.

Calm water.

A couple of eagles resting on an ice float.

Blessed with blue sky and amazing scenery. . .

What's this? First you see a spray of water, and a stirring at the surface, and if you are patient. . .

 . . . a breach at the surface. And the best part . . .

 . . . is the tail, as Mr. Whale descends. By the way, this is a gray whale. And it's a male--identified with 50% accuracy! (Thanks to Debi for these last two fabulous whale pictures!)

Before you think that we were a bunch of slackers, eating sushi and watching the scenery roll by. We had a quilt to make!

And here it is. Our cruise theme: Breakfast at Sea in honor of the pre-cut Snaps, Crackers, and Pops from Hoffman Fabrics. So the quilt project was named Over Easy & A Side of Bacon. The 'bacon' part is a table runner project that comes with the quilt pattern. A great way to use of the leftover fabrics from the quilt!

Jacquelyn, Michelle, and Scott (our sewing machine guru) converted one of the ship's conference rooms to our quilt studio. We quilted on the days we were at sea. We played on shore when the ship was in port. Here's Jane flashing a smile during the morning session.

David took a break from working on this quilt to whip up a quick place mat from the Continental Breakfast pattern, another new pattern to coordinate with the Over Easy quilt. . . this one uses all the leftovers from the quilt and the table runner! Good deal!

To be continued  . . . I'll conclude with beautiful Victoria, British Columbia . . . next time.

Happy Stitching!


  1. Joan, what a wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing the great pics!

    1. Thanks, Sharon. It really was an amazing journey!