Inside Passage Journals

Cruising the Inside Passage

A July 1993 trip to Inside Passage by Bobbi

Quote: We took a Holland America cruise of the Inside Passage with our kids (8 & 10) and Grandma (80). It was a great success, with different shore activities in every port and absolutely spectacular scenery.

Cruising the Inside Passage

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Overview

Quote:
Glacier Bay and College Fjord, of course; the best thing was that our ship, the Rotterdam, had a naturalist on board who was on the PA system narrating what we were seeing as we cruised these waters. He also came on periodically (but briefly--he wasn't a nuisance!) when we were surrounded by a school of Orcas, or passing an area of coastline with bald eagles on every tree.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

We were on a cruise ship, but there are also ferries that ply these waters. You've no choice but to go by boat; the roads are not through from one city to the next!

Ketchikan

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Attraction | "Ketchikan--Creek Street Historic District"

Quote:
This was the most famous redlight district in Alaska, which is now being converted into shops. The boardwalk sort of zigs and zags over Ketchikan Creek, and the whole area is very quaint in appearance. There are a lot of racy tales about it, as you might imagine, and some rather famous 'ladies' once lived and worked here. Mostly they lived and worked alone, however--the law said that any house where more than two women lived was an illegal brothel, and these brothels were strictly legal! As you might imagine, this was also a popular spot during Prohibition...

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Ketchikan
Ketchikan
Inside Passage, Alaska

Quote:
This may not be the biggest glacier, even in Alaska, but it is very easy to get to, and with a visitor center right there with displays explaining the creation of glaciers, it is very informative as well.

The visitor center is near the foot of the glacier, and beside the lake at its base. The glacier itself extends more than ten miles, but this is only visible from the air. Still, you can get some idea of the majesty of glaciers on a visit to the Mendenhall.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Juneau--Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Valley
Inside Passage, Alaska

Sitka Nature Cruise

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Attraction | "Sitka--Nature Cruise"

Quote:
The day we docked in Sitka, we took a 'shore excursion' that was actually a nature cruise in a little zodiac. We saw several bald eagles, which are pretty easy to spot since they always perch on the very highest branch, and really stand out with their round white heads. We also saw harbor seals, sea otters (mothers with their pups), a humpback whale feeding (5 or 6 blows before a terminal dive lasting 6-8 minutes), and a bald eagle's nest with an eaglet in it--and, of course, an adult guarding it. We had a glorious sunny day, and a wonderful time.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Sitka Nature Cruise
The dock
Inside Passage, Alaska

Disenchantment Bay--Hubbard Glacier

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Attraction

Quote:
We had great weather and calm seas during our cruise, so we were able to get within 1 1/2 miles of the Hubbard Glacier in 700 feet of water. This is a very active glacier, and it calves (throws off 'bergy bits'--tiny icebergs) every couple of minutes. There is a rumble like thunder whenever this happens; the Tlingits called it 'White Thunder.' The Hubbard Glacier is a huge river of ice, 90 miles long, beginning in Canada. It is a tidewater glacier, which means that it terminates in a body of water that is affected by tides. What you see in Disenchantment Bay is a craggy wall of ice 300 feet high and 3 miles wide. To the right is the entrance to Russell Fjord, which was complete...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Disenchantment Bay--Hubbard Glacier
Inside Passage
Inside Passage, Alaska

College Fjord

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Attraction

Quote:
This fjord, and these glaciers, were named by an expedition headed by Edward Harriman (father of Averill, who also came), which included John Muir. They took many photographs (c. 1889) and wrote six volumes of scientific studies, whish enable us to know what has happened to these glaciers in the past century. The Wellesley Glacier has a high ice cliff at the water's edge, like the Hubbard. You can see caves that have been created by melt water streams within the glacier. At low tide you can see the moraine at its base. It descends very steeply; by contrast, the Yale glacier to its right slopes very gradually toward the sea. The Yale Glacier is also short, and not very active; it has alders ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

College Fjord
College Fjord
Inside Passage, Alaska

Holland America

Attraction

Quote:
This cruise is all about location, location, location--and not just the ports of call! The landscape is so fantastic, and you remain close to shore at all times, so that you get a great view of the coastline. Also, because you are cruising the Inside Passage, and not the open sea, the ride is quite smooth and there is little chance of seasickness.

This is a terrific destination, and I highly recommend it.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Holland America
Inside Passage
Glacial Bay, Alaska

Ketchikan

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Attraction | "Ketchikan--Tlingit village"

Quote:
The day we docked in Ketchikan, we took the shore excursion to the Tlingit village, Saxman. A bus took us there, and we were treated to a traditional Tlingit dance by the Cape Fox dancers and the Naa Kahidi Theater. They have about 25 totem poles on display, and we were also given an explanation of the meanings of the various symbols and the entire pole. They will also take commissions to carve one for you, if you are willing to spring for $5000 per foot. I found this experience a bit put on, almost as if I were in the Disney recreation of a Tlingit village. The totem pole with Abraham Lincoln was a particular non-favorite of mine. Still, it was interesting to learn about a culture previous...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 27, 2000

Ketchikan
Ketchikan
Inside Passage, Alaska

Juneau

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Juneau is in a spectacularly beautiful setting, surrounded as it is by mountains and glaciers, and cozied up to the Gastineau Channel. It is very large inland area (second only to Sitka in North America) but quite small in population (30,000). Half of the workforce are government employees, and the downtown area is very small. The surrounding terrain is very steep, and much of the city itself is built on the rubble from gold mines. The most astonishing thing to me is that the highways out of town run for perhaps 40 miles north, 3 miles south, then stop--they do not connect Juneau to any other cities. There are lots of different things to do in and around Juneau. A visit to the Mendenhall Gl...Read More