July 21, 2009

We had a nice visit from Michel's son and his family from Kelowna.

picture left: Richard and Shannon helping out - splitting wood for Michel.

picture below: Michel with grandchildren Tiana and Kayden

We went up to Jewel Lake in the afternoon. The kids had a good time, while we did our 'job'.... but it wasn't very busy in the park so we enjoyed some time with them at the beach.

Here is a shot of Richard teaching Kayden how to fish

Later, back at home, the kids played in the creek.

Here is a nice shot of the family (l to r) Shannon, Kayden, Richard, Tiana

July 12, 2009

Back on Canadian soil....

After clearing customs, waiting for our shuttle bus.

Everyone anxious to get going.

It was great to go, but it's always great to get back as well... wave good bye now, until next time! Or maybe that should be wave hello?

July 11, 2009

The Inside Passage, also known and the 'Panhandle' or 'Southeast'. The name is a reference to early explorers' quest to locate the Northwest Passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Carved by glaciers and blanketed with majestic Western hemlock and giant Sitka spruce, Alaska's Inside Passage is a region of pristine water, snow-capped mountains, deep fjords and forested islands. With its mild, maritime climate, this area is prime habitat for bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises and whales.

Today was a sea day - no ports of call - so stops along the way - no picture taking - just headin' back to Vancouver, arrival tomorrow morning at 7:30.

But that does not mean we did nothing.... as with every day there were shows and talks and 'stuff' happening all over the cruise ship. Everyone did their 'own' thing.

And of course, we had to pack. And wouldn't you know it - we had more than what we boarded with.... almost needed another suitcase!

Did I mention that every night we had a sit-down 4 or 5 course dinner?

And did I mention that the service was more than great - it was fantastic?

And did I mention that the food itself was second to none?

These two gentlemen (l to r) Jose and Ada were our servers for the week - they made it all happen.

July 10, 2009

The second formal dinner

Michel's parents Rick and Therese - the reason we're all gathered together for this cruise - a joyous occasion - their 60th Wedding Anniversary!!

Michel's daughter Alisha and her husband Rob Wald

Michel's youngest sister Lise and her husband Pat Nixon

Three of Lise and Pats' six sons (l to r) Shane, Daniel and Tyler

Lise and Pats' eldest son Jason with wife Tiffany

Therese with her sister Simone, who flew in from Toronto to join us on this joyous occasion.

And here is a shot of the group - lookin' good!!!!

July 10, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan, translated from it's Tlingit Indian name means "Thundering Wings of an Eagle". Its long main street skirts a waterfront built on pilings over the sea. Short side streets and steep wooden stairways lead to residential areas on the bluff above.

Similar to other western towns, Ketchican received a huge boost from of the the many gold rushes that burned through the Northwest in the late 1800's. It was incorporated as a mining town in 1900 and a customs house was set up to make it Alaska's first port of entry. But, much of the gold and copper in the area had been exhausted by World War I, and the mines were shut down.

Fishing is the main industry today. A salmon fishery was established in 1887, and by the 1930's eleven canneries were processing nearly two million salmon a year.

We were docked in Ketchican from 2:30 p.m until 8:30 p.m. Not a full day, but enough time to walk around and take in some of the highlights, none of which we have pictures of.....

July 9, 2009

Juneau, Alaska

We were in port at 7:30 a.m. and had the entire day to shop and do excursions. Just about everyone in our group did some tour or other, (kayaking, whale watching, gondola ride) but we just walked around the town and looked through the shops and bought a few souveniers.

We all ended up here: The Red Dog Saloon.
It's quite the tourist attraction with sawdust on the floors and entertainment in the form of a guy and his honky tonk piano. It was full in the morning and pretty much stayed that way all day. When you walk in the piano guy yells "Look who's here" and the crowd all cheers.. .. very welcoming.

In this picture: (l to r) Shane, Lise, Myself, Dad, Pat - - Michel was taking the picture.

July 8, 2009

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier on the North American continent. It stands 11,000 feet above sea level and stretches 76 miles from its source in the Yukon to the sea at Yakutat Bay and Disenchantment Bay. It is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska with an open calving face of over 6 miles wide........

We spent 4 hours around this glacier getting within 1500 feet of it, which is the closest any cruise ship has gotten to it this season.

July 7, 2009

We were in Sitka, Alaska from 11 am until 7 pm, which was plenty of time to visit a few of the tourist attractions:

The Russian Bishops House

The Old Pioneer House with a statue called "The Prospector"

Here is a picture of Michel and myself from the top of Castle Hill - overlooking the bay - our boat is in the background.

And here is a picture postcard picture of the Celebrity Mercury - our home for a week....

July 6, 2009

Our first of two sit-down formal dinners..... at this table are: (l to r) Michel, myself, Alisha (Michel's daughter) and her husband Rob; Michel's Dad and Mom; Michel's Aunt Simone (from Toronto)
This being our first cruise ever, Michel and I really didn't know what to expect .. what we found was: the food was fantastic and the wait staff were terrific; the service was five star - (beds rolled down for you, chocolates on the pillows, doors opened for you - and the attendant even knows you by your first name - unbelievable). The entertainment was wonderful and there were planned activities all day and night if you wanted to take part.

July 5, 2009

All Aboard the Celebrity Mercury - destination Alaska

A last look at the Vancouver skyline

Under the Lions Gate Bridge and we're off and cruising....

The group on deck as we cruise away - there were 15 members of Michel's family there to celebrate Michel's parents 60th wedding anniversary.