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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We left Seattle at 4 PM on Sunday
We are in Skagway - Alaska right now - Wednesday 7 PM EDT. I have typed the following while we were on our ship - posting it now. It is 70s and sunny here right now - just beautiful. High mountains raising from sea level - some 14,000 feet and permanently snow covered. Here is the story so far -

Seattle became a small image in your rearview mirror as we sped north and west at 25mph - destination Juneau - Alaska’s capital city. I remember when Alaska became our 49th state in 1959. I was 11 years old and in 5th grade. At the time - Juneau only had 10,000 people - the same as my hometown - Tamaqua. Since 1912 - the USA flag has 48 stars - 6 rows of 8 stars in the field. Even though Hawaii also became a state in 1959 - it was after the 4th of July. The rule states that you change the flag design only of the 4th of July. So for one year only - our flag has 49 stars - 7 rows of 7 stars each. On July 4th 1960 - they added the 50th star - the flag we have used the 55 years since.

It is about 1000 miles to Juneau from Seattle. Cruising at around 25 mph - it means it will be 40 hours of cruising before we put in at the capital city at 2 PM.

The seas have been foggy and calm. After passing Victoria Island - it has been open sea. Along Victoria Island we could still receive cellphone coverage - but it was Canadian - which means a high price on our AT&T phones. Keith called on Mother’s Day from Quebec and it cost about $1 a minute.

Our balcony suite is sweet. It is nice having an 8 foot wide sliding glass door and our own porch. We slept last night with the curtains wide open - watching the sea all the way. We did not see any lights from other ships or the shore. Nothing out there but the cold blue Pacific. Since this giant ocean swirls in a clockwise direction - all the cold water from Alaska sloshes down along the west coast of the USA. On the east coast of the USA - the gyre swirls clockwise bring warm water up from the equator and the Caribbean.

We sat through a presentation of shore excursions - we saw the opening night show - then went to bed.

This morning we went up to the top deck and hopped into a hot tub. We had the place to ourselves. I am guessing the temperature was in the 50s - add the 25 mph wind of the ship moving - it made for a cold scene. But once we were in the 100 degree hot tub - it was fine. You are also trapped because when you get out - that wind is going to suck all the heat out of your wet body.  Add the wind throwing our towels into the water a few times did not help.

We can buy Internet service - but it is very slow - and costs $1 a minute. I decided to type my report on a text editor - I will send it to my web page and FaceTime when we hit the port.

We have about 20 TV channels - mostly things like BBC World - Fox News - the ship map - and sales shows.

There are a lot of Asians on the trip. Also a lot of old folks - plenty of wheel chairs and oxygen tanks. Americas tend to be much heavier that the rest of the world.

Norwegian Pearl was built in Germany in 2006. It officially flies the flag of Nassau - Bahamas - where it spends its winters. The pool is outdoors and cannot be closed in. I doubt that it will be used this trip.

We have a bowling alley - a rock climbing wall - and a basketball court. Most of the deck loungers are stacked up in storage.

There are about 20 venues for eating. Most of them are included in admission - but a few are upgrades. There are tons of bars for alcohol - they have drinking packages and some tourist are determined to get their moneys worth. Tea - iced tea - coffee - fruit drinks - are part of the package. Coke is not. One of the hardest temptations for me is the ice cream. There is soft swirl and hand dipped cones of about 12 flavors - plus toppings. It is way too easy to grab a cone passing by.

Monday night we enjoyed a Broadway production - impersonators doing Elton John - Madonna - Tina Turner. Rock and roll revival and dance show.

Tuesday morning we woke up to snow covered Alaska Mountains. We pull into Juneau at 2 PM.

In Juneau - we went right to the Mendenhall Glacier about 10 miles north of downtown. We walked to the glacier and falls. Round trip bus for $42 total for 2.

Next we went downtown to see the Capitol and the Governors Mansion.

Finally - we went shopping a little and went back to our ship - tired.

Today we are in Skagway. This was the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Skagway is on the northern end of the world’s second largest fjord. The port stays unfrozen all year. Today we are experiencing beautiful weather - 70s - bright sunny. We took a 2 hours street car tour - and now are at the Skagway Library - the only free public internet we could find.

The baseball and football stadiums at Seattle had their roofs open

We cruised 1000 miles at 25 MPH. We coudl follow along on my GPS.

Lulu on board our ship
Juneau Harbor on Monday

Mendenhall Glacier 10 miles form Juneau

Blue ice berg at Mendenhall LAke

Glaciers moves less than one foot a day - this one is receding

Juneau Capitol being renovated.  Became state in 1959.

Skagway Brothels were very small and very many

This snow blower would clear 12 foot drifts off the track up until 1982.

Skagway tour buses were restored 1928 buses on original chassis. Would make great camper.

The train goes north to White Pass. Skagway was the gateway of the Klondike Gold Rush.

The bus driver/tour guides were dressed at Brothel workers. They gave very entertaining 2 hour tours.

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