Alaska is often referred to as “land of the midnight sun” and this is certainly the case in mid-summer to the far northern interior of Alaska. You don’t get to experience 24 hours of sun on an Inside Passage cruises, but you come close to it and does almost feel like it.
Even before the summer solstice, the sun is up 18 hours at most of the Alaska ports we have visited. Another three to four weeks and the sun will be up even longer. When we left San Francisco at the end of May, sunrise was at 5:52 AM, and sunset at 8:22 PM. That’s 14 and ½ hours of sun. At our furthest north in Skagway, sunrise was at 3:58 AM with sunset at 10:00 PM. It was very similar times at Haines, Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
Not only is the sun up for 18 hours but it never seems to get really dark. For at least an hour or so after sunset it is still so light outside that you can see clearly. I am not sure about the time before sunrise as I don’t go to bed that late nor have I woke up prior to that, although it is strange to wake up around five and the sun is already up. It messes with your sense of time as one is not used to these long days of sun.
Once sailing south, away from Alaska towards Nanaimo, British Columbia the sunrise/sunset hours change quickly to shorter hours of sunlight. Sunrise at 5:20, sunset at 9:30. Once we reach the Bay Area the daylight hours will be even shorter.
One thing never changes and is the same no matter the location. Every day only has 24 hours and it’s up to us to make the best of it whether on a cruise in Alaska or wherever one lives.
Until next time,