After three nights and two full days at sea we are just now this morning sailing through the many islands of the Alaska Inside Passage towards our first port-of-call, Juneau. Our arrival time is 1:00 PM and will remain in Juneau until 9:30 this evening.
As we left the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, with its’ 8+ foot swells and entered Chatham Strait there was a distinct difference in the wave height. The ‘rock and roll’ motion that many passengers do not really appreciate, especially first time cruisers, has ceased. A few hours later the ship has now altered course and is sailing the Frederick Sound where the water is as smooth as glass. As the morning moves towards noon the Sea Princess will head up Stephens Passage, sailing further into the Inside Passage and finally into the Gastineau Channel and arrive at Juneau.
The only signs of life encountered so far as we approach Juneau has been several small fishing vessels plying their trade is the chilly waters.
The scenery is stunning. Paralell to the ships course are steep rugged mountains with white peaks of snow and an occasional wall glacier. Trees cascade right to the waters edge from high on the mountain sides. In Alaska there are only three species of trees, the Alaska Spruce, the Alder tree, and the Hemlock. It is easy to tell the difference between the Spruce and the Hemlock. Spruce stands tall, branches and peak straight. Hemlock has drooping branches and the peak slightly curved. This lesson is courtesy of the onboard naturalist.
As we continue towards todays’ destination, the narrower the passage becomes with literally hundreds of small islands and the shoreline of the majestic mountains closing in on us. The natural beauty all around us is amazing. Sitting here in our balcony stateroom watching for whales as the scenery glides by can not be put into words to properly describe what is seen or convey the feeling of the moment.
I will leave you today with words my just spoke as she is viewing the constantly changing picture in front of her, “It’s so beautiful.”
Until tomorrow, Bon Voyage
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