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Just got back from my first cruise to Alaska aboard Holland America's Statendam, and thought I’d share some photos and highlights of our trip. Alaska’s been on my Bucket List for a long time, and a couple of the shore excursions we took were amazing! I went with my mom, who, at 80 years old, is still pretty spry and loves the outdoors.
Above is my favorite photo from our first excursion, in Ketchikan. We were lucky and saw a mother bear and two cubs. The mother bear sent the cubs up a tree to wait for her, while she went fishing for salmon in a river nearby.
The cubs were so cute! One climbed up the tree, almost immediately dangled itself from a branch, and went to sleep! The other took a while to find its perfect spot, but eventually perched itself as well.
Next, in Juneau, we started out the day taking a helicopter ride to a dog-sledding camp on a glacier. The helicopter ride was beautiful, then we landed at this camp where 180 dogs and their 10 trainers live.
They took us on a 2-mile trail around the camp, we got to take turns being drivers and riders. Initially, my Mom said she only wanted to ride, not drive, but the trainer talked her into giving it a try. She did great. It was really fun zipping across the snow.
In the afternoon that same day we took a whale watching excursion to a bay where humpback whales live this time of year. Again, we got really lucky. We spotted a group of whales doing what they call "bubble feeding." It's a cooperative behavior where they encircle a bunch of herring, then they all surface at the same time, with their huge mouths open, and feed on the herring.
The captain said he counted 16 whales in the group — the most he said they had ever seen. Then, some of the whales started breeching, which is a behavior they say they do not see frequently in this area. It made me crazy with the camera. We never knew where they would pop up, and it was so fast, they would be up, down, and all I would catch would be the splash. But, I got better, and finally caught a couple.
Then, the next day, was Glacier Bay. Again, we got lucky. The weather was beautiful, clear and warm, very unusual. We had beautiful views of the glaciers. The ship spent most of the day just cruising around the bay.
A day later we got off the ship in Seward and headed inland to Denali National Park for a couple of days. While there, we're did a "flight-seeing" tour of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, by turboprop. Mom and I both loved it.
Hope you enjoy seeing photos of my Alaska adventure!