Category: Week 1

5/25: Ketchikan & The End of Week 1

25May2013-5
We had a short cruise to Ketchikan on Saturday morning.  After sleeping in until 7am, the first thing I did was check the Wildlife Board on the way to the lounge. This was an informal and fun way to keep track of our wildlife sightings.

Well, son of a …………gun!  Look at that – whales spotted at 5:15am.

The first morning I wasn't up at the crack of dawn, and the whales show up.  All I could do was laugh.

One of the few mornings I wasn’t up before the crack of dawn, and the whales show up. All I could do was laugh.

Breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruit, and more – was available as we cruised into Ketchikan.  It always rains in Ketchikan, or so they say.  We had another nice day on the horizon.

The sights as we get close to Ketchikan

The sights as we get close to Ketchikan

Passing by where the big ships dock on the way to our spot

Passing by where the big ships dock on the way to our spot

Colorful houses on the hill

Colorful houses on the hill

Fishing, along with tourists, fuels the local economy

Fishing, along with tourists, fuels the local economy

We all gathered in the lounge, ready to disembark at 8:30am.  We didn’t have to pack today, because we would be in our same cabin for Week No. 2 of our Un-Cruise.  All we had to do was put our dirty laundry in a bag, and by magic, it will appear clean and nicely folded when we returned to our cabin this afternoon.

Disembarking was a sad process for those who weren't joining Week 2 on the Wilderness Discoverer.

Disembarking was a sad process for those who weren’t joining Week 2 on the Wilderness Discoverer.

There were hugs for the crew as we departed - it was certainly a successful week.

There were hugs from the crew as we departed – it was certainly a successful week.

We had the day to explore Ketchikan, since we wouldn’t be re-boarding the ship until after 4pm.  We had previously booked a Flight Seeing Tour over Misty Fjords with Island Wings, another company that comes highly recommended.  We walked a short way to the “Liquid Sunshine Gauge” in town, where a nice young man picked us up in an Island Wings van.

A look at one of the Ketchikan downtown streets (we missed the classic "Welcome to Ketchikan Banner.")

A look at one of the Ketchikan downtown streets (we missed the classic “Welcome to Ketchikan Banner.”)

Ironically, our first stop in the Island Wings van was at the Cape Fox Lodge - this is where we will be meeting up for Leg 2 of our trip. We picked up 3 more folks for our flight - they were also going to be on the ship the next week.

Ironically, our first stop in the Island Wings van was at the Cape Fox Lodge – this is where we will be meeting up for Leg 2 of our trip. We picked up 3 more folks for our flight – they were also going to be on the ship the next week.

We’ll pick up our Flightseeing Tour in the next post.  Here’s a recap of our first week on the Wilderness Discoverer:

Thoughts on Week 1, the Eastern Coves of the Inside Passage:

sceneryAlaska Scenery – A+  We were so fortunate with the weather, once we left Juneau. Both Tracy Arm and Misty Fjords provided the most amazing examples of wonderful landscapes and our planet’s natural wonders. The opportunities to anchor overnight in beautiful bays provided a chance to take in more of Alaska’s beauty.  The weather was the true star of the week.

finWildlife Sightings – C  We saw a few whales, lots of Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoise, some eagles and other birds, and some sea otters from afar. Oh, and a bear and some mountain goats … on the very distant shore. The afternoon of our first full day was our best for Wildlife – it was sparse after that. We prepared ourselves before the trip that seeing wildlife was hit or miss, especially this early in the season. This is just how it is in Alaska, and isn’t a reflection on Un-Cruise Adventures.  Our guides did everything they could to find wildlife, and our captain was always willing to stop the ship if we found something.  Not every cruise is going to match up to the photos in the brochure – but some do … keep reading to see how we fared in the next two weeks.

Fortunately, the wonders of the scenery more than made up for the lack of wildlife. And, we had 2 more weeks to go. We felt a little sorry for those who only had the one week on the boat, but most didn’t seem too disappointed – the scenery was so amazing, and the activities kept us busy.

DrinksLife Onboard – A  The Wilderness Discoverer was very comfortable. Our accommodations were good. The ship is clean and obviously well maintained.  The crew was outstanding – friendly, helpful, professional, and all willing to help with anything you needed.  The food was tasty, and plentiful – we never went hungry. We also met so many nice people, and this was an unexpected benefit of cruising on the small ship.

RockweedOff Boat Activities – B  We enjoyed the skiff tours, and found kayaking wasn’t for us. We didn’t do any hikes on Week 1, because I was overly cautious.  Some people were disappointed in the more strenuous hikes – they said they were too slow with too much stopping and talking about plants and such. Most who loved kayaking were in heaven – they said it was some of the best they’d done.  A key learning – if you aren’t happy with the way things are going, speak up.  The crew will do what they can to take care of you.  And remember – this report is about our experience.  Others will have a different perspective.

Overall, it was an A+ week that exceeded expectations, and we were looking forward to the coming weeks. But first, it was time to get on with today’s activity in Ketchikan.

5/24: Misty Fjords National Monument

24May-15

Today was our last full day of cruising and we were going to anchor in Misty Fjords. Popping out on deck before 5am, it looked like we would have another good day, even though it had been a little choppy last night.

Still no sunshine, but the water calmed down, and it looks to be another nice day

We must be close - it looks misty around the bend

We must be close – it looks misty around the bend

I had read a little about Misty Fjords National Monument, but didn’t have a good idea of what to expect. We’d been to Milford Sound in New Zealand – which is really a fjord – would it be like that? We got some history from our guides about Misty Fjords National Monument – proclaimed a National Monument and Wilderness Area by Jimmy Carter in 1978. It includes 2.3 million acres of the Tongass National Forest, and is 40 miles east of Ketchikan.

From Wikipedia:

The area is called “The Yosemite of the North” for its similar geology. Light-colored granite, about 50 to 70 million years old (Eocene Epoch to Cretaceous Period) has been sculpted by glaciers that gouged deep U-shaped troughs throughout the monument. Many of the glacial valleys are filled with sea water and are called “canals”, but they are not man-made in any way; the walls of these valleys are near-vertical and often rise 2,000 to 3,000 feet (600 to 900 m) above sea level, and drop 1,000 feet (300 m) below it.

We anchored before breakfast, and the serious kayakers left shortly after.  We were impressed with the number of people who kayaked every chance they could – sometimes out for several hours at a time on the longer guided tours.  This was the same group who always picked the most strenuous hikes.  And, age wasn’t a determining factor for who joined the Active Group – people in there 70s were right there with some of the younger folks.

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We saw lots of float planes flying through the Fjords:

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Our Skiff Tour was at 9:30am.  While it must have been great in the kayaks, I was glad to be in a skiff and able to take photographs – photos from today are some of our favorites from the trip; our only regret is we didn’t take the good cameras. The natural beauty was beyond expectations, and the combination of mist, calm water, and being right on the water made the reflections seem almost magical.

It got better and better as we cruised around - waterfalls, crazy reflections, and steep cliffs.

It got better and better as we cruised around – waterfalls, crazy reflections, and steep cliffs.

Some of our favorite photos from the morning:

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Sites at Misty Fjords

Too soon, we were coming back to the Wilderness Discoverer.  Misty Fjords National Monument is a treasure, and one you have to see to believe.  This morning matched Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glaciers for jaw-dropping awesomeness.  And, we still had more to come.

The WIlderness DIscoverer,  waiting patiently for everyone to finish playing

The Wilderness Discoverer, looking perfectly at home in the still waters of Misty Fjords

The crew had one more surprise for us before lunch.  It was Polar Plunge Day !!!  This is another one of the crazy ideas where people can jump into the icy cold water.  There were quite a few jumpers – and some went in more than once.  No one stayed in the water long, that’s for sure.  We were told it was about 45 degrees F.  Here are some photos of some of the crew doing the Polar Plunge – there were plenty of passengers who jumped as well.  Meet Chris, the Bartender and Unofficial Ombudsman; Niles, the Hotel Manager; and Paul – our Wellness Instructor (he should know better! )

The polar plunge !!!

Lunch options today included Vegetable or Ham & Cheddar wraps, Split Pea Soup, and Penne Salad with Bay Shrimp.  We spent the afternoon awestruck over the sights of the steep walls of the fjord, many cascading waterfalls, and more.  We saw a few birds and waterfowl, but no other wildlife.  And, you know what?  It didn’t matter that we didn’t see a whale, a bear, or a mountain goat today – the scenery was just that spectacular.

Here is a sampling of our afternoon – I think we all had sore necks from gazing upwards:

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Tonight was the Captain’s Dinner, and the menu choices were tempting.  We chose the Beef Tenderloin with Dungeness Crab, and as usual, everything was great.  We also had a chance to thank the crew for their outstanding service during the week – both with applause and by adding our gratuity to the week’s tab.  Gratuities on the Wilderness Discoverer were split between all of the crew members.  This was a fair system, because everyone jumped in to do whatever needed to be done, and all of their job roles contributed to a successful Un-Cruising Week.  The recommended gratuity is 10% of your booking fee.  This may be more than on the large cruise ships, but the extra level of service on the small ship was worth it.

It had been a very full day, but almost everyone stayed up for the after dinner presentation.  The guides put together a slide show for us from photos they had taken throughout the week.  We all had some laughs as we watched the show.

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5/23: Yes Bay

23May-70I wasn’t up until 6am today, so missed the early morning photography opportunities. Lou always managed to sleep later, even occasionally skipping breakfast.  We were in Yes Bay, and were anchored next to Yes Bay Lodge, a popular place for fishermen to fly into from Ketchikan.  The plan was to be anchored all day, so we decided to step out of our comfort zone and try two activities: our favorite – the Skiff Tour, and Kayaking.

Yet another beautiful anchorage - here the crew is checking to make sure the anchor and chain are OK

Yet another beautiful anchorage – here the crew is checking to make sure the anchor and chain are OK

The morning starts with a latte or cappuccino. There is a $2.50 charge to get the special coffees - you just keep a tally until the end of the week. Brewed coffee and tea are free.

The morning starts with a latte or cappuccino. There is a $2.50 charge to get the special coffees – you just keep a tally until the end of the week. Brewed coffee and tea are free.

Finally wised up and realized taking a photo of the daily menu would be an easy way to remember what we had each day.

As I was snapping a photo through the lounge window, a float plane flew into view...

As I was snapping a photo through the lounge window, a float plane flew into view…

It was float plane central off the starboard side

It was float plane central off the starboard side

We had some time before our Skiff Tour, so I watched the first group get ready to go on their snorkeling adventure.  This activity had a small add-on charge, and there were quite a few adventurous souls.  They said they had a good time, and it was only cold when they got out of the water.

Getting ready to snorkel in the cold Alaska water is a team event

Getting ready to snorkel in the cold Alaska water is a team event

Perhaps the guys are laughing because they realize what a crazy idea this is!

Perhaps the guys are laughing because they realize this is a crazy idea!

We were up for the mid-morning Skiff Tour, and once again had Captain Dano as our guide.  He knows the area well, and was able to tell us lots of stories – that seems to be a specialty of his.  Apparently this can be a sure thing to see bears when the salmon are running later in the summer.

Here are photos from our Skiff Tour – we saw a Blue Heron and a Juvenile Bald Eagle.  As usual, we tried our darndest to find a bear, but no luck even though we looked in many possible hiding places.

Captain Dano tells us about Yes Bay, and explains why some trees lean over

Captain Dano tells us about Yes Bay, and explains why some trees lean over

Juvenile Bald Eagles maintain this coloring until they are 4-5 years old

Juvenile Bald Eagles maintain this coloring until they are 4-5 years old

Photos from the skiff tour

Here are some photos from the hikers:

Tasty fish tacos for lunch, and then it was time to try kayaking – we thought we should try it at least once during our first week. We watched the experts while awaiting our turn:

The best dressed couple on the trip - and also among the most active. These folks also did the 3 week Ultra Adventure, and they were up for all of the activities.

The best dressed couple on the trip – and also among the most active. These folks also did the 3 week Ultra Adventure, and they were up for all of the activities.

Hey - isn't the guy in the back supposed to be paddling? (Note - rumor has it, he is a very accomplished kayaker, and this is another duo who were very active)

Hey – isn’t the guy in the back supposed to be paddling? (Note – rumor has it, he is a very accomplished kayaker, and this is another duo who were very active)

Lou gets in the kayak easy enough, but finds he's too tall and his back wasn't happy. Once I was in, they just pushed us off into the water ... and, we didn't tip over.

Lou gets in the kayak easy enough, but finds he’s too tall and his back wasn’t happy. Once I was in, they just pushed us off into the water … and, we didn’t tip over.

My one and only photo from the kayak - if we don't count the next one. Of course, there's no way to prove we are actually in the kayak.

My one and only photo from the kayak – if we don’t count the next one. Of course, there’s no way to prove we are actually in the kayak.

I tried to take a photo of Lou in the back - it didn' t work out so well.

I tried to take a photo of Lou in the back – it didn’ t work out so well.

OK – we tried kayaking, we weren’t very good.  Lou still says he wants to get kayaks for home – we’ll see.  I preferred riding in the skiffs because it was better for taking photos.  But – for folks who love kayaking, it’s hard to think of a better way to do it than on an Un-Cruise Adventure trip.  We relaxed after our activities, and before we knew it, it was time to eat – again!

Salads were offered every evening - the dressings were freshly made and often were a citrus or berry-based vinaigrette - very good.

Salads were offered most evenings – the dressings were freshly made and often were a citrus or berry-based vinaigrette – very good.

We both chose the bacon wrapped scallops - delicious, although I skipped the bacon. I like mine crispy (which obviously wouldn't wrap around a scallop)

We both chose the bacon wrapped scallops – delicious, although I skipped the bacon. I like mine crispy (which obviously wouldn’t wrap around a scallop)

Our dinner companions are helping me get over a fear of people - fear of taking their photo, that is.  There was no assigned seating at mealtimes - you just picked a seat anywhere you wanted.  Most people were happy to mix it up and it was a good way to get to meet new people.

Our dinner companions are helping me get over a fear of people – fear of taking their photo, that is. There was no assigned seating at mealtimes – you just picked a seat anywhere you wanted. Most people were happy to mix it up and it was a good way to get to meet new people.

Lou relaxes on the top deck after dinner. An unexpected benefit of small ship cruising is all the nice people you meet.  The couple on the left is from Australia, and we found out we had visited "D's" brother's Winery on our last trip to South Australia. We had quite a few folks on the cruise from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and from all around the US.  There were a surprising number of "it's a small world" connections as we met people who had attended the same schools, or lived in some of the same places we did.

Lou relaxes on the top deck after dinner. An unexpected benefit of small ship cruising is all the nice people you meet. The couple on the left is from Australia, and we found out we had visited “D’s” brother’s Winery on our last trip to South Australia. We had quite a few folks on the cruise from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and from all around the US. There were a surprising number of “it’s a small world” connections as we met people who had attended the same schools, or lived in some of the same places we did.

We had another amazing light show tonight:

Youngsters (and fellow Floridians) enjoying the view. We were pleasantly surprised to find a wide range of age groups on the trip - young, medium, and old (us),  and people were from many different backgrounds.

Youngsters (and fellow Floridians) enjoying the view. We were pleasantly surprised to find a wide range of age groups on the trip – young, medium, and old (us), and people were from many different backgrounds.

The hot tub is warmed up and ready - there were two hot tubs on the ship.

The hot tub is warmed up and ready – there were two hot tubs on the ship.

Ho Hum - just another beautiful sunset in Alaska, as we take off for Misty Fjords

Ho Hum – just another beautiful sunset in Alaska, as we take off for Misty Fjords

5/22: Wrangell, A Change of Pace

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No kayaking or hiking on today’s agenda – the anchor was up and the engines were on shortly before breakfast. We were headed to the small town of Wrangell, 155 miles South of Juneau. Wrangell sits on Wrangell Island, and you need a boat or airplane to get there. It has a strong cultural history, with the Tlingit people having settled here long ago. (Note – Tlingit is pronounced like “Klink-it.”)

The time stamp on this photo says 3:48am ...

The time stamp on this photo says 3:48am … early morning was the best time to catch the water when it was eerily calm

One of the Alaska Ferry boats - the Marine Highway is the primary transportation system for people who live or visit island communities like Wrangell

One of the Alaska Ferry boats – the Marine Highway is the primary transportation system for people who live or visit island communities like Wrangell

While underway, Hannah - one of our five Expedition Guides - gave a talk about Tlingit Art and some folks tried their had at the techniques.

While underway, Hannah – one of our five Expedition Guides – gave a talk about Tlingit Art and some folks tried their hand at the techniques.

Chris, our favorite bartender, surprised us with his "Drink of the Day" special before lunch - it was available with or without alcohol

Chris, our favorite bartender, surprised us with his “Drink of the Day” special before lunch – it was available with or without alcohol

Here are some more photos from the morning as we cruised to Wrangell

And a few more photos before we reached Wrangell

The final approach into Wrangell.  Could we have had a nicer day?

The final approach into Wrangell. Could we have had a nicer day?

Since we were a small ship, we could dock at Wrangell. During the summer, there are often kids at the dock selling garnets - which only they can mine in the local pit.

Since we were a small ship, we could dock at Wrangell. During the summer, there are kids at the dock selling garnets – which only they can mine in the local pit.

We had a hamburgers for lunch onboard before setting off to explore. There was an option to take a group tour to Chief Shake’s Tribal House, or wander around on your own.  We knew we would have the opportunity to learn more about Tlingit culture next week, so we opted to stroll around on our own.  We visited the Wrangell Museum, which was very well done, and the Totem Park. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many flowers in bloom already.

A couple of our friendly fellow passengers were kind enough to pose for a photo before we all took off on our adventures

A couple of our friendly fellow passengers were kind enough to pose for a photo before we all took off on our adventures

Wrangell is home to the oldest Catholic Church in Alaska

Wrangell is home to the oldest Catholic Church in Alaska; it’s called Saint Rose of Lima.

One of several nice photos Lou took of the flowers

One of several nice photos Lou took of the flowers

Lou took photos at the museum, and during our walk around town.

We were all back onboard and ready to roll by 5pm. I think everyone had a good time in Wrangell, and we certainly enjoyed the perfect weather. We were also looking forward to dinner - Chef Jo was serving crab legs.

We were all back onboard and ready to roll by 5pm. I think everyone had a good time in Wrangell, and we certainly enjoyed the perfect weather. We were also looking forward to dinner – Chef Jo was serving crab legs.

Delicious Crab Legs with boiled potatoes and lots of butter - tasty!

Delicious Crab Legs with boiled potatoes and lots of butter – tasty!

I haven’t mentioned the evening programs held most nights after dinner – mostly because I was usually on deck taking photos, or already in bed.  Lou managed to stay up for several of the programs and enjoyed them. We were treated to talks about our route, about Alaskan Wildlife, Intertidal Creatures, and more.  There was also a library on board where you could read about many Alaska-related topics.

As we cruised towards Yes Bay for another day of water activities and hiking, we were treated to some amazing evening light.

This was taken at 8:50pm, just before sunset, and the pink clouds were just getting started

This was taken at 8:50pm, just before sunset, and the pink clouds were just getting started

More of the evening sky – there were more folks out taking photos than we’d seen earlier in the cruise

5/21: Cascade Creek & Patterson Lake

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The crew pulled anchor late last night, and we cruised overnight to our new destination – Cascade Creek Anchorage.  From here, it’s possible to take a 5 mile hike to Patterson Lake.  It’s now Tuesday, May 21st, and our first week of cruising is almost half over. This was a very relaxing day – the scenery was not quite as impressive as the previous day, but nothing to complain about.

I was once again up before 5am. When I looked outside, I saw another boat:

What's this? Another boat at our private anchorage? It turned out this is the Safari Quest, another Un-Cruise ship, and crew were here to hike to Patterson Lake and do maintenance on kayaks stored over the winter.

What’s this? Another boat at our private anchorage? It turned out this is the Safari Quest, another Un-Cruise ship, and crew were here to hike to Patterson Lake and do maintenance on kayaks stored over the winter.

It was another beautiful morning – all the sunshine you could ask for.  We only had one event scheduled – a Skiff Tour.  This was going to be a nice day to relax and catch up on some sleep.

I took some more early morning photos before heading to the lounge for coffee

The early risers club gathers in the lounge for coffee

The early risers club gathers in the lounge for coffee

The forward part of the lounge - the ship wasn't fancy, but it was very comfortable - just right!

The forward part of the lounge – the ship wasn’t fancy, but it was very comfortable – just right!

The bar - passengers ran a tab throughout the week, and paid up on Friday evening.

The bar – passengers ran a tab throughout the week, and paid up on Friday evening.

This little bird was waiting for me when I went back to the cabin to check on Lou – still sound asleep!  How did he do it?

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After breakfast, we watched one of the hiking groups getting a ride in the skiff to their starting point.

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The Skiff Tours were our favorite activity during our first week – we will try the kayaks later in the week, and we’ll even do some of the easy hikes during weeks 2 & 3.  Captain Dano was our skiff guide again, and he tried his best to find a bear, but no luck.  He did keep us entertained with stories about the area. Today we saw several different types of birds, including harlequin ducks.

Some photos from our tour

The Safari Quest was still there when we returned from the Skiff Tour – I must have liked that boat, since I have way too many photos of it.  As you can see, still not a cloud in the sky, and jackets were certainly not needed today.

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I don’t recall if any group actually made it all the way to Patterson Lake, but I don’t think so.  Being one of the first groups out this early in the season, the hikers were often trailblazers, since the guides hadn’t had a chance to scope things out.  Being able to get close-up photos of wildflowers would have been nice.

Here are some photos from the Un-Cruise Photo Share taken on the hikes

Folks took advantage of the sunshine to lounge on the deck, and the crew even moved cocktail hour outside.  The crew on the Wilderness Discoverer always looked for ways to make our day more enjoyable, even if it meant more work for them.  They also served tasty appetizers every day at happy hour – but you better move quick if you want to get a sample.

Enjoying cocktail hour on the sundeck

Marika told us about tomorrow’s plans as we wrapped up our time on deck before dinner:

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Dinner this evening  was – I have no idea – I forgot to make a note of it, but I’m sure it was good.  It was a lazy day – just what we needed.  We didn’t get much of a sunset, so I had to help this one along in my dreams…

nightsky

5/20: Baird Glacier & Thomas Bay

20May-15

Today was Tuesday, May 20th. A most important day – my 60th birthday. I convinced Lou to play it low key on the ship, but there were numerous congratulations, and it was such a nice way to enter into my next decade. It was also a great day to reflect on how fortunate we are to have reached this stage of life mostly intact, and in a position to enjoy such an adventure. I thanked Lou for arranging the trip, and set out at 4am to see what I could see.

We were cruising towards an anchorage in Thomas Bay, near Baird Glacier (not an impressive glacier, but one that is accessible for shore walks). I’ll let the photos tell the story of my very early morning on deck:

A pre-dawn view - the "blue-hour" effect was very pronounced in Alaska. This is the period before sunrise, and after sunset, when the landscape takes on a lovely blue aura.

A pre-dawn view – the “blue-hour” effect was very pronounced in Alaska. This is the period before sunrise, and after sunset, when the landscape takes on a lovely blue aura.

I thought someone was following us, but we were towing one of the skiffs

I thought someone was following us, but we were towing one of the skiffs

Cruising in May gave us the opportunity to see lots of snow on the mountains

Cruising in May gave us the opportunity to see lots of snow on the mountains

It was time for coffee, and there was always some available in the lounge.  I took a few photos of the interior of the ship to share:

A peek down the hallway on Deck 2 - this is where folks stored jackets and boots, and we also had lockers outside.

A peek down the hallway on Deck 2 – this is where folks stored jackets and boots, and we also had lockers outside.

 The Activity Board - each evening, Marika (Our Expedition Leader) would tell us about the options for the next day, and we would select our choices. They would then post our schedules on the board so we could see it first thing in the morning.


The Activity Board – each evening, Marika (Our Expedition Leader) would tell us about the options for the next day, and we would select our choices. They would then post our schedules on the board so we could see it first thing in the morning.

Fortified with caffeine, it was time to go back on deck, where the day just got better.  The weather was unbelievably good, especially given how rainy it had been in Juneau.

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And, because it was such a nice morning, here are some more photos showing the beautiful landscape and some early risers

Today was our first time to experience a full day at anchor.  This is where the “Adventure” part of our Un-Cruise comes into play. We had options to go for a hike on Baird Glacier, take a skiff tour, or do some kayaking.  There were also paddleboards available for the more adventurous.  We were originally signed up for the Glacier Hike, but I wimped out after hearing it would be slippery and rocky.  I had started an exercise program several months before the cruise to prepare for the hiking.  Unfortunately, my knees didn’t appreciate the effort, and I’d tweaked one just before the cruise.  Lou also had some restrictions on exercise, but was fine for moderate hikes.  No since whining about it, we knew we wouldn’t be able to participate in everything, and we still found plenty to do each day.

We were anchored in a beautiful cove. They always tried to lift or set anchor after folks were awake if possible – it was a noisy process. They set the kayaks out, and adventures began after breakfast (with bacon … oh so good – the chef served a thick crispy bacon that all of us meat eaters raved about. There were also plenty of vegetarian options).

Lou must have smelled the tantalizing aroma of Discoverer Bacon ...

Lou must have smelled the tantalizing aroma of Discoverer Bacon …

Kayaks out and ready to go

Kayaks out and ready to go

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Lou spotted a mountain goat up on the hill

Captain Danny demonstrates his Paddleboarding skills. He was passionate about everything, and very friendly. Captain Danny led by example - he did everything from leading skiff tours to bussing tables.

Captain Danny demonstrates his Paddleboarding skills. He was passionate about everything, and very friendly. Captain Danny led by example – he did everything from leading skiff tours to bussing tables.

It was time for our Skiff Tour at 10:30am.  We enjoyed the skiff tours on the Wilderness Discoverer – we were able to get up close to shore, and there were many opportunities for photographs – although it was sometimes difficult to get good wildlife shots when the skiff was bobbing along – even though we always stopped whenever anyone requested a photo op.

Alison hops out of the skiff to get some Rockweed - also called "Aloe Vera of the Sea."

Alison hops out of the skiff to get some Rockweed – also called “Aloe Vera of the Sea.”

We got to taste the Rockweed, and I put some of the gel on my cheek - it was soothing just like aloe vera.

We got to taste the Rockweed, and I put some of the gel on my cheek – it was soothing just like aloe vera.

I did not expect it to be so sunny and warm in Alaska!  It was a very pleasant day.

A few more photos from the sights we saw on our Skiff Tour

We went closer to Baird Glacier, and it was interesting to see how the glacial silt flowed into the water. We should have asked to go further so we could get a better view of the glacier.

We went closer to Baird Glacier, and it was interesting to see how the glacial silt flowed into the water. We should have asked to go further so we could get a better view of the glacier.

The Wilderness Discoverer resting at anchor while folks are out playing

The Wilderness Discoverer resting at anchor while folks are out playing

This photo shows the fantail of the ship - we will dock where the person is standing, step off the skiff and go up the steps to Deck 2 and store our life vests.

This photo shows the fantail of the ship – we will dock where the person is standing, step off the skiff and go up the steps to Deck 2 and store our life vests.

We were back just in time for lunch, and then it was a good opportunity to just relax – take a nap, read a book, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  There was also kayaking and paddle boarding.

Enjoying the late afternoon out on the top deck

Enjoying the late afternoon out on the top deck

The photos in the gallery below are from the Un-Cruise Photo Share site – they sent all of us a link to the photos the guides took during our cruise.

We enjoyed another good meal for dinner, and continued getting to know our fellow passengers.  Small ship cruising was turning out to be a good idea.

Not quite 9pm, and we were still waiting for the sun to go down

Not quite 9pm, and we were still waiting for the sun to go down

After 9PM, and the skies are still light.  We can see a glow on the mountain in the distance, and the moon is already rising.

After 9PM, and the skies are still light. We can see a glow on the mountain in the distance, and the moon is already rising.