AsShort Alaska cruise as a precursor to our transpacific Seattle to Sydney Cruise. This way we get to be on the Carnival Splendor a week early and if our required covid tests all go wrong then we can still do the isolation prior to the 23 day Seattle to Sydney cruise. Once on the ship we do not need to retest for covid until after leaving Seattle for Sydney.
Our ports of call for this cruise include: Twin sawyer Glaciers, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria Canada and back to Seattle.
We have cruised this way previously although have not been to Icy Strait Point before.
Just here for an overnight but there was just enough time to get some exercise and walk to the Seattle Space Needle and the Sculpture Park both of which were not far from the Mediterranean Inn hotel.
Surrounded by the Tongass National Forest is Tracy Arm fjord which boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in North America. The fjord, formed centuries ago by glacial activity, is flanked by colossal granite cliffs, with snow-capped mountains looming beyond.
One of the most popular areas featured in many Alaska cruise itineraries is the amazing Tracy Arm Fjord. Blue icebergs everywhere, waterfalls, and the Sawyer Glaciers.
Tracey Arm fjord is located about 72 km south of Juneau and is part of the 653,000-acre preserve known as Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. The fjord is home to North Sawyer Glacier and South Sawyer Glacier, both which span about 48 km long.
The North Sawyer Glacier and South Sawyer Glacier are both active tidewater glaciers, which frequently “calve,” or suddenly releases ice chunks from their edges. Unfortunately our ship is not able to get very close to the glaciers due to the constant activity and the floating ice, which can sometimes range in size from a few inches to more than 9 metres. The only way to see these glaciers close up is to take a costly excursion on a smaller boat. These were all booked early and there were no places left for us. Fortunately this is our 2nd visit here so no big deal.
We climbed to the platform at the top of the water slide for amazing 360 deg views.
Icy Strait Point
The rain and clouds were there to meet us at Icy Strait Point. Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island just outside the village of Hoonah at the mouth of Port Frederick, about 48 kilometers west of Juneau. It is open to the public, but only on days when they have cruise ships in port.
The native Tlingit people originally settled in what is now Glacier Bay National Park thousands of years ago, but due to advancing glaciers were forced to move their home south across the Icy Strait to the northern coast of Chichagof Island. The new village was named Hoonah, meaning “where the north wind doesn’t blow” in the Tlingit language.
Hoonah is the largest Tlingit village in Alaska and in the early 1900s, the Hoonah Packing Company built a cannery just north of town on Icy Strait Point. The cannery produced salmon through the 1950s and was then used as a storage facility before it was purchased by the community-owned Huna Totem Corporation in the 1990s and converted to the tourist attraction you see today.
Other than the cannery museum and a handful of shops and restaurants, Icy Strait Point has maintained its local village and culture and all profits directly support the community of Hoonah
The old cannery now houses a museum that tells the story of Icy Strait Point’s fishing and cannery history. There is old machinery, nets, tools, and other artifacts of the trade as well as informational displays on Tlingit history and culture.
Icy Strait Point has 2 cable cars and is also home to the world’s longest zipline. Riders take off from the top of Hoonah Mountain and enjoy a thrilling over 1 km descent back to the beach at Icy Strait Point. We decided against taking the cable car up into the clouds and rain at the top of Hoonah Mountain Nor did we zip lining off the mountain through the cloud and pouring rain at 80 kph. Instead we went for a walk through the forest, along the stony beach and explored the cannery museum (much drier).
Juneau is the state capital of Alaska and does not have any road access. It also averages 220 days of rain each year including the day of our visit.
This is our 3rd visit here and but we have never spent much time exploring the town area around the dock before. So we spent much of the day just strolling around town and avoiding the rain.
We took the opportunity to look for a couple of Geocaches being watched over by large ravens that appear to have no fear of people. One geocache was 2.5 km out of town so that made for a good walk which took us to an area known as the AJ Gold Mine Mine Rock Dump. This whole area was created from the tailings of the AJ Mill which used to be located on the hillside between here and downtown. There is a display here that celebrates Juneau’s mining history.
A very wet visit to Ketchikan with low clouds and rain all day. Spent the day with umbrellas exploring around Ketchikan. The Highlight was watching the Harbour Seals and the late season almon run in Ketchikan Creek from the Creek Steet Board walks. Plenty of dead salmon in the creek as well. Creek Street is former Red Light District where both men and salmon swam upstream to spawn. It is now a quaint place to tour Dolly’s House museum, view totem poles, shop at locally-owned stores and galleries. The Married Man’s Trail heads upward, winding through the trees and providing scenic views of the town and harbour below. We started a longer walk but it was just to wet to enjoy so headed back to town.
On the way to Victoria the ship slowed down as we sailed through a whale sanctuary. Whales are plentiful here. Unfortunately for us hidden under the low fog. The ship only docked in Victoria for a couple of hours from 9 to 11pm. So no time other than get off the ship and stretch our legs before re-boarding for the last leg back to Seattle. Completed the day with a very un Alaskan dinner of frogs legs.
We stayed on the ship in Seattle and watched one lot of passengers get off and another lot of passengers get on for the cruise to Sydney.
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