Humpbacks, Grizzly’s, Glaciers and Shit

Cruise through Alaska on the Coral Princess. Ketchikan, Juneau & Skagway. Cultural Treasures of Annette Island tour. An indigenous island, home to the Metlakatla Indian Community of Tsimshian people who followed their pastor here in 1887 from British Columbia where they were being denied their culture. Eerily quiet island. First thing you see when you arrive at the island is a casino which was a surprise. It is the only casino in all of Alaska because they are illegal for everyone except the Native Indians. Strange law. We saw three humpback whales fluking at the same time on the way to the island. Wish I had my camera ready. Thought we would see better on the whale watching tour we were due to do the next day but that turned out to be wrong. They performed a cultural dance for us. Their race seems like a mix between Maori and Hawaiian. Although not as cultured as the Maori’s. Similar colouring though with the red and black art. The tides in Alaska shift 20 feet twice daily. Ketchikan is the rain capital of Alaska. It rained the whole day we were there. An average 153 inches per year. The Tongass National Forest is the largest rainforest in America. Seals fight for space on a buoy. In Alaska they pronounce buoy as “boo-ee” which I thought was weird. Intense rainbow settles over a passing boat. Rare to have sun in Ketchikan which means rainbows are rare. Tiny tug boat pulling a huge container ship. The clouds hang low over the quaint goldmining town of Skagway. White Pass and Yukon Railroad a famous railway track from the gold mining days. Red Onion Saloon was a well known brothel and today serves as a restaurant, bar and brothel museum. Don’t go there for the food. A shopfront made entirely from driftwood. Skagway Rock Concert. Turnip Truck. Reindeer curtains. Making fudge. So much to photograph. Ferry journey to Haines. Flock of birds. Going on a bear hunt. Oh the bears. Unbelievable experience seeing them so close. A Brown Mama bear and her two cubs effortlessly catching salmon at the salmon weir. The largest of the grizzly bears as they feed on salmon whereas the in-land ones are smaller. Extremely dangerous and extremely beautiful. A dizzying combination. Doesn’t stop me wanting to hug one. A bald eagle perches atop a tree. Hard to get a good photo of them because they are so small and too far away. All you see is the white dots of their heads in the distance breaking up the monotonous green of the pines. Waking up to glaciers. More awe inspiring than I ever could have imagined. The colours were deep, intense, surreal and infinite. You hear a crack like you would during a thunderstorm and it tells you the glacier is breaking. Never seen anything like it. Put Alaska on your bucket list and pack a rainjacket.



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