• The Story •
Second stop in Alaska is the state capital – Juneau! I’ll admit that the first thing I noticed once I was off the ship was there is A LOT more money running through this city! At least compared to the only other city I’ve been to in Alaska. On our way to our adventure for the day, I learned that a lot of Alaskan cities are too small to support their own communal services like hospitals and rely on bigger cities to support them. Let’s just say, the tour guide was thrilled to point out their new Super Walmart.
The adventure for today was Whale Watching and a trip up to the Mendenhall Glacier. Using JuneauTours.com, we were able to go humpback whale watching which was pretty cool! These massive creatures were twice the size of our “little” boat – but we could only get within 100 yards of them but close enough to see them blow water through their blow hole, arch their backs, and then dive bringing theirs tails out of the water. Once they dive, they are under for 6-12 minutes. Once we saw the tail, we knew it was time to move on.
On our search for more whales, we asked if it was common to see Orcas (aka: Killer whales), and we were told it was pretty rare to see. But, it must have been our day because shortly after they received a radio transmission with a confirmed sighting of a pod of orcas heading in our direction!! They said that there might be about 18 different orcas swimming across the top. So, we sped off to meet up with them and it was like a frenzy on the water. Other boats out doing the same thing came to see and this rare sighting of orcas.
We saw many little dorsal fins on the water with one GIANT dorsal fin coming in and out of the water. I learned that dorsal fins on orcas can grow to be up to 6ft tall. Also, male orcas have the firm fins, with females having the curved fins.
In one of the photos, you’ll see one popping out the water. Our guide said that’s called a “Spy Hop” as every now and again they come up out of the water to see what’s going up top.
After our excitement on the water – we rushed up to see the glacier so we could catch the last shuttle of the day. Didn’t have whole lot of time, but we did make a mile hike to Nugget Falls where we could see the Mendenhall Glacier just a little bit closer. Not sure many enjoyed the joke on global warming to explain the lake between us and the glacier. We couldn’t spend a lot of time here before we needed to run back up the trail to catch the shuttle, but it was still fun to see the glacier and waterfall – take some pictures – and “enjoy” a simple Alaskan nature walk.
Before the ship was set to sail, we had a little extra time to take a quick walk up to the state’s capital building. It’s one of a very small few in the country that doesn’t have a rotunda and looks like an office building. Although in the process of remodeling, it still was a bit pathetic. And despite was Sarah Palin might say about seeing Russia from her house… you certainly won’t be seeing it through from Juneau. Haha!
• The Photos •
• The Edits •
Same with these pictures – I really only did basic edit to these photos. Color, Contrast, etc.
I used Nik Software Color Efex 4 for about 90% of the processing. Other was Camera RAW.
• The Map •
Just incase you want to know where Juneau, AK is on the map, take a look below. Side-note: Juneau is geographically one of the largest cities in the world with a square mile radius of over 3,000!