Making the dream a reality
  • Day20

    Last Day

    September 18, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Well we disembarked the ship without incident, we even made it to breakfast today.

    The transfer to the airport was uneventful. But we’re 6 hours early for check in and 9 hours early for our flight. 😳

    So what are the young ones of the tour group to do???
    Lachlan & I jumped on the Skyrail and headed back into Vancouver.
    To say it’s weird on a train again is an understatement...... BUT ...... for the train to not have a driver 😳

    Once we got over that we just enjoyed the ride.

    We wander around in the sunshine through Gastown & Waterfront, we spot Roger’s Chocolates & the Steam Clock. We’re a little over walking so head back to the airport - let the waiting game begin.
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  • Day19

    Last Day Sailing

    September 17, 2019 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    What a relaxing morning, we were so slow at getting going this morning we missed breakfast. Thats ok, we seem to be eating all the time anyway.

    We’re travelling back through the inside passage on the way back to Vancouver. The weather is a bit rough out in Pacific Ocean so the captain has decided on the change of course. We’re all very appreciative, the final leg is calm.

    Tonight we’re booked into the Pinnacle Grill for our final dinner on board the Volendam.
    The chef did not disappoint, perfectly cooked steak and sickly sweet desserts.
    We talk about our adventure and how the last 3 weeks have flown.

    After dinner we waddle back to the room and begin the task of packing. Considering we said we wouldn’t buy souvenirs we seem to gave quite a bit extra - 😳

    All bags to be transferred to the airport are now out in the hall and our stateroom has all this extra space.
    Room 6171 Verandah deck has served us well.

    Cheers & nigh nigh
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  • Day18


    September 16, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    As expected it’s raining in Ketchikan, oh and a little chilly. We docked at 10am so a leisurely breakfast before we rug up and disembark.
    We’ve booked to see the Lumberjack show. So once we avoid all the puddles and rain we make it to the venue. The show is very entertaining and has us in stitches. There’s hundreds of people in the bleaches so we wait for them to disperse before we leave. Mum starts to chat to the compare and drops the name - Jack O’Toole. For those playing along at home Jack is the Australian champion woodchopper from the 60’s & his son & grandson are champions as well. Jack was Mums Mums cousin....
    Anyway all the Lumberjacks came running over to meet mum because Jack O’Toole’s relative from Australia has come to see their show.
    These men were excited, one even hugged mum he was so excited. They all wanted a photo with mum, YOHO.
    One young man was from Tamworth and was overwhelmed because there was someone from Australia with logging history talking to him.... I’d say he was a little home sick.

    We leave and head down to Creek Street, the famous houses on stilts. There’s too many tourists so we have a quick look then head to the local cafe. I’d looked the cafe up earlier and thought how appropriate and we’ll have to make time to go.
    Pioneer Cafe is significant on two counts in my eyes
    1. It’s a traditional diner and there’s not many of them left
    2. Dad worked for Ansett Pioneer so the last hoora before our trip ends.

    Lachlan can’t get over the fact that the drinks keep getting topped up and it doesn’t cost extra. Tea, coffee & soft drinks that are bottomless.... 😳
    Mum orders “Shrimp & French Fries”. Lachlan an “Alaska Burger & French Fries” & I get a cheese burger with mushrooms & a side of fries. Lachlan’s burger is nearly as big as his head and did an awesome job at eating it. The staff smile every time they walk past. I don’t think they thought he’d finish it.
    We start to wander back to the ship and surprise, surprise the heavens open up. We’d had enough of the tourist shops so the quicker we get back the better. We’re a little wet and one umbrella didn’t survive the wind so that’s been donated to the local rubbish bin.
    Back on the ship to dry out and relax. We sail this afternoon & tomorrow then disembark the day after. Enjoying every moment of this trip.

    Wonder what the poor people are doing 💙
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  • Day17

    Glacier Bay

    September 15, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Spectacular ridge lines and glaring sunshine is is all we can see this morning.
    We’re cruising slowly through the magnificent Glacier Bay. I’m out on the verandah enjoying the stunning sunshine pondering..... actually I’m just sitting back taking it all in.

    I’ve just seen a couple of killer whales breach the water just as the “First Nations people” are drumming and singing... I can’t see them just hear them in the distance. The air is crisp and the day is glorious - it’s a wonderful experience to treasure.
    Glacier Bay is breathtaking
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  • Day16


    September 14, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    What a way to start the day - breakfast in a brothel. 😳
    The famous Red Onion Saloon in Skagway put on a basic breakfast, while we had breakfast the girls did some story telling of what life was like in the 1890’s. This was followed by a tour of the establishment.
    There’s original wallpaper from 1898. The story goes that every working girl chose the wallpaper for their room, so every time a new girl started another layer of paper was added. One sample of wallpaper was really thick.... turn over was high 😉

    What makes today fabulous is the sun is out and it’s gorgeous. 🌞🌞

    After breakfast we’re on a driving tour of the town - a whole 6 blocks. We stop at the Museum then the gold rush Cemetery. A brisk walk up to Reid Falls was worth it (mind you I wasn’t saying that on the way up the track 🥴). We then drive up to the lookout - wow, it’s magnificent.

    We drive past all the colour coded churches & bars. Most people were illiterate back in the day so buildings were colour coded to help guide residence & visitors.

    We then decide to stay in town so we can walk around in the gloriously sunshine & take some touristy photos. The buildings are maintained and look awesome and there’s a snow blowing train that is still capable of working. Lots of shops and you have to work out which ones aren’t owned by the cruise ships, we prefer to support the locals directly.

    We track down the Westmark Inn, this was called the Klondike Hotel - where dad stayed in ‘77. A complete refurbishment happened 4 years ago so apart from the facade everything has changed.

    There’s no chemist, no hospital & no doctor- basically the locals don’t get sick otherwise it’s a long and exorbitant costing trip to get help. Newspapers are flown in and arrive in the afternoon.

    We’ve visited all the cross itinerary places now. 💖

    Back on the boat for a late lunch and an arvo nap 😴
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  • Day15

    Salmon Bake & Red Dog Saloon

    September 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    What an outstanding option to pick, driving to Salmon Bake in an old yellow school bus and seeing more of Juneau. This is one thing that has been added to the bucket list and ticked off all in one go.

    We arrive at our destination and you would think we were in the Deep South. BBQ cracklings away, running river beside the dining area that was all under marquees. Heaters and party lights plus a guitarist (Scott Ibex was playing the blues).

    It’s all you can eat starting with Clam chowder, then BBQ Salmon with all the sides. Corn bread, scallop potatoes, beans, wild rice & salads. And for those not consuming salmon there was chicken. Coffee, tea & homemade lemonade. Plus the bar had local beers. It was an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad we went.
    Relaxing listening to great music and just having fun, and just like anything it came to an end but on our way out in the bus we spotted a double rainbow 🌈 🌈
    Wow, just wow - hope this converts to a Tatts win 😁
    The driver then talked about the Red Dog Saloon, we hadn’t gone in earlier but when he mentioned that Wyatt Earp’s guns were on display we made sure we headed on in.

    How do you describe this joint:
    Sawdust on the floor,
    flags, money stapled to the ceiling..
    Mounted bears, Moose heads....
    Life preservers...
    There’s stuff everywhere....
    Guns in glass cabinets.
    People have signed anything & everything.
    And of course a country singer with a guitar. Plus the barmaids impromptu singing.
    So who are we not to sit and have a beer (root beer for Lachlan)

    Photos will never do it justice.

    What an amazing evening. Thanks for the laughs & memories Lachlan & mum 🥰
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  • Day15

    North to Akaska

    September 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    The internet is very hit and miss so we can only cross our fingers that the posts update properly.

    It’s very quiet onboard, I’m told there’s only 1,300 people aboard, capacity for the ship is 1,432. It’s a small cruise ship compared to the others.

    We’re due to dock in Juneau early this afternoon. We’ll take a wander around then we’re booked in for the Salmon Bake @ 5pm. All you can eat Salmon, Lachlan’s very excited.

    But before all the lovely Salmon we listen to the cruise director talk about Skagway History - Dreamers, Schemers & Stampeders. Facinating history this little state has. I love they way they refer to the other US states as “the lower 48”.

    We’ve had a light lunch and decide to disembark the Ship....WOW, it’s raining bears & moose’s- we wait 20 minutes and it’s clear enough to venture out. Mums all dressed up like red riding hood.
    It’s worse than Melbourne - almost terrestrial rain then it stops for 5 minutes then down it comes again with gusty winds too boot.....
    We do a little souvenir shopping then decide this is crazy & head back to the ship.
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  • Day14

    First day at Sea

    September 12, 2019 ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    What a relaxing day. Easy breakfast followed by a kitchen tour. It’s not an individual tour, the ship has it as a standard option. Yet another amazing facility.

    Next we listen to a talk about Akaska’s Bush Pilots, these people are crazy. They have a competition each year to see which pilot can take off and land in the shortest distance. The record holder has a distance of 11 metres for take off and 9.8metres for a landing.... this was referred to as a stall & drop 😳

    Time for coffee. Now which deck is that cafe on???

    Gala dinner this evening - oh what to wear.
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  • Day13

    Bye bye Victoria

    September 11, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Up early as bag pull is 6:30. Down for breakfast & before we know it we’re on the coach heading for the Ferry. Mainland Vancouver here we come. The Ferry ride is relaxing and fairly uneventful. Then the mad dash back to the coach to disembark the Ferry. Our Driver Heather weaves through the traffic to get us to the Cruise liner - she’s ace.

    Then the whole boarding process starts. First scan point we’re left standing waiting for our luggage to come through - long story short mums souvenir set off the scanners. Before we knew it all the security personnel that initially wanted to arrest mum were now having photos taken with her. What a turn of events. That check pointy
    down we move to the next one.
    It’s long and arduous- we find out much later on that the US Customs system went down while two cruise liners full of people are trying to board. Needless to say there are some very cranky people. And if they aren’t cranky they had sore feet.

    We make it to our room, it’s not quite ready but we do our best to settle in. Once we unpack cases and put things away it’s more liveable.

    Dinner is booked for 5:30 each night, it’s s little early but I’m sure we’ll get used to it.

    I’d organised flowers & baileys for mum - at least the room smells fabulous & we have a night cap 🍹
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  • Day12

    Butchart Gardens

    September 10, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Wow, just wow. Butchart Gardens is beautiful, amazing - I’m just speechless.

    There’s a working carousel and just the most magnificent gardens.