A Travellerspoint blog

Seattle

We docked in Seattle on Sunday morning to pouring rain!! It rained all day without letting up at all. They do call Seattle the rainy city!

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We found our accommodation recommended by a friend and our apartment was fantastic. Walking distance to the shopping district and to the Pike Place Markets and as we were later to find out...walking distance to everywhere we needed to go!

Pike Place Markets
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Our first afternoon called for a wet walk to the markets to check out the Famous Flying Fish...they didn't disappoint...we had a good laugh as they threw fish to and fro after someone ordered. We had a good look around while we waited for the rain to ease...but that didn't happen so we gathered some supplies...namely cheese, salami, fresh bread and red wine for a cozy dinner in our room. We made the wet walk home down Pike Street and were happy to know that we were now settled for the next few days.

Monday allowed us to have a lazy morning and then set off on a sightseeing tour for 3 hours. We used this to orient ourselves with where everything was so we could find our way back to the areas of interest. We visited Pioneer Square, Burrard Locks, Fremont and its famous Troll, Lake Union and Lake Washington. We finished the day back at the Markets for dinner at Etty's...Dungeness Crab Cakes...half a crab...yummy crab salad and then some cod...a very yummy fishy affair. We then walked it all off on the way home.

Make sure you look up...
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Public Art
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Fast Food Van
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Iconic Attractions...
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The Original Starbucks
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Tuesday we played tourist all day. We began the morning with a tour of the Boeing Factory...very interesting indeed...huge factory setup and amazing technology to go with it.

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Next we visited the Space Needle and fortunately for us the weather was great so the views were vast from the top of the tower. We then rode the...very short...monorail and wandered our way back to the hotel via the markets for some dinner supplies before heading home.

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Wednesday was a quiet day...in the afternoon I hit the shops for a little retail therapy before we headed out to Safeco Field for a baseball game. We watched the Seattle Mariners play the Los Angeles Angels...the Mariners played way better and won the game. It was fun seeing all the food sellers walking up and down and with all that was going on around us it was hard to concentrate on the game! A fun night and then an interesting walk home past lots of homeless people, but at no time did we feel unsafe...once we got closer to the city centre there were lots of people walking around.

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We have loved Seattle...a really great place to visit!

Thursday...going home day...part of me is sad it is all over...and part of me is ready to get home...shame we have such a long flight to go to get there...

What an amazing time we have had travelling for the last 5 weeks...hmmm...time to look at all the photos...savour all the memories and then...plan the next trip. :)

Posted by thewoodsies 13:28 Comments (1)

Ketchican

Another early morning today as we scheduled a day trip onto one of the crab boats from the series "Deadliest Catch" which both of us had watched and enjoyed.
The boat we went out on was in the first series of the show and now runs only as a tourist boat to educate people about the crabs and fish that they catch and how they manage their time at sea. They fish in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska and work in the most amazing weather conditions to catch King Crab and then line fish at other times throughout the year. They pulled various pots with live crabs and sealife in them...planted for us I am sure...but none the less it was a really interesting day learning lots of new information.

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Line fishing
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Bringing up King Crab
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King Crab
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Starfish
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Octopus
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The most amazing part of the day had nothing to do with crabs or fishing!! When we pulled into a sheltered cove to pull some pots we saw a pair of Bald Eagles with a nest and before our eyes more and more eagles flew into a small grove of trees. They were all calling to each other and putting on an amazing display for all of those who were on the boat. There ended up being about 8 eagles in the trees surrounding us...truly magical.

Area we found Eagles
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Eagle Nest
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Bald Eagles
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This port stop was only a half day so we didn't have a lot of time to tour the townsite when we returned to shore. We walked around as much of the town as we could and once again were amazed at how commercial it was for the visiting tourists. I guess when you can only get in and out by plane or boat you have to find a way to build the economy of the town.

Ketchican
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A beautiful Alaskan day
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The day still had more to offer us...as we set sail for Victoria a group of playful whales decided to tag along for the ride...
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We sailed for a day and a half down the inside passage back to Victoria and then to Seattle.

We decided not to leave the ship in Victoria as we docked at 6.30pm and had to return to the ship by 11.30pm. However, it was a great opportunity for the group we had travelled through Canada with to get together for a group meal to say our goodbyes. It was surprising that there were a number of people we had not seen for the whole 7 days at sea! We have made some new friends and it was really nice to get everyone together once more.

Seattle is the final destination for a few days before heading home.

Posted by thewoodsies 01:10 Comments (0)

Sitka

Our visit to Sitka was a fairly relaxed one. We opted not to do any organised tours for the day and just enjoy what the town had to offer.
We were docked off shore today so we had to wait on the ship for space to travel ashore on a tender boat...it took about 20 minutes to get ashore.

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When we arrived we worked out where the Alaska Raptor Centre was and headed off for the walk up the hill out of town. The centre rehabilitates injured birds and then releases those it can back into the wild. The facility is amazing and it runs on donations and fundraising. They had a large number of eagles and some owls which was exciting as I could take some pictures to take back to my class. We toured the facility and went into the flying room which is a large area that the birds who are going to be released stay in and it has one way glass so they don't interact with the public at all. They only see one handler a day which provides food and necessary care.
Some great pics though...
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Golden Eagle
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Great Horned Owl
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Great Grey Owl
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Snowy Owl
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Bald Eagle
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Outside Enclosures and Nature Trails
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We then headed on down the hill into town for a wander. As it was lunch time we grabbed our first hotdog for the trip...I had a beef sausage in mine , but Rob had a reindeer sausage in his...I couldn't bring myself to eat that one!

Sitka has a strong russian influence throughout the whole town and it is way more "touristy" than I expected.
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The weather was amazing...the sunshine followed us and it was warmer in Alaska than it was in Canada...go figure!

Next stop Ketchican.

Posted by thewoodsies 23:35 Comments (1)

Cruising Alaska

We left VERY early on Sunday morning to head towards the US border crossing as it was going to be a long wait to go through customs. We departed Vancouver at 6.30 am and managed to get thru to Seattle about 11am...we spent about 2 hours waiting to get thru customs.

Our tour guide, knowing we were aussies...stopped at a store for us to stock up on some drinks before boarding the ship!! hahaha Everyone was glad to purchase at much lower prices than we would have to pay on board. Choosing was hilarious...no one knew the US wine labels so we all played the guessing game to get good ones. After 3 days on board I can say we made great choices!!!

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We arrived on board after a fairly slick operation by the Norwegian Line staff and found our cabin and after a late lunch and a quick tour of the ship we settled in and managed an early night and slept very soundly knowing there was no early wake up call to come!! Whoo Hoo.

We oriented ourselves with the ship the next morning and all it had to offer...a floating 5 star hotel...loads of fun exploring it all.
After departing port on Sunday afternoon at 4pm we then had the Monday at sea and a formal dinner that night which was fantastic.

At sea
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Tuesday we cruised up the coast into Alaska and spent the day in Glacier Bay surrounded by snow capped mountains and massive glaciers. We moved slowly throughout the day to allow for the full impact of our surroundings. We passed Reid Glacier and Lamplugh Glacier but the closest we got to one was John Hopkins Glacier...the ship travelled really slowly past and then turned around as it was a dead end and returned to moor off the coast of Juneau for an early landing the next morning. While we were passing John Hopkins Glacier we could see and hear great chunks of ice falling into the water...it was peaceful and very quiet and then you would hear a rumbling like thunder and the ice would fall into the water a few seconds later...spectacular stuff!!

Glacier Bay
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John Hopkins Glacier
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Ice Falling
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The food of course is spectacular and we have been going to the gym and the hydrotherapy pool to try and manage it a little so the impact upon our return home won't be too awful!!! Very hard not to put on any weight as all we seem to be doing is eating!! Our jeans still do up so I guess we are doing OK!!!!

Juneau

We awoke this morning to see the Tramway that heads up the mountain outside our window. We berthed in No1 dock right in the centre of town. There were 3 cruise ships docked at the same time so it was fairly busy on shore.

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The diamond merchants were in full swing to get us to buy and give us a "great deal"! As we hadn't budgetted for diamond shopping we went zip-lining instead!! It was fantastic! The sun came out, the blue sky was around and it was such fun flying through the treetops at very fast speed and pulling to a halt just before we collided with a tree! haha

Zip-Lining
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A sunny day in Alaska
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After that we did go back into town to wander the shops and try on some amazing diamonds...but I settled for a beautiful necklace by a local designer...silver and gold and very exquisite and not mass produced like a lot of the other jewellry we saw.

After this it is back onto the ship and off to Sitka tomorrow. We are going to visit a Bird of Prey Centre that looks amazing and as we are only in port for a few hours it will be a short walk around town then back on the ship and off to Ketchikan.

We are still loving every minute and having a wonderful time.

Posted by thewoodsies 17:29 Comments (2)

And the rain came down in Vancouver!

The weather finally caught up with us and the rainy city showed her true colours today! We woke up to grey skies and lots and lots of rain.
After a leisurely breakfast we jumped on the bus for a last drive around tour with Rob our awesome bus driver.

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Lion's Gate Bridge
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English Bay
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We headed out to Stanley Park and then to the Capilano Suspension Bridge...such a shame it was so wet! It is a spectacular suspension bridge the crosses the Capilano River. It also has a range of platforms and other smaller bridges that travel through the treetops.

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We the shook off the raindrops and headed to Granville Island Markets...AMAZING...the most delectable looking produce of all sorts I have ever seen...drool over these pics!

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A quick visit to Chinatown and a drive through Gastown completed the organised activities of the day...

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We then had the rest of the day to explore by ourselves. The rain cleared for a while and we wandered around the exclusive shops in Robson Street...then the rain came down again even more steady than before. We darted in and out of buildings and made our soggy way back to the hotel.

We set ourselves up to watch the Vancouver Canucks play another game of the Playoff series and cheered loudly until we had to go to our Farewell Dinner to end the land part of our tour.
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Tomorrow is a VERY early morning...up at 5.30 to travel to the US border into Seattle ready to board our ship...the MS Oosterdam and head north to Alaska. Whoo hoo!!

Posted by thewoodsies 18:16 Comments (3)

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