Friday, August 08, 2014

Cruising Home

 Cruising Alaska certainly didn't satiate my appetite for the Last Frontier.  If anything, it convinced me that I need to go back, travel inland, and stay a while.  If there were ever a reason to visit Alaska via cruise ship, however, this it:

Hubbard Glacier.
This amazing "Galloping Glacier" moves faster than nearly any other on the continent, racing toward the ocean where it sheets off in incredible sheer cliffs.  I can't imagine how you could ever experience a glacier like this except from a boat.

Here you can see the enormous splash as a huge chuck plunges into the water.  What's crazy is that you can see the ice break long before you hear the thunderous boom echo through the mountains.
Beautiful, but brrr!
This lone seal doesn't seem to mind the cold.

As usual, Adam proved the better nature photographer.  Thanks, bro! Most of the previous glacier shots are his.
Brooklyn was a good sport about getting up early to see the glacier.

Eli seemed a little less convinced, but humored us since he got to wear his new Alaskan moose hat.

Katelyn helped us with Annika.

Callie and I perched ourselves right up front behind the glass shield.  Definitely warmer there!

As usual, we had great views of the mountain bases--not so much luck with their tops.

Farewell, Hubbard Glacier!  Don't gallop into the sea too quickly--I'd love to see you again some day.
In the meantime, Eli's anxious to get inside and warm up.
 Back inside the ship, we spent our last day at sea rocking and rolling due to some majorly choppy waves that certainly had my tummy rumbling.  Jason and Eli suffered the most, but we won't go into those unpleasant details.  Even so, there were still some highlights to the day, such as the Kids Talent Show, held in the Cosmos lounge. 
Here's Talia telling a joke about what happened to the little girl who went into the kitchen and never came out.  (In case you didn't know, the refriger-ate-'er.)
Other Wheeler family talents: Brooklyn passed out with fright in a monster skit, she and Talia sang "Colors of the Wind" from Pocohontas, and Eli sang "I am a Child of God."  Very sweet.  :)  Eli's counselor at the Fun Factory gushed about his tender song; hopefully the happy feelings made up for the seasick mess he left behind an hour later...

Before we knew it, we'd reached our final destination--Seward, Alaska.  We had a lot of time to kill before catching our evening train back to Anchorage, so we caught a free shuttle into town.  As you can see, it was a bit of a squeeze.
Kathryn, Jeaneatee, Katelyn, Brooklyn, Eli and Talia all crammed into a single bus seat.  It's a good thing they've got tiny bottoms!
Callie and Bump seem glad to have a bit more space.
Long live the Selfies (Oxford's 2013 word of the year.)
At last we made it to the Alaska SeaLife Center.  With so many amazing animals to see, the kids naturally wanted to spend all their time navigating the toy boat. 

Jason counts as a kid, of course.

The sea lions were my favorite.  This steller teen was big, but not nearly as large as the other male Woody, who tops the scales at over 2100 pounds.

Eli and Alesia come face to face with the wildlife.
Annika and Talia were certainly intrigued.
Oh, there is such joy in discovery!
Outside it was a pretty overcast day so we didn't see much of Mount Marathon.  (Cool name, though.)

Sisters: Alison and Cathy Ann.
At long last, it was time to catch the scenic Alaska Railroad to Anchorage. 

We reserved a dome car, so the kids were really excited.
Eli and Talia, onboard and ready to go.
Unfortunately the train ride has a less-happy ending.  We never actually got to travel anywhere--the tracks were close to washing out farther down the line due to all the rain.  Explaining the situation to train-lovin' Eli was heartbreaking, but he was a good sport and enjoyed our motorcoach ride to Anchorage.

So there you have it--Alaska 2014.  Full of unexpected twists and turns, but that's all part of the adventure.  It was lovely to be there, and lovely to have everyone safely back home once more.  Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this vacation possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

More nice photos to job my memory. It was interesting to me that the large calving glacier pieces sounded much like thunder. I expected large splash sounds -- not thunder.