Monday, August 25, 2008
Dolphins, Rainbows, and Lumberjacks
So Sunday was a day just to cruise the "Inside Passage." We tried to adjust our internal clocks to the time here being three hours earlier than where we live, and just when we start to think we're getting it ... we're told once we reach Alaska we have to set our clocks back another hour.
We got dressed up tonight for portraits and had our picture taken with the captain. Every now and then he gets on the shipwide PA, and we love to listen to him. He sounds just like an Austrian grandfather who often can't quite think of the next word he wants to say.
For dinner, we ate in the "Endless Summer" restaurant, one of 13 different eating venues on board.
For the record, the cruise this time around is loaded, with more than 2,600 passengers from 34 countries, and with nearly 1,400 crew, there are about 4,000 people on board. There's a cinema, a library, a chapel, meeting rooms, a casino, several pools and several more hot tubs, a spa, a workout room, a jogging track, places to play basketball, sun bathe, and oh, yes, an Internet cafe, where $100 buys you four hours of connectivity.
But back to dinner. Our seats were one table away from the window, and when the couple by the window left, my wife wondered if there was a way to move over by the window. Well, it was like the restaurant host could read her mind. Within moments, he came and offered to relocate us by the window. A couple waiters just picked up our whole table and moved it.
And that was when the magic began. Within minutes, we were able to watch about a dozen porpoises playfully leap in and out of the water, and as soon as the ship moved past them, the sun hit just right and a magnificent rainbow appeared on the nearby shoreline. It stayed with us for nearly 10 minutes, gaining and waning strength and brightness, until finally the setting sun brought it to an end.
Monday we found ourselves docked at Ketchikan, Alaska's first city. We walked about the city and purchased a few souvenirs, then headed over to "The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show" with about 800 other cruisers. (Four different cruise lines were docked at the same time we were.)
The picture above is from the "Springboard Chop" competition. Lumberjacks would insert wooden "springboards" into the trunk of the tree to reach the thinner part of the trunk. They would then stand on this board - about the size of a surfboard - and chop through the trunk while keeping their balance.
Our team won. Yay!
Tomorrow we dine at one of the fancier establishments on board, go whale watching, and hope to retrieve our passports while we're in Juneau.