Alaska Cruise 2012: Skagway

(Back to Part Four…)

Our glorious day in Glacier Bay now behind us, we made our way to the first of our three ports-of-call in the Inside Passage. Say hello to Skagway!

The view that greeted us as we disembarked in Skagway.

The first part of the day was spent just wandering around town (which, given the size of Skagway, doesn’t take all that long). It was after lunch that the fun started, as our shore excursion was scheduled for the afternoon: canoeing (canoeing!) up to the face of a glacier as part of the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari.

We met up at the dock with our safari tour guide, and she led us to the two boats that would take us to Glacier Point. Fortunately, they were enclosed boats because we were (unfortunately) going to be treated to the only day of rain we would experience on the entire trip. (Hey, a week and a half in Alaska and only one day of rain? Sign me up!)

Sea lions (and this is just a small portion of what we saw in this area), as seen from our Glacier Point Wilderness Safari shore excursion boat.

Once we reached Glacier Point, we were provided box lunches before the start of the tour proper. Then it was on to the bus that would take us to the actual start of our expedition. Once we were given the required safety spiel, it was off to the canoes! Our destination: Davidson Glacier, just down the river and across the lake…

One of the canoes that we used to get an up-close-and-personal view of Davidson Glacier on the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari.

The leading edge of Davidson Glacier as seen from our canoe on the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. To give you an idea of scale, notice another one of our group’s canoes in the foreground. This (the other canoe) also gives you an idea of how close to the glacier we were.

I’m not going to lie: Canoeing in Alaska in the rain could be more pleasant. It wasn’t just the rain—it was the constant wind whipping across the water, which made keeping our ponchos on straight a continuous adventure. (I’m pretty sure the gentleman behind me would have thrown me bodily out of the canoe if my poncho whipped back into him just one more time…) But boy, was it worth it in the end… I mean, how often do you get to get this close to the face of a glacier?

Eventually, we made our way back to the ship, and it was time to make our way down to Juneau, our next port-of call.

(As a bit of an aside: We were still far enough north where it didn’t get dark dark at night; the light at night took on this deep and shadowy blue tone. Take a look below for a couple of shots from our balcony, taken late into the night somewhere along the Inside Passage between Skagway and Juneau.)

– “I just happened to look behind us and something is there.”
– “What? Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night… in… eel-infested waters…”

The view from our stateroom, the night before we reached Juneau.