August - September 2017
  • Day22

    Gastown and the Vancouver Waterfront

    September 3, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    We walked down through Chinatown and its environs where there were a lot of homeless people on the streets. Then across to Gastown, the historic centre where Vancouver was first founded. The streets here are leafy and beautiful with colourful hanging flower baskets. Two landmarks in this area are the statue of Gassy Jack and the Gastown, steam clock. Gassy Jack, a saloon keeper, was a founding father of Vancouver.

    Walking further along the waterfront, we go to Fly Over Canada - a music and video "ride" taking you across Canada from east to west. The ride swoops and dips and we feel and smell the sights and sounds of the country. Can't take photos here. We continue walking down past the convention centre and then head back up to Gastown for the clock chiming 3 pm. By 4 we are back at the hotel for check in and a good rest.

    The remainder of our time in Vancouver was spent in our hotel room when we came down with the flu.
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  • Day20

    Totem Bight, Ketchikan, AK

    September 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Totem Bight is a state historical site in Ketchikan. This site held sacred by the natives has been salvaged and reconstructed. The site has several totem poles and a clan house. Our guide tells the story of each of the poles from the Tlingit and Haida tribes who lived in the area. Each totem pole reflects the native myths and legends. The symbols are the raven, the eagle, the beaver, the bear and wolf, and the killer whale.

    The totem poles were hand carved with native implements like the adze. Paint was made from charcoal, copper deposits, iron deposits and mixed with saliva and fish roe.

    It's a beautiful, quiet setting right on the banks of the Inland Passage just a few minutes from downtown.
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  • Day20

    Ketchikan, AK

    September 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Have travelled south overnight to the port of Ketchikan for an 11am arrival. It's a much larger town based around the fishing and timber industries as well as tourism. We are the 5th ship in port today and can't dock until after 1:45pm. People who have earlier shore excursions have to use the tenders to go ashore. Ours is this afternoon, so we wait for the docking.

    The port is a hive of activity with float planes and helicopters buzzing between the cruise ships. All manner of sea craft go to and fro on this waterway. Ketchikan gets the most rainfall in Alaska. It is fine and sunny this morning.

    A large portion of the waterfront properties in Ketchikan are built on stilts over the water - there is so little land that can actually be built on as the mountains rise steeply so quickly. Property is quite expensive here in Ketchikan because of this - so little land can be built on. An interesting fact we learn is that homes cannot be accessed by cars.....they are accessed by stairs and elevated timber pathways which are called streets and avenues.
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  • Day19

    Alaska Museum, Juneau

    August 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Walking along the waterfront, we head for the state museum. It's permanent exhibits trace Alaskan history and social life. Exhibits include the First Peoples of the region; the importance of fishing and whaling to the native culture and the state's early development; Alaska's interaction with Russia and the US; then the place of Alaska in WW2 history.

    From the beginning of 1940, the US ploughed considerable resources into Alaska to defend US territory. The building of the Alaska Highway, military installations, airports and harbours were all erected swiftly along with a communications system. Alaska became a strategic part of the defence of US soil. In 1942, the Japanese invaded and took hold of Attu and Kiska, 2 of the Aleutian Islands. It wasn't until 1943, they were regained and it was from there that bombing raids were made on the Japanese Islands.
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  • Day19

    Juneau, AK

    August 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌫 11 °C

    The capital of Alaska, the permanent population is around 32,000 and grows to over 45,000 in summer. Most days it's raining.

    Our trip by jet boat to Tracy Arm Fjord and the Sawyer Glacier is cancelled en route due to adverse sea conditions. We are disappointed but better off safe. So we head for the free wifi available at the public library. Then it's off to explore the town.Read more

  • Day18

    Golf Alaska

    August 30, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We take up a shore excursion to play golf at Valley of the Eagles Golf Club in Haines. It is owned and run by Stan and Kathy. Stan is the retired town doctor, and Kathy is the retired school teacher. The course runs for 9 holes along the Chilkoot River.

    There's lots of wildlife that have access to the course and we see plenty of bald eagles but no bears. The course is really wet and we start in the rain but after 9 holes we are playing in sunshine. We have to play in overshoes or, in my case, gumboots because of the water lying around. We end up playing golf with Bob from Cape Cod and really enjoy the experience. I have a real tumble and slip on the glacial silt path. Didn't hurt at the time but it's stinging now!
    The greens are AstroTurf and overall the fairways are pretty good. The surroundings and the wildlife are magnificent. Tyler, our host, makes us hot chocolate and salmon mousse balls for a snack.

    We end up playing 18 holes and could have played all day if we wanted. It was great fun.
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