NOTE: an earlier version of this post was disrupted by me tinkering with photos, resulting in their disappearance. I believe all is corrected.
Earlier this month I traveled to Alaska’s Inside Passage, the area that covers Alaska and British Columbia is a series of networked passages between various islands along the Pacific coast. My trip was the standard Carnival Cruise 7 day excursion – Seattle to Tracy Arm Fjord to Skagway to Juneau to Ketchikan to Victoria, B.C.. I may write more later about the ‘cruise ship’ experience but it was about what I thought it would be (enjoyable enough to recommend this particular destination via any cruiseliner).
I will post a second part as I get more photos of the trip. Meanwhile, below are a few photos and descriptions. I can’t recommend the trip enough. Whether you go on a cruise or fly up there or whatever, you should take time to visit this amazing region. I will also later post about the EMP and the Carnival Spirit. Here we go:
Before leaving on a boat, my group and I spent a few days in Seattle, WA, a city famous for it’s steady rainfall. During my trip, it did not rain, so it is not ‘famous for it’s rain’ for me. The primary thing I wanted to check out was the Experience Music Project – an interactive music museum with several exhibits, including current rooms featuring Rolling Stones and photographer Jim Marshall, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, and of course Nirvana. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE IMAGES.
A huge video screen playing various music videos and short films greets visitors on the second floor. Each exhibit is pretty thorough, but the Nirvana displays get the most floor space and has a great audio tour for $5 that you listen to via a rented ipod nano (each exhibit has audio available as well as some music tracks from each artists if you prefer to only listen to music while taking it all in)
I also visited Pikes Fish Market area (a TON of shops there), the Space Needle, took a short harbor cruise, saw the first ever Starbucks store. Mt Rainier was also visible on this perfect day and is visible in my photo from atop the Space Needle. From the short time I was there, Seattle looked like a great city!
On a Tuesday morning Sept 4th we boarded the Carnival Spirit. This ship is sailing once more (week of Sept 10th) through the Inland Passage and afterward sailing toward Australia where it will run trips there for the remainder of it’s boat-life.
Tracy Arm Fjord:
The Carnival Cruise Spirit runs up the Pacific coast, and it’s first stop is in Skagway, AK but one day is spent in the Tracy Arm Fjord, where we get our first glimpse of little tiny baby icebergs and glaciers making their way through the forested mountains down to the ocean. Further inland, the water is still and bright green (glacial silt gives it its color). Dozens of glacier water falls dot the steep mountainsides. I saw a few dozen lazy seals near the glaciers, one flying bald eagle. Upon returning to the cruise ship at about 7 pm, we spotted several orcas swimming in small tight circles along the coast.
In Skagway, we took a tour that involved a train ride up Mt. Roberts, and a little gold mining demonstration with Two-Ton Tom! The town of Skagway is about 10 blocks long and relies on tourism now to stay open. Once it was bustling with activity due to the gold rush of the late 1880s.
Here is that photo of the graffiti:
I did not go on any excursions, but did walk through a bit of downtown – like the other ports, there was some interesting buildings. Again, not too much time was allowed to explore but I did have time for the tram ride.
In Ketchikan for just a few hours, I walked around town but didn’t get too far from the tourist shops/port area. Architecture was most interesting here and the place just looked like something out of a movie set. The ‘thing’ to see in Ketchikan are totem poles, but since I’m not into totem poles, I didn’t bother (that’s right, I said it – I’m anti-totem poles)
The evening we were to dock in Victoria, the captain got on the intercom and informed us that high winds made this port too dangerous to attempt a stop, so we parked it for a few hours, then headed down toward Seattle, arriving the next morning (Tues, Sept 11), and debarking.