mothers day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

North to Alaska - Thursday, Friday and Saturday

I've mentioned the cooler temps on this cruise compared to the other two cruises we have taken. It was not cold but it wasn't warm either. This is a picture Ed got of me on Thursday afternoon before we arrived in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The ship docked at 4 pm and left at ten that night. So about 1 or 2 in the afternoon we decided to sit and relax and enjoy the sun a little bit.
No swim suits here, thank you - socks, shoes, long pants, and coat all helped to make it a cozy sunning session! It was probably in the low sixties but when you are on a moving ship that is making about 20 plus knots the wind chill cools things down. Of course, Ed was in his shirt sleeves!! I don't have a sweater on under that coat so I wasn't tooo bundled!! We stopped in and saw the doctor one more time to get enough antibiotics to last until he could get back to our doctor at HAFB. We explained to the doctor that we wouldn't have access to Dr Anderson for another ten days at least as we were headed to Boise the week after we got home. So at $15 per pill we got ten more pills to make sure Ed wasn't gonna get sick again. Actually that was the only time the costs were high - everything else they did for us was a quite reasonable charge - everything on those cruise ships are so expensive and we were quite impressed with the medical care Ed got.

Prince Rupert was another small town on the edge of the continent between the mountains and the sea. As you can see, it was a colorful little town. It only gets 94 inches of rain annually so they weren't surprised at the sunshine, although it does hold the title of the rainiest citgy in Canada! We saw this canoe nestled up next to a dock when we were unloading and thought it was fun. 25% of the population are indigenous peoples, but the majority of the inhabitants are of British descent. We had to show our passports to exit the ship today as we were no longer in the United States. But they didn't stamp them for us!! :-(



We watched the ship dock (one of the few times we docked when we were awake !!) and I thought I wouldn't want to be one of those men standing on the dock as this huge behemouth got closer and closer to that flimsy little dock!! But the captain sidled right up to it, maybe 2 feet away and stopped !! What control!







We didn't have any outings or tours planned for this day and we had been running poor dad nonstop for days so he opted to stay onboard while Ed and I headed into town.

When we got off the ship I had Ed take this picture of our staterooms. The four square windows above the star was our deck. Dad was in the one on the far right and we were right next to him (3rd from the left). Just to the right of Dads room you can see a 'door' - when the tides were right we were able to exit and enter at that door.
This picture was taken from the ship as we were docking. We got off the ship and walked up the sidewalk (where the long line of cars are) and around the corner and down the whole grassy area looking for the shopping district.

This Canadian Mountie was there to welcome us all as we got off the ship and so Ed got a picture of me. He was very friendly and greeted us warmly with a very British accent!
Just past the grassy area they had some lovely flower gardens - we really didn't know where we were going but decided to just follow the people. We didn't find any cutesy tourist traps in downtown Prince Rupert but after about 1/2 mile we did find a grocery store!!! HOW FUN!! We went in and compared prices to our stores and the items on sale were about what our prices are normally ($3.33 for a 12 pack of pepsi) Milk was four something a gallon and we bought me a pint container of orange juice for my nightly medicine that I had been gagging down with water that cost us $1.49 and we bought some herb pills that the doctor suggested Ed take to help his body not suffer with another episode of prostate infection. When we priced the same stuff here in America it was about $3 cheaper. So the prices weren't to bad for being in the middle of nowhere. The people in Prince Rupert aren't totally dependant on shipping by sea or air to get their supplies like the people in Ketchikan were. There is a major Canadian highway that links to Prince Rupert. We asked where the tourist stores were and she had to think... she said at Cow Bay and told us how to get there. I had also heard there was a farmer's market in town that day and she told us how to get there too. She was really helpful. So we walked several more blocks up and over and found the farmers' market only it was mainly homemade jewelry that was really quite expensive. They hold this on Thursday's when the cruise ship comes to town!

So we headed back over to Cow's bay which was near where we disembarked in the beginning and sure enough there were several fun little stores that we wandered through but I didn't see anything I wanted to buy. There were several English pubs up and around the corner but we didn't stop at them.

This telephone booth is soooooo English. Around the corner there was a plain old American Telephone booth but it was so boring. This one has class!

Across the street from one of the pubs was a huge pine tree with two eagles just sitting there way up high. Ed got some great pictures of them. I think its funny - we went all the way to Alaska to see eagles and don't see a one until we get to Canada!!

We got back to the ship by 6pm and picked up dad and headed for dinner. Ed and I went out to the Star crew show at 10:00 - and then we went to the big fantastic chocoholic buffet afterwards. They held the chocaholic buffet at the Versailles Restaurant and they had gorgeous ice sculptures and fantastic chocolate sculptures. I googled this picture as we didn't think to take a camera to the buffet!! It was a feast and I was amazed at how many people heaped chocolate cakes on top of chocolate pies on top of chocolate ice cream on top of chocolate bon bons and ate it ALL!! The Japanese were the most amazing. Here are these little short skinny people and if I ate like that I would be 400 pounds!! They even took all the sugar free treats!! The very best stuff was the chocolate fountain with all the nummy dippers.

Friday was an at sea day as we traveled back down through the inside passage to Seattle. We sent Ed to the meeting on disembarkation in Seattle - and then we all three went to a really interesting digital slide show on the 'behind the scenes of the norwegian star'. It was held in the Spinnaker lounge which was one of our favorite spots on the ship. We would sneak in there all week long when they didn't ruin it with bingo games and sit in the comfy seats with a view off the front of the ship on the 12th deck - it was a great place to watch where we were sailing (plus a lot warmer than out on deck in the rainy weather.)

That evening after dinner we went to the Cirque Pacific with acrobates and some beautiful dancers. After the show we headed back to our staterooms to pack. Since we were hauling our own luggage off as soon as we docked the next morning we didn't set anything out for them to haul for us. We had a flight to catch at 11:10 Saturday morning back home. It was kind of sad to leave the ship and the excitement of the week behind. It seemed like we had to hike a full mile to get off the ship and through customs and outside and over where the cabs were.

We got back to the airport and again - walked and stood forever until we finally got checked in and checked out and up to the gate.

Shortly after the plane took off the captain announced that he had received permission to do a fly by Mt Rainier as it was a sunny day and clear...but of course that was on the opposite side of the plane and so we didn't get to see if. Five minutes later though I saw another beautiful mountain out of our side of the plane and so I took a picture of it.
I don't know what mtn this is but I snapped it through my little window out of the plane - and I was tickled at how clear it turned out. When we landed in Utah the heat hit us hard - after a week of high 50's it was in the mid 90's at the airport in Salt Lake. Welcome HOME!!

Ed and I were home for 24 hours - long enough to load the trailer and go to church and hit the road again. After a wonderful week in Boise we were glad to get back home though. Ed says he is out of vacation days until our trip to Arizona in January so I guess I'm home to stay for a while!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

North to Alaska - Wednesday

Our day in Skagway has been a hard one to blog about because of ALL the pictures (!!) that are showing the same gorgeous mtns and forests and waterfalls that I've already shown you - but yet they are different in their own way too. So finally I made myself sit down today and pull it all together!

We got into Skagway about 7 am again today but at least we're staying till five pm so that should give us plenty of time to go on our tours and do some shopping. We signed up for a combination gold panning tour and a trip on the White Pass Express - going up the mountain out of Skagway, following the trail that the gold diggers followed in 1898. It is a fascinating bit of history and gorgeous too. Skagway consisted of tents and shacks and was full of adventurers in that day. That is where they bought their supplies and the town catered to hundreds of gold miners. Now adays it caters to hundreds of cruise line passengers. Our tour guide told us there are three types of mosquitoes in Skagway - the no-see-ums, the normal sized bugs that we see in the lower 48 and then the huge buggers that are only found in Alaska. She says they love having a wind because that keeps the skeeters down.

This is Skagway - a small town at the edge of nowhere - the nearest Wal-Mart is 116 miles through those mountains - and yes they keep it open year round!! There are four churches in town, a white one, a brown one, a green one and a yellow one. One of them IS an LDS church!! As I was getting my gold assayed after we had panned it out there was a young man walking through the store in 1800's dress playing a harmonica. And he was playing "Come Come YE Saints!!" Startled, I looked up as he wandered into the other part of the store and said to the assayer "I know that song". He chuckled and said "so do I, but I can't remember the words." So I sang it to him and asked him if HE was LDS. And he said no, but the harmonica player is and several of the clerks in the store were and the owner was!!! I said I was surprised to find so many Mormon's way up in this little corner of the world. That's when he told me about the four different colored churches and how people identified each other by the color of their building. (As in: I belong to the Green church!)

They explained to us how the goldminers would pan for gold. That the nuggets of the California
Gold Rush were unknown in the Alaskan Gold Rush because of the glaciers that had ground everything into small bits. They gave us each a tin pan with small little rocks and sand and sent us over to the gold panning area - we were really spoiled because #1 we didn't have to stand out in the middle of the icey cold stream and #2 the water was HEATED!! Nice. We softly shook the pan back and forth letting the water wash away the top level of sand . The gold is heavier than the sand and rocks so if you keep the pan tilted so the gold can settle at the edge of the bottom of the pan, the water washes away the sand a little at a time until all you have left is the gold.

It was such a thrill when we had 'washed' our sand for several minutes and finally got a glimpse of GOLD!!! We actually panned for an got gold! Between Ed and I our gold assayed out at about $31 - which is more than usual. The assayer told us that most everyone ends up with about $11 or $12 worth each. I think Ed's pan had more than usual - his gold pieces were larger than mine. But we combined our poke and had them put into a gold bezel necklace that Ed bought for me.

This video clip shows Grandpa at the Salmon Bake at Juneau where they had some pans and sand for us to try. We had heard how to do it on our bus trip that day and so dad gave it a try. He has about twice as much sand and used twice as much water as they gave us the next day and he didn't find anything but it gives you the idea of how to pan for gold. Now that we are 'experts' we would dump out half the dirt and use just enough water in the pan to let it carry away the top layer of sand and dirt. But at least you get the idea!
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We got to tour the old gold dredging equipment and tent town they had showing the life of a miner. This gold dredger was still in operation in the 1960's. Each of those buckets weighed over 800 pounds!! The dredger floated on the river and these buckets pulled up the sand from the river and the dirt and rock were all sifted off leaving the gold behind. These old dredger ruined alot of gorgeous rivers in their day and also the hearing of all the men that worked in them. They were loud and dirty and noisy and a real menace to the beauty of Alaska. I am glad they are outlawed now!

After we toured the Klondike Gold Dredge gold mining then we got back on the bus and headed for the railway. We got there just in time to climb aboard. Our bus full of people traveled together in the same railcar with big windows so we had a good view of the wonderful mountainyside.


The White Pass Railroad only runs from about April through September, when the ships are cruising. The one picture from downtown skagway that DID NOT turn out (and I wish it had) was a beautiful little white gazebo in the middle of the town park with a white porceline toilet sitting right in the middle!! I laughed and questioned our guide and she seriously explained
that was a public toilet - used nowaday!!

Truly amazing!






I put this picture in so that you could see the road to Wal Mart (I don't know what its real name is!). It is in the center of the picture. On the left side half way down the mtn you can see the lower part of the rail tracks that we had traveled on our way up the mtn. And last but not least, you can see the waterfall that reaches from the snowfields on the top of the mtn down to the road, and then gets bigger in several spots where it becomes the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls.



This picture shows the deepness of the fiord looking from halfway up the mountain down through the valley back almost to the bay. You can also see the train snaking out behind. Ed spent most of the trip up to White Pass outside of the train car on the apron. I went out several times too and it made for a breathtaking view!






Here our train is headed around a curve and across the trestle bridge and into a tunnel. I took a picture when we were in the tunnel. When I got home and was looking at my pictures I couldn't figure out why I had a black picture in with all my good ones. Until I remembered "that is what I saw in the middle of the tunnel!"







You need to click on this picture because the brown spot in the middle of the picture is a BEAR!! It was the only bear I saw on our whole trip (Ed saw others but he spent alot more time out on deck of the ship as we cruised past miles and miles of open forest. I was the first one to see it but was so excited I forgot to take a picture. Your dad took this picture.











This is a picture of the train heading up (or down) the pass - this is a fiord carved by glaciers in ancient times -









Here you can see all the way down the fiord to the bay where the ships are at anchor (there are two little dots at the edge of the water - the Norwegian Dawn and the Norwegian Star!)










Can you see the mountain goat? We saw several across the canyon going up and coming back down from White Pass (It is the white dot just right of the center of the picture - he isstanding on the rock - the white spot in the middle of the green is another rock not a goat)








This is the actual trail taken by thousands upon thousands of men in 1898 heading out of Skagway to the Yukon. The sign says 'trail of 98" and before the railroad was built several years later the gold seekers hiked the 20 miles up the mtn on foot and with donkeys loaded to the hilt with supplies. The Canadian Government would not allow the goldseekers entrance into Canada without the required 2000 pounds of food, supplies, tents, etc., because they knew what a frozen wasteland they were headed to. Alot of the men had to hike the 20 miles up and back maybe ten times to get all of the stuff they needed
before they were allowed into the Yukon. They said that the trail was so heavily traveled that if a man stepped off the trail (to rest or readjust the materials on his pack mule or horse) it could take upwards of a half a day to find a spot open enough to step back onto the trail!! Talk about Gridlock!!




This is an old trestle bridge built to take the
White Pass train from Alaska into the Yukon. We didn't take the tgrain all the way to the Yukon, although looking at old maps White Pass was once the edge of British Columbia and the Yukon. Now it is another 60 miles before you are out of British Columbia. As I saw this bridge in the distance I thought - oh no! Are we going over that. It was a relief to see that it wasn't usable today







This is the summit - White Pass Railroad, You can see the flags of the USA, Alaska, British Columbia, Canada and I believe the White Pass Railway.













This picture is a little bit sideways - your dad took it looking back at the train on the top of the Pass. The river leads into a small lake at the top of the pass. After chugging uphill for miles it was interesting to see how the land leveled off for miles on the top.









This little shack on the top of White Pass is on Canadian land - it is where the Mounties lived as they checked each and every gold miner to make sure that he had ALL the supplies required of him before being allowed to travel back into the Yukon to face the ice and rain and snow and cold.









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Here are a couple of my videos as we traveled up the mountain to the White Pass.

We rode the train to the top of the white pass and then when we got there the engines were unhooked and they were moved to the back of the train in preparation of going back down the canyon. They had everyone on board stand up and move the back of our bench up and over the seat so that the seats now faced the other direction! (Kind of like our table seat does in our trailer) and then we all switched sides of the car so that everyone had a good view going up and going down. For example, we were seated on the mtn side going up and on the canyon side coming back down.

We got back to Skagway after a long day and they got us back on the bus, and headed to the ship about 4:30. We knew the ship was supposed to leave by five but since our tour was booked through NCL they wouldn't leave without us. But there was no time to go shopping!! There was an accident just ahead of our bus - we could see a banged up bicycle and some people laying in the street - so we were delayed even more but we made it back to the ship on time. We passed the ambulences heading to help the poeple.

This is a picture Edward took just as we were heading out to sea from Skagway. You can see the Norwegian Pearl, a sister ship that we shared a dock with several times. Just a beautiful farewell view of the Skagway bay.

We skipped the entertainment that night - we went to the Versailles for dinner and just relaxed the evening away. I think that was the evening Ed and I went out after Grandpa had settled in for the night, and listened to a wonderful group of singers in one of the lounges in the center of the ship. They were good!

Monday, September 15, 2008

North to Alaska - Tuesday

Warning - Lots of pictures ahead!! Tuesday was a big day . Ed was with us that day - YEAH!! Here is our ship at Juneau - bright and colorful- we started early on Tuesday - we docked in Juneau at 7 am (That would be Pacific time but not daylight time) and we caught a bus about 10 am. We played in Juneau until about 1 pm and then we headed up the Endicott arm to Sawyer Glacier which we reached about 4 pm and then on the Daws Glacier - we got there about 8 pm. Ed said he took about 200 pictures just of the cruise up Endicott - about five hours worth of picture taking. I have picked out ONLY the very best. The bus took us about 15 miles north of the city of Juneau to the Mendenhal glacier. When we got to the glacier site we first walked through some beautiful temperate rainforest past a stream where we got to see salmon swimming upstream. It was fascinating to see - some of the salmon were still swimming very strongly - others were struggling to get over or around some submerged branches and still others were half rotted already as they were swimming or trying to swim upstream towards their birthplace. I hadn't realized they would be at different stages of health as they headed upstream - but I guess that is why there aren't heaps of dead fish at the headwaters of each stream...they said they can SMELL which bay and inlet and stream they need to swim up - from thousands and thousand of miles of water!


I had to take a picture of this sign...I have NEVER been anywhere that had trails closed to bear activity in my whole life. But with the salmon spawning the bears are real active all along the rivers - and so the forest service simply closes the trails off to protect the people from coming upon a bear.
Here's a picture of Ed in his Cabela's hat that I won for him the day before. It was really handy because whenever we got lost I would just look for that bright yellow hat!
The day was cloudy and rainy and cool - you can see I had my lightweight coat on over a long sleeved sweater and I pulled out the gloves for a while too. But it wasn't COLD...just cool.
This is a picture of the Mendenhal glacier - Most of the glaciers we saw were dirty on top, but at the edge you could see the beautiful turquoise blue color - they explained that glaciers absorb all the colors of the spectrum except for the blue - that is why they are such a gorgeous color.
This is a picture you will want to double click on to get the full benefit of the beauty of the picture - this is what Alaska is all about - mountains and bays and greenery with a glacier and waterfalls too. It is so beautiful. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. We are a bit older and didn't take full advantage of all the fun tours available but we talked to people that biked and hiked the glaciers and mountains and cruised and rowed the rivers and bays. There were ziplines that took you down a whole mountain in 15 seconds flat (that sounded as fun to me as snorkeling in 40 degree waters!! - they said they hooked them up and a trapdoor dropped open beneath their feet and ZOOM!! - No thank you - I will be happy with my bus tour to Mendenhal Glacier with a salmon bake afterward!! We spent about two and a half hours at the Glacier National Park taking lots of pictures, wandering the path, and watching the movie telling us all about the park
After we left the Mendenhal Glacier we headed back toward Juneau (and back past the Walmart!!) to a fun and delicious outdoor bar-b-que. We didn't take any pictures of the eating area but it was interesting - outdoor - countrystyle seating all under canopies. So if it was raining we could stay dry. We immediately headed for the hot chocolate and then got in line for the delicious bar b qued Alaskan Salmon. OOOOOOoooooohhhhhh it was sooo good. And this is from me - someone that doesn't usually care for fish. They had lots and lots of delicious food - all you can eat and the busses kept pulling up and dropping off another group - so their weren't big lines and there was plenty of space to sit but LOT's of people got fed. Our only complaint (?) was that we didn't realize until we were through eating that the middle areas had big heat lamps under the canopy - so they were warmer. Again - it was probably 58 degrees - cool but not cold.
After we finished eating we walked up to the old gold mine about a quarter of a mile up the path. As you can see, we are still in a temperate rainforest and it was a beautiful walk. This is part of the old waterworks that dredged up sand out of the stream that they then would wash for gold. They explained that in Alaska gold was never found in nugget form but rather due to the Glacier grinding all of the gold down to simple gold dust. Then we caught another bus back to the ship - it pulled out of Juneau about 1:30.

The tv station that kept us updated as to where we were going and when we headed out to Sawyer Glacier that we were supposed to arrive at ab out 4 pm. Dad and Ed and I headed to the Versaille restaurant for a delicious lunch and then headed back to our staterooms. We napped and read for a while and Ed headed up to the 12th level of the ship to take pictures and enjoy the lovely weather (NOT!) I stayed in the stateroom where it was much warmer and finally I knocked on dad's door and told him I was heading up at 3:45 and dad said he was ready to go up too. We got up on deck while it was still cloudy and rainy and miserable but within 15 minutes it started clearing up. When we first got on deck we heard an announcement from the captain saying that usually they went up Tracy Arm instead of Endicott arm but due to the weather he thought the Endicott arm would prove a better trip for us. Then he said "because the weather is so beautiful" and everyone looked at each other and said "rain, clouds, beautiful??" He must have been watching the doppler because the day simply got prettier and prettier - and the cruise up Endicott arm was so smooth and one of the highlights of our trip. .
Take a look at the pictures above - that is the Sawyer Glacier and we did arrive there right at 4 pm! It is what is called a hanging glacier because it doesn't reach all the way down to the water
This was just one of the gorgeous views as we cruised up the arm. It is another fiord - cut through the centuries by glaciers. WE saw beautiful waterfals everywhere we looked - plus the forests - they said that it is empty of everything except forests and animals. No people!
One of the icebergs floating in the water - again take note of the pristine blue.
The closer we got to the Daws glacier the more icebergs there were ahead of us. And yes the way got narrower and narrower.
It was so fun to find the seals sunning themselves on the ice flows!


Ed got this picture after we left the Daws glacier and headed back down the Endicott arm. The shadows from the mountains and the bay created a picture that would win prizes!! The final picture (video) below is one taken by grandpa of the Daws glacier. None of our pictures can give you a true feeling of the awe and amazement of this piece of nature. But I thought I needed to put at least one of our video clips in. Sadly enough the whole time I was taking pictures of our cruise up the Endicott arm past all the waterfalls and all the forests and all the mountains and all of the icebergs and all of the glaciers...I had my camera on video - so as I clicked to take the picture I would then drop the camera and it would still be going and I would get pictures of everyones legs and blurred comments!! DUH!! So all of these pictures that you have seen were taken by Edward.
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I think this was a video taken by Grandpa Merritt.

Friday, September 12, 2008

North to Alaska - Monday







Ketchikan - Little homes stuck up in the middle of some very beautiful islands.




First of all I need to go back to Sunday morning - we went to a meeting where they talked about all the different tours that were offered through the
ship - we listened to all the different activities and
then the three of us talked it out and decided what sounded like the most interesting. We headed down to the tour office and ordered tours for Ketchican, Juneau and Scagway.

This is a view of Ketchikan from the ship as we were 'pulling into' the harbor. It is amazing the control they have with that huge ship. They could (and did) turn on a dime.

We could have gone snorkeling (!) in Ketchican but we "settled" for a trip to the Saxman Indian Village and a Lumberjack show. For Tuesday, in Juneau I wanted to go on a boat out to go whalewatching and then see the Mendenhahl Glacier but Ed wanted to go see the Glacier and then go to an outdoor Salmon Bake. For Wednesday, Skagway, I really pushed for the train ride up over White Pass into the Yukon. We chose a tour that combined that with panning for gold. Within an hour of dropping off our requests (and our credit card numbers) we had our tickets in hand for all three days.

Also on Sunday, after we took Ed to the doctor I took the prescription he wrote out down to
the tour desk and got Ed's first day (in Ketchikan) reimbursed with no problem at all. So Ed stayed on the ship that day and didn't go to the Indian village and lumberjack show with us.

Here you can see we have docked - there is a second cruise liner just behind us. Plus all the local fishing and tour boats at the pier. Ketchican is an Island and has lots of mtns and hills. Not a lot of shore space.







Ketchican gets 166 inches of rain every year, and outside the city center itself that is what the people
use for water - they catch and use the rain. They
said if it goes seven days without rain they think
they are in a drought! Though the day was over
cast, the rain did not fall and everywhere we went
the islanders all commented on how rare it was not to have it raining!! It was cool but not
uncomfortable. We wore sweaters and light coats
- layers - easy to remove if it got too warm (it didn't get too warm). There are lots and lots of forests and waterfalls and mtns.



















The areas we went on our cruise were all temperate rainforest areas (as compared to tropical rainforest from our previous cruises). But they were soooo green and beautiful. Lots of lacy ivy growing . This is a picture I took of grandpa as we walked down a pathway to the Skagway Klatch house.

For a very accurate video of Ketchican go to
http://www.visit-ketchikan.com/and click on Highlight watch a video of Ketchikan highlights. It is very accurate and you can get a good feel of the area.





This is the authentic building where the Indian held their welcome potlatch. The Indians of the village put on a welcome dance for us. They explained that totem poles don't tell a story but rather describe their genealogy to visitors. For instance if their mother was of the bear clan and their father of the fish clan they would be carved largest at the bottom of the totem pole. Then if their grandparents clans were different they would be added also. I suppose as people married into their family additional animals would be carved on the totem pole. That way, as canoes of

strangers came down the river they would immediately know if they were in friendly or dangerous territory. The totem poles would tell them that.

Here is a picture that I took inside the potlatch building showing the dancing that was taking place. Most everyone were in black and red capes but the white colorful cape with fringe on the bottom was really gorgeous. I wish they had explained the difference. I got the feeling that the white was more true to original.




Ketchickan is 500 miles north of Seattle and is the first city you reach as you cruise up the coastline past Canada. Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles and is the major cannery for salmon in Alaska.


Totem poles are also used to honor people. In the late 1800's the Klinglit Indians were fighting with the Chewbash Indians from the North and it was a hard and vicious battle. They literally were fighting for their lives and it wasn't looking really promising for them.



The Chewbash were winning, when the USS Abraham Lincoln came steaming up the river. The sailors saw the battle and went to help the Klinglit people, in fact, winning their battle for them and saving the Klinglit Nation from extinction. Since they couldn't put a ship on the top of a totem pole (only items with souls can be placed on a totem pole) they were at a loss as how to honor the ship when one of the sailors gave them a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately the picture was only from the chest up so here we have the shortest (tallest :-)) Abraham Lincoln the world has ever seen!!











Another fascinating totem pole was the one they raised to honor William H Seward when he came to Alaska to see what he had actually purchased from the Russians. When he reached Ketchikan the Klinglit Nation threw the biggest potlatch ever to honor Mr. Seward. They gave him beautiful furs and all sorts of wonderful gifts. They built this totem pole to honor him. The problems came when he left - and didn't realize that he was supposed to honor them with a potlatch in return. They waited for years for him to return and honor them with a potlatch and lots of gifts but he never did. After his death they climbed the totem pole and painted his ears and nose red showing SHAME! And that is how Wm Seward is remembered in the Saxman Village.

We got to go to modern building where totem pole making is still going on today. They talked about the types of trees that made the best totem poles.

Then we headed to the gift shop where I bought a can of salmon for Ed since he was missing this fun day back at the ship. I also bought me some really pretty earrings - Alaskan pearls they are called. Dad and I got back on the bus and headed back to Ketchikan where we were dropped off for a fantastic Lumberjack show. The show was put on by Stihl and Cabellas and was really well done. The bleachers were heated which we really appreciated even though the sun was shining nicely by then. There was a cute little gal decked out in 1800's style clothing that would be appropriate for a lumberjack cook and she was the MC. They split the audience into Canadians and Americans and we got to cheer for the side we were assigned to. Luckily we sat on the US side! Then they introduced the lumberjacks and amazingly enough three out of the four of them were college kids going to school on a lumberjack (!!!) scholarship!! They were also top knotch in their field plus pretty good actors too. They all knew how to bring audience participation to a roar and we were all totally cheering for our teams. Booing the other side and stomping our feet and cheering for our teams. It was fun to see them chopping logs and climbing poles and walking on logs in the water. Towards the end they came out with a yellow Cabela's hat and said that Cabela's said it was supposed to go to the most excited member of the audience. He walked back and forth and finally stopped right in front of dad and I although we were about ten rows back and I started yelling and cheering and jumping up and down....I wanted that hat for ED!!! Just before he tossed the hat our eyes met and I knew he was throwing it right to me~!!! AND I CAUGHT IT!! I think dad felt a little disappointed that I didn't give it to him but I had missed Ed all day and I knew it had to go to my sweet sick husband!

We had been picked up as the dock and driven the three miles out to the Saxman village and then back into Ketchikan and dropped off at the Lumberjack show. Sad to say though, we had to walk BACK to the ship about a good half mile and by that time dad was running out of steam. We made it though. If it had been Ed and I we would have wandered through some of the cute touristy stores but this was our first day in port and I figured I would have plenty of chances to find fun stuff. So we went back to the ship. That was about 2 pm so we found Ed and went and had some fish and chips at the Blue Lagoon and then we went and had a nap! The ship pulled out about three. About 4:30 Ed and I went back to the doctor's office when the doctor checked him out and announced that he wanted to remove the catheter and then if he got bad again he would reinsert it. Poor ED - a look of pure fright went over his face and then he agreed. Not a really fun day for Ed but he was feeling alot better by the time we headed back to our staterooms to get dad and go to dinner. Wonderful food at the Versailles as always but they seemed awfully slow as everyone came to eat at the same time so we could make it to the 7 pm magic show. We made it and it was good. Not as good as the magician on Holland America but he had a cute sense of humor and it was a fun fascinating show. I always expect to hear horrifying screams and blood spurting out when they shove those huge swords through the box with the gorgeous attendant in it.