Alaska Cruise–Week 2

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This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

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Alaska Cruise–Week 1

(Click here for more photographs.)

We took a 14 day cruise aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Lines ship, round trip from Seattle to several ports in Alaska.  Neither of us have much cruise experience but we were thrilled with the level of service and the quality of the food aboard this ship.  We heard similar comments from more experienced cruisers as well.  Every evening in the main dining room was a fine dining experience with a varied menu that changed every day.  And they even had selections that suited our particular food preferences.  With a 14 day itinerary we were able to visit ports that don’t get a lot of cruise ship traffic.  The following is a summary by day of our experience.

Departing Seattle Continue reading

Elephant Seals

The most easily accessible location on the California coast where you can view the Elephant Seals is near San Simeon, CA, about 5 miles north of the entrance to the Hearst Castle.  Right on Highway 1 you can pull into the parking lot and observe them laying on the beach and maybe sparring in the surf.  The rookery you see here ranges over 6 miles of California coastline in the area of Piedras Blancas.  This was a 30 mile drive north from our base in Morro Bay, CA.

20170607_113625 Continue reading