Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh What a Day!!!!

Well, today certainly didn't turn out like I thought it would. We figured it would be another day in the campground getting ready to start the clean up after the holiday weekend. We were sitting outside this morning around 8:30 drinking coffee and talking about what we needed to do today when Marc, the ranger, showed up. He said that he had come to help check out the campground and see if anything needed to be cleaned for today. Then he said, "If you don't have anything to do today would you like to go out on my boat?" Well, you know the answer to that question. So, while the guys went and checked out the campground, I straightened up the house and finished up the paperwork that has to be turned in. When Dan and Marc got back to out campsite we told him we would meet him at his house (on Douglas Island) in about an hour. That would give us time to get something to eat and fill the truck with fuel (first time we had filled up since leaving Haines).

So, off we went to Fred Myers to fill up the truck (cheapest fuel we have found so far), then over to McDonald's for a couple of hamburgers. We didn't have any trouble finding Marc's apartment. He was out front getting the boat ready to go. I probably should have taken a picture of us in the "life jacket" they use up here. See, the water is so cold that instead of just a "life vest" the flotation device you wear up here is more like a "life coat". You put it on just like you would a coat - it looks like a coat - but it is filled with floatation and has a whistle on it, a hood - all kinds of things that would help to keep you afloat and, hopefully, somewhat warm.

We loaded into his truck and drove about a block down to the dock and launched the boat. The other reason I was glad we had these "life jacket's" - they helped keep you warm while riding in the open boat - I also took some ear muffs to keep the cold wind out of my ears so I didn't get an ear ache. While the temperature was in the low 70's when you were out on the water it got a little cool!

First we went in toward Juneau and looked at the harbor there - there were only two cruise ships in port this morning but while we were out two more ships came in - two Holland America, one Princess, and one Celebrity. Anyway, Marc told us about the different areas of the harbor before we started south.

These are some lupine that we found on the shore by this really great place that we stopped for a little while.

This waterfall was feeding right into the ocean - it was absolutely beautiful. There was this nice big stream coming out into the ocean from this falls - and out in the water we saw these little --------------------------

seals! There were actually five of them that kept watching us - they would come a little bit toward the boat, but were very skittish and wouldn't come too close. Marc said that they liked to be anywhere that fresh water fed into the ocean - that usually meant that there were some fish around. Anyway, the whole time we were on the shore they just stayed out in the ocean and watched us. As soon as we got back in the boat and headed away from the shoreline they went closer in.

But then we went looking for the main attraction. Marc said that we would try and see if we could find some whales. We continued to head south looking for 'blows' - when they come up for air they blow and they spout water about 10 feet into the air - that's the way to spot them. Well, we were going south about 5 minutes when Marc said there - and sure enough there were two beautiful whales. We headed toward them - of course, you can only get to within about 300 yards legally and we did stop away from them - but WOW!!! We they ever neat!

This is one of them just before they fluked - it was magnificent!!!! One of them actually came straight up out of the water - not really a breach - Marc said they were going after herring. I was watching for them so intently when he came straight up out of the water I didn't have the camera ready - so I didn't get a picture, but it was fabulous. We watched the whales for about half an hour before they started to move on up the channel. Marc asked me if I wanted to chase them, but I said no, I didn't want to harass them - so we sat out on the water and had a snack and just talked about stuff.
Now, those of you that know me will not believe the next thing I am going to tell you, but I swear it is the truth. For a snack out on the water today I ate smoked SALMON - yep, you read that right I ate SALMON and it was good!!!!! (For those of you that don't know me that well, I don't normally don't eat fish of any kind). Anyway, the three of us ate the salmon with cream cheese - now, I didn't eat a lot of it - but I ate a few bites and I enjoyed it.
We finally came back in and once we got back to Marc's apartment Dan and I thanked him very much for such a fabulous treat and then we came home - let the pups out then went in to take the movies back to Blockbuster (we even took the pups with us - feeling guilty for leaving them alone all day!). Then we went over to Safeway grocery store - got a loyalty card - picked up a few groceries and three more movies (actually we got three movies for three days for less than what the two movies from Blockbuster cost) - so now we have something else to watch - not one tonight - I think we are both too tired.
I'm going to close for tonight - I hope that you guys had as good a weekend as Dan and I had - while we were really busy on Friday and Saturday -things really went very smoothly. Tonight we only have 17 camp spots taken down from 69 on Friday and Saturday - A whole lot quieter.
Hope you have a good quiet week next week - just remember it is a four day week! Take care and ---------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!


  1. What a really great day -- it's a neat bonus that you're getting all this nice sun -- we'll work on keeping the rain down in Seattle --- once it moves north, you're in rain for the rest of the summer.

    The whales are Humpbacks --- Humpies in Alaska . . . later in the season the Orcas, killer whales, will be in the channels.
    Two neat things to look for: 1) later in the season when the herring school in larger groups, the humpbacks will corral them by blowing bubbles in the water in a big circle, that gradually gets smaller as they keep circling. Once the herring are packed together, then the whales zoom right through the middle, scooping up bushels at a time. 2) The other thing is that from time to time big schools or pods of whales (the one we saw was at least fifty, might have been 100) decide to mosey on down the channel, and sometimes they'll do that with all kinds of incredible leaps and breaches and fin slaps. Guess that's not a time you really want to be out in a small boat!


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