August 15, 2013
I woke up a number of times during the night knowing an amazing day was coming and I didn’t want to miss any of it. When the 7AM announcements started there was no way I was going back to sleep. It was the naturalist telling us about where we were, what was coming, and she also said there were two humpback whales alongside the ship.
We tossed on our clothes and made our way on deck in time to see the whales in the distance. They had fallen behind because of the forward motion of the ship but we could still see the white water where they were blowing air and coming up above the surface.
The morning was incredible. The water was as smooth as glass, and the sun was peaking through spotty clouds which were reflected on the water. There was an occasional fishing boat in the distance, and the fog and mist made the distant islands and mountains look ethereal and magical.
It wasn’t long before the naturalist announced that more whales had been spotted and they quickly came into view. I couldn’t believe it! Humpback whales, right by the ship, close enough to see easily. I had to review my pictures a few times to believe it myself.
We eventually pulled ourselves away to get some breakfast. People had pulled chairs to the windows on either side of the dining room so they could watch the water, and it wasn’t long before we were all rewarded with more whales, this time three humpbacks, again close to the ship.
This was only the beginning of a fantastic day. Today we went through the pass, through the fjords. The fog and rain cleared, the sun came out, and the mountains became taller and closer to the ship. It was incredible! Eventually we were maneuvering through passages of towering rock walls that looked too small for this huge ship.
We ended up as close as the ship could get to the Mendenhall Glacier (which we would visit again in a couple days). The pictures do not even come close to doing justice to this experience! The water was smooth emerald green, we were told from the dust in the glacier runoff. The mountains were almost on top of us on either side. The views were amazing! By the time we made it to the end of the passage we were about frozen solid from being out in the cold wind but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to miss a bit of this trip!
This was as far as the ship could go though, so when it turned around we decided to come in for lunch and to warm up. Everyone was still sitting by the windows and watching the incredible view from the restaurant. We were tired though and eventually retreated to our room to rest a bit.
When I came out, it had started to rain again. I went to the computer library to sort through my photos but couldn’t resist popping outside now and then when I saw something that cought my eye. I continued to watch the view through dinner and the evening until it got too dark to see any more.
I have a lot of photos! It was hard to choose, but hopefully these will give you some idea of what we saw on this wonderful day.