Monday morning I was up nice and early again. I’ve pretty much always been an early riser unless I’m utterly exhausted, so add in the time change – we changed to a time zone 1 hour later between bed Sunday and getting up Monday – and yeah…I was going to be up early.
I took advantage of my balcony to keep going back and forth outside to see the water, the land, and the fog. It was like, horror movie fog. Soooo cool!!
I treated myself to a room service breakfast (ok, not totally a treat as it only cost me a couple of dollars cash tip to the server…room service is included other than things like canned soda)
Then I wandered around the ship for a little while.
Towels and blankets were found on the decks with the pools. I took a blanket to my cabin to use when I wanted to sit on my balcony, and that was fine. My cabin stewards took care of removing it when I was done. (Note: I say stewards because there were two who worked together in my cabin. I don’t know if that’s the standard on HAL or if one was maybe training? I only offer that possibility up because one morning I returned to my cabin and they were both in doing things and a supervisor was there checking things. I had no issues, so i most definitely had not complained to anyone.)
I headed down to the promenade deck and started to just walk around it when I saw something…
Whale backs!!!! Based on experiences my sister had on her cruise to Alaska and my parents had doing a whale watch tour, I was afraid I might be “genetically programmed” to not see whales, but clearly I was not.
Whale breath!! One of the coolest sounds I’ve ever heard is the sound of whale breath. I will admit, I was on the verge of tears at this point. I’ve loved whales my whole life, and I even “adopted” a humpback several years ago, so to get to experience this…breathtaking.
There were a LOT out there. I’d say at least one pod, possibly more. John commented it was the most whale activity HE could remember seeing on one of the Alaskan cruises.
Once we had moved past them, I went back to exploring the ship.
This is the sculpture at the aft SeaView pool. Kinda funky, and unexpected with HAL’s rather staid reputation. 🙂
Ran into one of my fellow GARCers, and he took this picture for me
We began to get closer to civilization
so I headed to my cabin to get changed and hit the race briefing. We got to be the first group off the ship at each port, which was cool! (We also got to bypass the line for seating at dinner…not everyone loved our little name-tagged band, I’ll say that.) We got into buses and headed over to Douglas, where we would be running a 5K or a Half Marathon around the site of the Treadwell gold mine.
The HS cross country coach explained the courses to us. I had planned on only doing the 5K, so I tuned out a little once she finished explaining that part. After she explained about the “small water crossing” (yeah…they speak a different language in Alaska from what I heard!) and the out and back, she said that if people wanted to do 8, they could skip the out and back portion. I kind of wish I’d known that earlier because I might have tried 8 – but I knew I had whale watching scheduled for that evening and I didn’t want to chance missing it. Bummer. But there’s always next year!! One cool thing was that a couple of big ultra runners – Houston Lawes and Geoff Roes – were running the half, so even those of us doing the 5K can say we ran a course with them!
It was damp and drizzly, but the course – while challenging even on the 5K – was beautiful!! I had fun splashing through puddles on the trail, and it really helped me have fun and remember why I like running in the first place. It’s not about the times I get in races, it’s about the experience – being outside and taking in the world around me.
When we finished (John tried his hardest to convince me onto the half course, but I knew – to the pole, then to Mila to report the time), we walked back over to the shelter where there was a nice fire waiting for us.
I headed back to the ship on the first bus so I could get cleaned up, explore Juneau a bit, and head out for my excursion.
I was hungry, and it was between time for most food other than ice cream, so I opted to eat in Juneau. Here
Totally cool place! I had an Alaskan White and chicken fingers! Some more pictures…
(sawdust on the floor)
Juneau was cool. Sadly, it’s got a lot of the same kind of jewelry shops you see in the Caribbean, but it’s got some nice shops as well. If there’s time, you can do the Mt. Roberts Tram
I didn’t want to chance it. If it had been a pretty day, I might have.
I also saw a bald eagle!
I went back to the ship to drop off my purchases (hoodie and a pint glass from the Red Dog), then went back outside to wait for my excursion.
I know this is pic-heavy, and the excursion really will be, so I’m going to break today up into two posts. 🙂 You’re welcome!