Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What We Saw

We saw many amazing things on our cruise on the Disney Wonder, and the excursions we took off the ship. Here are some of the highlights, in no particular order. Whales, mostly their tails, lots of them!

Blue snow! Who knew there was such a thing? Here's what we learned: freshly fallen snow contains large amounts of trapped air which reflects white light directly back to our eyes. As the snow settles, the individual flakes change from crystals to rounded grains of ice. The weight of new snow piling on these grains presses them together, reducing the air even more between them. In time, the compacted ice grains form a solid mass of ice. When light strikes this mass it is bent or refracted inside the solid ice. Only the blue spectrum is transmitted back to our eyes! Thanks to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center for that information.

We made it to Alaska's Capitol building in Juneau. We had to take a taxi because our ship made it into port much later than expected due to stormy weather the evening before.

We made it back to the ship and then disembarked for our Disney excursions: whale watching and the Mendenhall Glacier.
More glaciers!

We saw a lot of the local wildlife; lots of bald eagles, seals, sea lions, the whales, as seen above...
Oh, and on one of our excursions, the "Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Raptor Center and Totems Walk" where we were supposed to see scads of wildlife, here's what we saw:

Yes, that's right. Two, yes, two wild Banana Slugs. Yeah, that's right! I know you're all jealous. We braved a hike in a pouring rainstorm for those slugs in all their splendor! The owl and eagle were recuperating in the Bird Sanctuary at the end of the trail.
We took an awesome train ride from Skagway, the White Pass and Yukon Route, which I believe was our best off ship (non-Disney) excursion. The White Pass climbs almost 3000 feet in just 20 miles, includes cliff-hanging turns, two tunnels and numerous bridges and trestles. When it was constructed in 1901, the steel cantilever bridge was the tallest of its kind. Disney husband and I had a great time on this ride!
Look how deep the snow was at the top! This is a photo of the train next to a snowbank.
And of course, we saw characters!


  1. Did you get to go stand on a glacier?

    These photos are great. And wild slugs, awesome.

    It looks like you both had a great trip, I am envious.

  2. I wish we had, we tried to get on a part of the Mendenhall Glacier, but ran out of time! The excursion didn't give us enough time there, I was really upset about that!

  3. Wild Banana Slugs. Actually, you're probably two of the few people on earth to have seen them rampaging through their natural habitat. But I'd tell everyone that they were 3 feet long!

    My favorite part: The Train ride!!! Now that's awesome.

  4. The train ride was our favorite, most definitely, Lee! I would recommend it to anyone. The other excursions we picked-not as much!

  5. Actually, the whale watching was my favorite, but the train ride was a close second.

  6. Oops, Sorry for speaking for you, DH, I thought the train ride was your fave too!

  7. A few years ago I got to go stand on this glacier.
    It was July and the difference in temperature from the buildings on ground (dirt) level to going up on the glacier was shocking!

    I have always wanted to do the cruise to Alaska and see a water level glacier and its calves.

    I have family on Vancouver Island and when I take the ferry over there, often the captain will come on and let everyone know if there are whales to be spotted.

    I did think of you two when you were close to where I am!

  8. That looks great Gaylin. Thanks for the link! We'll have to try to get together on a Disney vacation sometime!


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