Endicott Arm Fjord and the Dawes Glacier in the Tracy Arm Wilderness
Juneau and the Mendenhall Glacier Canoe Adventure
Up at five for glacier watching. We decided to get up early and go up to Deck 14 as we moved toward the Dawes Glacier. The only issue was that it was raining. I went up to the very front of the ship for awhile, but gave up once the rained picked up. We wandered around a bit looking for the best viewing, but we finally just decided to go to our room and see what we could see from there.
I had no idea what we would be seeing today from the ship and what it would be like. Normally I research everything, but for tis trip we’ve just let it unfold as it happened. No worries. So everything has been a surprise. One great added touch this morning was Brent Nixon, the ship’s naturalist, was on the PA system and for over an hour in the morning he narrated everything we were seeing from the ship as we move toward Dawes Glacier in the Endicott Fjord.
360 views. The ship did a 360 and we were able to see the Dawes Glacier from our room. It’s pouring and we are both out on our balcony with our umbrellas.
On to Juneau. Heading away from the Dawes glacier and back out of Endicott Fjord.
Miss Amanda and Skagway. At 9:15 back in the theatre we went to hear Miss Vicky and learn everything we needed to know about about Skagway.
Rainy day in Juneau. We got into port in Juneau at about 1:30 p.m. and this time there were four gigantic cruise ships all lined up in the harbor. Today was the day of our one excursion, and we were to meet back in the theatre at 2:15. We were given a sticker, Group 26, and eventually we were called, exited the ship and got on an old school type bus to head out to Mendenhall Glacier.
Mendenhall Glacier Canoe Adventure. When we started looking at all the hundreds of excursion possibilities in the weeks before we left for the cruise, this is the one we chose. If you book ahead online, it was quite a bit cheaper. Plus we were able to pay for it with our onboard credit so it was under $100 total. Online the original price was under $200 and when I checked on board it was $209. So the advice is to book all your excursions before you get on board. The whole excursion thing is crazy though. There are some with plane rides that cost well over $1000.
What did we choose? We thought we should see the Mendenhall Glacier out of Juneau. Did we know what that meant? We had absolutely no idea. We thought about doing a sea kayak trip but the difficulty level said “Strenuous” so we decided on the Canoeing trip where we were to paddle up to the Mendenhall Glacier and the nearby waterfall. About an hour and a half of paddling.
Still raining in Juneau. Every second we were in Juneau it rained. We left in our little blue bus for the 25 or so minute ride to Mendenhall Lake and the glacier and it was raining. We passed through the downtown shops that are apparently all owned by the cruise lines and open from April to October and it was raining. We did see the Red Dog Saloon, but there was no time to stop. What was surprising was that all the way up toward the lake were houses and subdivisions. And of course more rain. We remained undaunted.
Gearing up. We got to the lake and the first thing we all had to do was sign a waiver that I think said something like “I promise that I am pretty good health and I won’s sue if I have a heart attack or fall out of the boat and drown.” The young woman who got us checked in was here in Juneau for the summer from Florida State and reminded me of Krista Foster. We had one last shot at a bathroom and then we and started gearing up. Now I really know what the phrase “gearing up” really means. We had to take off our shoes and put on the rubber boots they had for us. Then came the waterproof pants, outer coat and life jacket. It took awhile, but we were ready. There was at lease a chance that we might remain dry.The kids are ready to paddle!
Our chariot awaits.
Sexy paddle mama.
Our guide Colin giving us all the info we needed to know so we WOULDN’T DIE!
Off we go. Once you are all geared up and in that boat you realize off in the far distance you can’t even SEE the glacier. Well, I couldn’t have seen it any way because my glasses were all rained/fogged up. At any rate you realize the glacier is A LONG WAY AWAY and they only way you are going to get there is for all of us to paddle together. These are no Indian Canoes is Disneyland that run on a track that will get to the destination whether you paddle or not. We were going to have to work for this one.
Paddle your own canoe. The paddling turned out to be more taxing than I thought it would be. Mind of a 26 year old. Body of a 62 year old. I had to take a break every once in a while, but Christine never did. She’s a paddlin’ fool.
Icebergs and the tip of Mendenhall Glacier.
Colin was back there doing all the real work
Front side of water – Nugget Falls. We actually paddled right through the waterfall. We saw the front side of water this time. We sopped at the nearby beach for a snack and hot cider. Then we headed back to the beach. By the time we got back to the bus it was after 6. No time for stopping anywhere in Juneau. Met a great couple who sat in front of us in the canoe from Orange County, California who also have a daughter who went to Biola. The husband, Neil grew up in Elk Grove.
Back to the ship. We were back to the ship by 7, got cleaned up, had a cocktail and enjoyed dinner with our table mates. Great day in every way.
Tomorrow’s adventure – Skagway. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.