North to Alaska!

In May Stefanie and I enjoyed a cruise to Alaska accompanied by my sister, Rae and her husband, Ray. Two rays of sunshine! Is it really necessary to say it was wonderful! It was great! The weather was kind to us with calm seas, not too much overcast and some sunny days.

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Heading North inĀ  “Island Princess” there was plenty to look at as we were often close to shore. Our itinerary included Juneau, Skagway Glacier Bay and Ketchikan.

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Skagway was interesting, we should have taken the train ride with Rae and Ray, however we enjoyed visiting the town and the gold mining museum. I was particularly intrigued by the old steam snow plow on display near the town. It can be seen in action on YouTube, search “Skagway Snow plow”. Spectacular.

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The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly a visit to Glacier Bay. It was raining and cloudy as we approached the Margerie Glacier. The guide said it was good that it was overcast because the colors of the glacier would be more intense. As we drew nearer the sun came out. The guide said we are very lucky to see it in sunshine!! We drifted for a long time, just off the face of the glacier. We could hear the thunderous cracking of ice deep within the glacier and every now and then pieces would break off and splash into the sea. It was really quite awesome. We spotted a sea otter playing with a small chunk of floating ice as we departed. Too far off for a photo though.

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Of course, a great part of cruising centres around life on board. We dressed up for a formal night.

The last stop was Ketchikan where we went ashore and explored the shops. Observant readers will no doubt notice the effects of hormone treatment on my chest!! As well as my ostomy bag!

Returning to Vancouver, as we left the ship and proceeded through Customs, we were surprised to be pulled aside and taken away for questioning. We were detained for well over an hour, felt like two. I had applied for an extension of my visa. I had been waiting 3 months for approval that normally comes through in 35 days. Apparently I was not supposed to leave Canada while approval was pending. No one told me that! In the end it was all sorted out and I was handed my official visa extension giving me another 6 months from that date, so it was a good outcome, if a little scary. When we needed to use the bathroom we were escorted by an officer to make sure we didn’t do a runner, I guess. Just imagine me trying to escape with my walker!

All in all it was a great experience and created good memories for both of us. I was slowed down by my condition, however I am very happy to have done the things that I did do. It was cold and I think our next trip will be to warmer climates. Having said that, Alaska would not be the same if it was not cold!