Sunday, August 19, 2012

Join me in Juneau

We had such a blast exploring the capital of beautiful Alaska. Juneau is so lush and green! This was our busiest port - by far - in terms of excursions!

When we first docked, we immediately hopped onto the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts. While I'm not scared of heights, I definitely have a fear of falling. And we had a steep, steep, STEEP climb up the mountain! This tram is a glorified ski lift - although, I did feel much safer enclosed in the tram than dangling on a ski lift! ... I digress.

We ducked into the gift shop at the top of the Mountain - aren't they so clever in their placement of these shops? Have a bunch of tourists at the top of a mountain? Put up a gift shop! To our delight, they had Diet Dr. Pepper! It had been a long 5 days for this girl without her DDP - I won't speak for my 2 cohorts here, but I think they felt the same way.

One of the main reasons to go to the top of Mt. Roberts, aside from the amazing views that we've already covered, is to meet Lady Baltimore. This bald eagle was rescued after an injury and is out for viewing for a couple of hours a day while she rehabilitates.

It's so funny, at this point in our trip, I thought this might be our only bald eagle sighting... oh, how wrong I was. They're everywhere!

Our next excursion in Juneau was the one that we were all most looking forward to - Whale Watching! Can I tell you something? I'm a worrier. That's no surprise. But I was incredibly worried that we'd go out whale watching and not see a thing - again, I was SO wrong!

You would truly be overwhelmed if I showed you all of the pictures of our whale sightings. Seriously, we saw so many killer whales. Some of them were pretty close to our boat as well. I think Marcus captured a picture with 9 killer whales in the frame all at one time!

Without a doubt, this is my favorite picture of the killer whale that I took on the excursion. I just love seeing his tail out of the water with another boat in the background!

As we continued to move through the waters, our captain shouted that he saw a water spout up ahead. It was the first sign of a humpback whale! Luckily he did it a few more times, so I was able to snap a pic!

I seriously think these whales look like slugs until the final flip of their tail. Did you know that once a humpback whale flips his tail above water he will not re-emerge for up to 15 minutes? There's your new knowledge for the day! They flip their tail above water to give them that extra oomph to go after their food.

I was so psyched to get a shot of the humpback's tail. After 3 attempts, I finally got it!

We also saw our fair share of sea lions. These guys were so funny (mean?) barking at one another and pushing each other off of the water booey!

After we left our whale watching tour, our bus driver had one more treat in store for us. She took us to an open patch of land, and we saw a few of our nation's finest military personnel standing near an ice chest. As we pulled up, they opened the cooler and started throwing fish out onto the land. Out of nowhere came a FLOCK of bald eagles! I was speechless - there were so many! These are definitely some of my favorite eagle pictures from the trip.

Next up, we were off to our first helicopter ride! We flew up to a glacier where we did a dog sled ride.

Seriously, to say that it was cold up on the glacier is like saying that gelato is a decent dessert. MASSIVE UNDERSTATMENT!

Although we were freezing, I absolutely love this picture of my family. We all look so happy! Our day in Juneau was definitely one to remember. So many new experiences!

Taking a brief interlude from Alaksa posts tomorrow, so my last Alaska post will be on Tuesday - it's all about Ketchikan!

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