What an incredible experience! I never get tired of seeing the amazing and sometimes HUGE Icebergs, Sunsets on the Water, Whales Breaching and the Eagles soaring overhead!
For those of you who have been to Alaska, have you ever boated so close to an iceberg that you could reach out and touch it? Or capture some of the glacier ice to put in your drink?
Seriously, that's a thing! And you would think that it would taste salty from floating in the ocean but it tastes fresh, super cold, and is beautiful!!
Recently we needed to go to Juneau for supplies, work and appointments. Our summer assistant is from Juneau and has 2 dogs so it was a new experience for all of us - including the dogs!
Because of the time we needed to be in town, and the amount of days we would be there, we took our tug, which is slower but gives us a place to sleep, cook, and carry everything. That meant a day and a half on the water - and one night anchored up on the way.
So... the dogs had to figure out that it was OK to use the back deck to go to the bathroom on because we can't get this boat close enough to the shore to get off and on.
(I brought pieces of sod to try and make it feasible for them).
We left in the afternoon and it was a quiet, peaceful ride with only the water and birds along. We anchored up in a quiet cove by one of the glaciers and settled in for the evening.
Well, as best we could with the poor pups trying to figure out where to go potty when they have been trained to only go "outside".
There were icebergs of all sizes floating past us from the glacier. We stopped and took pictures of the first big one we saw as it was so incredible. The color really IS Blue - you can google why, it's interesting! As they float out toward the main part of the channel, they slowly melt and at some point they often roll over, revealing a totally different look than the top half!
The textures, designs, and images you see in each one are something I have never seen in anything else. The underside is so clear, with bubbles, jagged peaks and more.
Once the captain decided on an anchor point, we settled in, ate dinner and watched the sunset! Oh, and played cards!
Being anchored up vs tied to a dock is a little more worrisome as the anchor can drag, the tide changes, and the wind can move you around. With this normal thought process, the captain was awake and ready to move by 5 am.
Finally in the morning the pups were so desperate to go potty that they finally used the sod on the back deck - what a relief for all. Mostly the dogs of course, and then me as a natural worry mom, and our assistant because they are her dogs.
We headed back out, watching for icebergs, logs, seaweed, whales, or anything else that might cause an issue.
At one point in our journey I noticed a large cruise ship gaining ground on my left side (I was giving the captain a break in driving).
It appeared that we were both headed to the same opening between an island and the mainland on our way to town.
No worries I thought, because it was going about twice as fast as I was! And sure enough, it skinnied through the opening well ahead of me.
Once we got to town the hustle began. When you only have a short amount of time to gather all the supplies and groceries, it becomes a shopping marathon. Imagine getting 6 months of shopping done in 2 1/2 days!
Most of us buy our groceries and supplies, load them in the car or truck and drive home to unload them by the front door. When the only way to get to and from your home is by float plane or boat, everything changes.
AND, to make it more interesting, there is the tide to consider! In high tide the ramp and dock are more level, making it easier to manage the carts needed to haul items to your boat.
In LOW tide, the dock/ramp is super steep. And the lower the tide, the steeper the ramp.
On this trip the ramp was so steep that a watermelon got away and rolled down the ramp cracking open at the bottom. Sad!!
After 3 days of hustle to get all the supplies and groceries, wash the boat while we had a HOSE at the dock, grab our last dinner and turn the boat so we were ready to head out early in the morning, all was set to return to camp. Boy were my feet tired from walking on concrete for 3 days. Walking at camp is all dirt roads - so much nicer on the body.
This time when our assistant, her partner and dogs came down to get on, the dogs just jumped right in and settled down for naps! Like they had been traveling this way all their lives. What a great sign, the trip home would be much easier!
As we left town, the captain and assistant filled me in on the history of the cool old shack still sitting on top of stilts, a landmark at this point. That's something we will save for him to share with you on YOUR Alaska retreat.
It was a quiet ride back toward camp, but about 2/3rd of the way home we saw a bright blue speck closer to the shore quite a ways in front of us. I figured we'd just swing close and take a picture or two because the captain was resting and I was driving again. Honestly, I only do it for an hour or two but I'm learning and really enjoy getting more practise.
As we got closer, the iceberg began to take shape and it was incredible!! Like an Ice Castle floating in the water. I just HAD to slow down enough to really look at it.
That of course wakes up the captain - what's wrong - oh nothing, just an iceberg.
So he takes over and gets' us right up close enough to reach out and touch it, but not so long as to be in the way if it rolls.
And roll it did! But not till after we moved away from it. We netted a small chunk of glacier ice to have in our drinks, something unique and fun you should try. It's pretty cool - literally!
We were almost home when we saw a whale breach out in front of the boat. Without getting to close, the captain took us up to watch the whale who breached a number of times, then started slapping it's fins - or flippers - whatever you want to call them. BUT, this was the FIRST time I had ever seen one tail slap! We watched it for a few minutes and then we could all hear the sounds and calls it was making. There was just an underlying feeling that it needed it's space.
After we left and got home, I googled what the tail slapping meant and our instincts about it's sounds and actions were right - it needed it's space for sure. And they are so big that it's smart to treat them with respect!
We had nice weather for all three days we were getting things done in town. Now we were getting close to home, later in the evening and would need to unload the boat and get everything up the road to the house.
Wouldn't you know it, it started raining and the tide was out - meaning a low tide and steep ramp - again. However, at least this time we have a couple side by sides that you can usually drive down onto the dock so that helps.
All in all, it's an amazing life. Not easy in many aspects but I wouldn't trade this for anything.
Water, Trees, Whales, Eagles, Peace and Quiet, work to keep active and healthy, and great companionship. That's why we love to share it with private retreats. Up close and personal, nothing you would ever experience from a 16 story cruise ship - which we did see several of!
Basically floating cities. Nice, but I'll take this peaceful, quiet cruise anytime!
I am truly blessed!!