garbanzopalooza

A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life

Setting sail for Alaska and Tracy Arm Fjord

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After 2 days in Seattle it was time to board the Carnival Miracle and steam our way to Alaska.  The first “stop” would be a cruise through the Tracy Arm Fjord.  But we had a couple of days at sea before we reached the fjord.  The days at sea gave us a chance to explore the ship a bit and relax.  The seas were not overly rough, with 8 foot swells probably the roughest we saw.

We knew we entered the fjord when the seas turned into a lagoon, with zero swells.  The weather was cold inside the fjord, but a few extra layers, some hot chocolate, and the anticipation of all that we would see this day kept us warm.

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The landscape inside the fjord was like nothing I had ever seen.  Steep cliffs rose up out of the water.  Old wood forests, some hundreds of years old, covered the hills.  Valleys and waterfalls dotted the landscape.  But while the landscape offered great views, we were here to see the wildlife.

Our first sighting came while Meg and I were in the gym early in the morning.  Off the starboard side of the boat we saw a pod of orcas (killer whales) surfacing.  I tried to make my way back to the room to grab the camera in the hopes of catching some pictures, but by the time I got back the whales were long gone.  Not to worry, there would be plenty of more whales to see on this day.

Living in Boston, we have been on many whale watches, but have not seen many whales.  Sailing through the fjord was like being on the most successful whale watch ever.  We had to have seen more than a dozen humpback whales.  The most impressive sighting was a whale that smacked its tail against the water for a good 10 minutes as it swam away from the ship.

This humpback whale put on quite a show.

This humpback whale put on quite a show.

There were also a lot of birds to see in the fjord.  Of course we were most excited to see the bald eagles.  Sometimes they were right there for you to see, like these 2 sitting on an iceberg.

Couple of bald eagles hanging out on an ice drift before taking flight.

Couple of bald eagles hanging out on an ice drift before taking flight.

Sometimes you didn’t even know you had captured an eagle until you were looking at the photos.

There is an eagle hanging out on a rack by the shoreline.

There is an eagle hanging out on a rack by the shoreline.

We even had some sea lions come alongside the boat to check us out.

Curious sea lions came by the ship to check us out.

Curious sea lions came by the ship to check us out.

Some animals you had to look a closer to find.  We saw a couple of black bears down by the water.  One came right down to the beach, while the other one stayed mostly hidden at the edge of the forest.

Finally we reached the end of the fjord.  We were unable to reach the base of the glacier due to the ice flows.  But we still got some great views of the glacier.

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We set sail from the fjord and headed north for Skagway.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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