As I mentioned in the last blog, our Thursday was technically a day at sea because we were not getting off the boat. We did have some sights to see, however, because it was the day we were scheduled to go through Tracy Arm. I'll warn you now that this is a very picture-heavy blog (some of you will likely love that, others will be bored with all the pictures of scenery! LOL)
Because Tracy Arm is technically in Alaskan waters (we think), we considered this our first day IN Alaska....and so we put out our first of two Alaska door magnets (our main picture on this blog today)----which we also made over 50 copies of and shared with all our DISBoard fish extender friends, as well! :) Even though Tracy Arm was the highlight of the day...we had several other things on the agenda....so I'll talk a bit about some of those before we get to the scenic view(s).....
We awoke to a VERY different experience than we had gone to bed with. You'll recall that the day prior when we were sailing from Vancouver up towards Alaska that we had rain and clouds and wind and waves---and that the ocean was tossing us about. Well, today, the sun was out, there were far fewer clouds, we could see land and the horizon and the water was MUCH calmer and very pretty. Here is the view from our cabin (I have fallen in love with taking pictures through our "Navigator's Veranda"----this just means we don't have a "real balcony"....what we have is a balcony that instead of having no wall at all, it has a large open porthole with no glass----honestly it's pretty much the same as having a "real balcony" except that the opening is a little smaller and it's much cheaper. On this trip, however, I'm finding that I love the way the opening frames our pictures!)....and I also love standing out on the balcony to look out at the sea (with binoculars in this case):
First on the agenda was a pajama breakfast. This is kind of a DISBoards group tradition that we first experienced on our 2007 TransAtlantic voyage (the first trip we sailed on when we knew about the DISBoards and had connected with so many online friends). Basically, everyone gets up early and meets in the lobby atrium in their pajamas and we all go to breakfast at one of the table service restaurants in our pajamas. It's a silly but very fun tradition. Here are some pictures of both Jason and I and some of our fellow DISers:
Jason and I didn't really eat much at breakfast (some orange juice and yogurt) because we were saving room in our bellies because we had reservations for brunch at Palo (the fancier adult restaurant) in the late morning/early afternoon. So after hanging out and chatting with our DIS friends at breakfast (and eating our yogurt, of course) we headed up to the room to finish getting ready for our brunch. We had done brunch once before on a previous cruise but weren't entirely impressed because neither of us eats seafood and there's a lot of that on the buffet and menu. I did also, however, remember that there was also a nice selection of fancy cheeses----and I had a serious craving for cheese (Johanna and Marika should be so proud of me!! hehehe). So we decided to give it another shot. We're so glad we did. Last time we did brunch I think we allowed ourselves to just focus too much on the seafood and not see (or SEA----LOL) past it.....but today we ignored that section altogether and found TONS of great food to eat. Here are some shots of the menu and us at brunch:
(That last picture is of our Palo server, Cornelia. She served us dinner on the last cruise and hooked us up with this lunch....she's from Bosnia and we adored her!!)
Now, as I mentioned, today was the day we would sail through Tracy Arm. Tracy Arm is a fjord here in the Alaskan waters. A fjord, for those who don't know, is a trench or canal that was carved out by a glacier. Tracy Arm is one of the most picturesque fjords in the area and is also one that is accessible by cruise ship AND which boasts a lot of wildlife and still has a glacier present. To say that this fjord is amazing would be the understatement of the century. If you've been reading this blog, you'll remember I have these awe-inspiring moments when I think about the vastness of the oceans or the big trees in Muir Woods....and if you read our last blog, you'll recall I was stupefied by the European people's ability to live and populate the mountainous terrain we saw on our Mediterranean cruise. Well...take all that and bundle it up and you'd know my thoughts on Tracy Arm. If I was stunned how civilization was able to exist in the terrain of the Med----I was even more humbled by what the terrain of Alaska looks like WITHOUT any human intervention. It's truly breathtaking. I can't even describe it very well other than to say that the water is as calm as glass as you enter the fjord and the rock walls just rise out of the water so close to the ship you can't even believe it----but the water is CRAZY deep beneath you. As you enter, there is no ice but the farther in you get the more ice floats you see mixed in with waterfalls and plant and tree life and wildlife until you reach the end and you see this HUGE amazing glacier. UNBELIEVABLE!!! And one of the coolest thing is that because of the weight of the ice, the crystals are so densely compressed that the ice, and in some places the water, is literally aqua/blue. We saw tons of wildlife, too----humpback whales, dall's porpoises, seals, mountain goats, tons of different sea birds....It was stunning and I know I'm not doing it justice by trying to describe it here, so I'll just share some pictures (there's a lot here, but I promise this is only a portion of what we took):
(Sorry there aren't more pictures of wildlife....our camera isn't particularly good at taking shots that are too zoomed in so we couldn't really get any of the mountain goats, whales or porpoises we saw......but I did include there at the begining a picture of some seals resting on ice floats. In fact...seals were EVERYWHERE. We got very close to the glacier as you can kind of see in the pictures, but we had to turn around before we got too close because we reached a point there were just SO MANY seals laying out on ice that the captain was afraid we'd hurt them if we proceeded any further! It was incredible!!!)
I should also note that in the pics above you may notice Jason and I wearing two different scarves....and shout outs are deserved: the black scarf with the DCL Alaska logo on it was a gift from our AMAZING Travel Agent, Doris (who books ALL our cruise vacations for us!!) and the very fun orange and black scarf was knitted for me by my boss and friend, Steven. (And, Steven, I got TONS of compliments on that scarf....so if you're reading this blog, which I hope you are----that scarf from all those years ago is still a very big hit!! *smile*)
Another fun feature of the afternoon was seeing some "friends" on deck----in very fun outfits! We were very happy to see them because up to this point we'd be disappointed that they didn't get any fun themed costumes...but they waited until today to break them out....so here they are........
Eskimo Diva Minnie
Koda & Kenai (from Brother Bear)
Mountain Climbing Goofy
....we missed Mickey this day (don't worry....we have a pic with him from later in the cruise)...but his costume is a yellow rain hat and waders....and at first he looked a bit like "serial-killer-from 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' Mickey" (LOL!!!!) but then we redubbed him "Deadliest Catch Mickey"!!
We really could have looked at Tracy Arm forever it was that amazing----but unfortunately, the ship did have to eventually turn around and head back out to sea so we could get to our next port. That ended up being fine for us, however, because just as it was time to head out of the fjord we had appointments for manicures! Jason enjoyed the pedicures so much he decided we should get our hands done, too!! The theme of this leg of our trip is---pamper, pamper, pamper!!!
After the manicures, nails glowing, we got dressed for dinner (dalmation ties this evening):
....then took a picture with Donald:
....then went and saw "Golden Mickeys" which they were able to stage for us tonight because the seas were MUCH calmer. (In fact, besides some VERY minor winds up on deck...the weather couldn't have been much better honestly! Even the scarves we were wearing I wore mainly so we could post pics of them in the blog----not because it was cold enough to need them! *smile*) "Golden Mickeys" was a delight, as always and I was even able to get some decent photos of the show (no flash, of course)....the opening number and one of my favorite numbers----Tarzan doing some aerial acrobatics on a rope!: