Juneau, Alaska

Day Three

No pics from arriving in Juneau because we already in port by the time we woke up.  Again - that is the problem of having that inside cabin.  You just wake up, SSS and go out to see where you are.  In this case, Juneau, Alaska.

We had a whale watching excursion planned for Juneau.  Again, we learned that as cruise rookies - we were in for surprises.  In this case - the whale watching was not in Juneau but in a suburb called Auke Bay.  Auke Bay is at the north end of the Gastineau Channel which runs between the mainland, which is where Juneau and Auke Bay are located - and Douglas Island.  Gastineau Channel runs dry mid way between Juneau and Auke Bay so there is no connection between the two cities.  BTW - the University of Alaska has a campus at Auke Bay.

No connection between the cities is misleading - by boat you would need to go back south on Gastineau Channel from Juneau, out into the Stevens Passage and north around Douglas Island to reach Auke Bay.

In any event - We went to Auke Bay by bus.

We arrived at the docks and found very nice modern aluminum boats designed to take passengers to watch whales in the bay.  The fence in the picture is actually on the dock which was large enough for the buses to drive onto to off load the passengers.  Top notch facility.



We pulled away and began watching carefully out the windows for whales.  Up here we were getting into more dramatic surroundings.  The mountain range in the background is the mainland on a peninsula west of Lynn Canal.  The peaks are about 7500-ft elevation and stay snow covered.



The tour operator advertised money-back guarantee to see whales so I did expect to see the whales.  I did not expect to see them so quickly.  We barely made it across the bay when out of the water slides the back of a Humpback Whale.



As soon as we saw him he slipped away under the water.



And then in just a few minutes he was back again.



The best part of whale watching is when they sound to go down and feed.  They make two or three passes on the top of the water and then they slide deep showing the flukes of their tails as they go below.



The whales were everywhere.  We may have seen six different whales.



We were watching a whale off in the distance when Susanne yelled "Whale right next to the boat".  And the whale was right next to the boat!  We watched this guy for several minutes till he sounded and went on his way.



The Captain of the whale watching boat also cruised us along  the northern tip of Admiralty Island.  We saw this eagle relaxing on the tide-washed spit of land looking for lunch.  The eagles were everywhere.



Captain cruised us up to the north end of Little Island which is a tidal spit of land north of Ralston Island which itself is north of Ralston Island.  I think you get my drift - there are islands everywhere through out the Inside Passage.

A group of baby Sea Lions were sunning themselves at the tip of the island.



As we turned back south to return to Auke Bay we saw this most excellent glacier.  This one is called the Herbert Glacier.

The camera had a hard time picking up the deep blue from glacial ice.  It was striking to the naked eye.



As we worked our way back to the dock we noticed this State of Alaska Ferry.



Back in Juneau we were on the ship ready to leave for our next destination - the Sawyer Glacier on the Tracy Arm.



Before we left we had another Norwegian Cruise Line ship pull into port.  This is the Norwegian Star.  You can see our wake as we pulled away to our next adventure.



On to our Tracy Arm adventure