Now with one night and day completed on the Inner Passage to Alaska……………………
With sheer exhaustion, I slept quite well….but, with my body-clock even more confused, with yet another time-change, it is probably not surprising to note that 4am on 3rd June saw me wide awake! The allure of the Sudoku puzzlebook was short-lived, and so I quietly dressed so as not to disturb the Better Half, and headed up on deck with video and map.
There were a number of other idiots wandering about and we briefly passed the time of day, before keeping on the move because of the cold. I took the opportunity of doing four laps of the pedestrian deck, so felt quite pleased with myself so treated myself to coffee in the breakfast bar when it opened.
Several visits to the cabin later and the Good Lady came on deck, just as we entered the narrow fjord called Tracy Arm which was to lead us to our first view of what we had come to see…..a glacier…..in this case the Sawyer Glacier. We had all been psyched-up to see this, but unfortunately the pilot we had taken on-board had decided that the environment had to be protected, and further movement up the fjord would cause damage to the small icebergs floating around
…..and so, we dropped-off some folk who had booked to go off to the Glacier by bum-boat, whilst the rest of us had to be content with heading for the restaurant for lunch.
Today was the birthday of the Good Lady. Discretion (and the threat of a thick ear) forbids me mentioning an actual number! However it was going to be memorable in that, firstly, it was to be our first land-fall in Alaska, and secondly I would not have to get her any gold for a present…..explanation in a minute!
Juneau is the capital of Alaska, and depends heavily on the sea and air, in that there is no land approach available. Everything coming to or from Juneau must come by boat or seaplane. You can see why as soon as you come off the ship when the surrounding hills become even more evident.
We didn’t really know what to expect even although I had looked at it on Google Street, so knew the general layout. But we found the inhabitants quite friendly. When walking through the main street we came upon a policeman, and had a chat. We did mention that our daughter was a policewoman, and he presented us with a sew-on badge as issued to the Alaskan Police!
Even the animals were friendly……..
However, this was just a lead-up to the main event of the day…getting the present for the Better Half. We were picked-up at the quayside and met by a rather aged-looking gentleman with a large hat, extensive tobacco-stained beard, and an unbelievable drawl.
We were then taken by an old minibus to a creek (you notice my use of the Alaskan vernacular!), where we were given a lesson on panning for gold. We each received a ‘pan’ with mud and grit already in it, and shown how to swirl it about in the water. Lo and behold, each of us found a few flakes of a bright metallic substance in the bottom of our ‘pan’! So with our combined ‘flakes’ we could have just about covered a large match-head!…so fortunes were not to be made. Anyway I think each of the pans had been ‘seeded’!
Never mind, it was all just a bit of fun! A return to the relative civility of the ship and a lovely meal in the Italian Restaurant, ended an interesting day! It was worth recording her good looks for posterity, so we hunted about for a suitable location. The following is that photo….So her birthday was recorded by a photo showing Neptune with his hand on her shoulder!