Alaska 2016 - ChrisDahl

Celebrating 35 years of Marriage

Elaine and I celebrated 35 years of marriage this year, and I have to tell you the decision to ask her to be my wife is by far the best decision I have ever made. We are blessed with two wonderful daughters and a family that loves us.

So we looked for a vacation location that would be special and one that we had not been to before.

So after some debate, we booked a cruise  on Royal Caribbeans Explorer of the Seas to Alaska (a cruise is good when you feel lazy and want everything handed to you). We have cruised a number of times before and have had good experiences with Royal Caribbean.

Our cruise started Friday May 27, 2016 in Seattle Washington and concluded on Friday June  3rd in Seattle Washington. We stopped in Juneau Alaska, Skagway Alaska, and Victoria British Columbia.  In addition we were going to cruise to Tracy Arm Fjord to look at the Glacier, but it was to clogged with ice so we went to Sawyer Glacier which is in the same area.

Whale Watching in Auke Bay, Juneau Alaska

During the trip we took advantage of several shore excursions to see sights, for me the best experience was a Whale Watching cruise by Allen Marine in Auke Bay. We were able to see several Humpback Whales and some Orca Whales. The crew was fantastic, one crew member noticed I was struggling to get an angle and she took me to the fan tail of the boat which offered a much lower angle to shoot from. She was a wealth of knowledge and has traveled the world following the whales. You can see the difference in the angle on the bottom row of photos.

Eagles and Sea Lions were everywhere, but mostly out of range from the boat.

These photos were taken with a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600 lens.

The days in Alaska were very long, Sunrise was at 3:30AM and Sunset would be at 10:30PM.  The photo above was take at 4:05AM. This was in the passage to Tracy Arm Fjord.

Huskies and Skagway Alaska

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race held in Alaska. We toured a camp where they work with race dogs and raise them. The puppies were fun and the lecture on the history of the race was very interesting.

Sawyer Glacier

Cruise to Sawyer Glacier

The cruise up to Sawyer Glacier was very stunning, I was hoping to see some huge Titanic size Icebergs but I guess in a way I am happy we did not see any. As we cruised up the passage way there were ships officers on the bow of the ship with a few hundred guest that were willing to brave the cool air. They answered many of our questions, and seemed to enjoy the views as much as us. If I recall the passage was as deep as 3000 meters in some places.

Victoria British Columbia

We visited Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. We were also able to visit Victoria Butterfly Garden just outside the gates of the garden while we were there.

Explorer of the Seas

The Explorer of the Seas is an awesome ship and the crew was fantastic. Above are a few photos of her and her crew (She is actually the second ship on the left  in the panorama photo).

Seattle Washington

Once we were back on dry land we spent an extra day in Seattle Washington, visiting many of the well know sites. Be warned the hills are very steep,  so spend some time planning your walks.

Above you see the Space Needle built for the 1962 Worlds Fair, The EMP Museum , "EMP is a leading-edge nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture". Founded by Microsoft and Paul Allen. And of course what visit to Seattle would be complete if you did not go to Pike Place Market.

So now that I have had a taste of Alaska, I would love to return to focus on photography. Spending more time on land than in transit. The wild life was abundant and the landscape was breathtaking.

You can go to a collage of all photos here.

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