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.
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!