Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 13

This was one of the highlights of the trip.  We pulled into Juneau, Alaska after a couple of harrowing days at sea.  We toured the little town on our own and were impressed with the prices available at the end-of-season sales.  If I haven't mentioned it before, the common refrain on this trip was, "This is the last time we're doing this for the year."  In fact, there was a recent snowfall in the mountains and the tour guides refer to it as "termination dust" since it's a sign of impending unemployment.

We followed this up with the "Best of Juneau" tour, a whale watching tour, salmon bake, and Mendenhall Glacier visit all rolled into one.  This was an awesome trip.  The salmon was fresh caught, grilled, and some of the best I've ever tasted!  During the salmon bake, we got to see one of the owner's tide pool tank, filled with anemones, sculpin, sea stars and all other manner of creatures.  She was very enthusiastic and proud of the tank, entertaining us by feeding the various creatures salmon bits.

I'll let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the tour...

Stellar Sea Lions relaxing.  The males average around 700 pounds.  The largest measured was 3000 pounds!

First of many whale tails.
The naturalists refer to this as waving goodbye, because it usually represents a more extended dive.
They usually dive for a few minutes, but can stay down much longer.
The naturalists and boat pilots had a good feel for how long a given dive would last.
Tail usually meant it was time to go look for another whale...
Kari wandering around Orca Point Lodge after salmon.
Rainbow as viewed from Orca Point Lodge dock.  Once again we won the weather lottery in port, just as we usually lost it at sea...
Anemone from the tide pool tank.
Mendenhall Glacier from a distance.
Closer view.  The blue is due to the compression of snow leaving very little air in the ice.
"Icebergs" from the glacier.
Falls near the glacier.  We didn't have time during the tour to walk all the way out to the falls.
Bald eagles in their nest.  They like big ass houses, just like Kari's Dad.
Picture of flying bald eagle that looks kinda fake...it's not.
And a wave of the tail goodbye.

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