Ulu Knife Cheese Platter

Well, I finally used the Ulu knife, we bought in Alaska on a Christmas Cheese platter. This is our previous post on our Ulu purchase.

https://daveandlaurasdream.com/2019/09/24/ulu-knife-from-alaska/

Yummy Cheese Platter with our Alaskan Ulu cutting knife

3 Best things on our Ruby Princess Alaska Cruise Trip

If you have followed us for even just a few posts, you have noticed we like to keep our posts nice and short and to the point. On our recent trip to Alaska we enjoyed these three things the most:

1- The peaceful, spiritual feelings when out in nature. Whether we were staring at a glacier, hiking thru the woods, or out in the bay watching whales. We loved the outdoor time. Alaska is truly the last frontier feeling for us and we absorbed it all in. So the walk over to the Mendenhall glacier/Nugget fall, the Whale watching tour and the time off the bus ride that took us up the mountains – were all the best. Laura was truly not interested in going to Alaska, and agreed for David, who wanted Alaska for years, but Laura became a true believer in Alaska and we both cannot wait to return.

2- The Ruby Princess Cruise ship was beautiful with many high end accents everywhere. Compared to Holland America it was decadent. There was a greater cross section of people on the Princess Cruise, all age ranges and style and we preferred that over Holland America significantly older cruise ages. The Food was superior on the Holland America Ship, but both ships were really tasty.

3- The time together. We are still really in love and find each other interesting to be around, we are each others best friends and playmates. When we are at home, we are so busy with work and kids and household chores. It was nice to enjoy each other again.

We are back to real life, and going to catch up on a few posts, but still enjoying our trip and the memories.

Date Night back on Ruby Princess Leaving Alaska

Were back on the Ruby Princess Cruise ship and having a date night. We are celebrating our Anniversary on Board, before headed over to Vancouver, British Columba. We buy the upgraded King Crab dinner for $29.00 each.

Having crabs for dinner

Its a love boat Anniversary Cake!

We did think the upgrade pricing was worth it, and enjoyed the nite celebrating!

Local Alaskan Products we love and did not love

I am sure you have experienced this, your on vacation, you check out the local stores, and tend to see the same items over and over again. No matter where you go, there they are, so must be what everyone wants. No pictures of T-shirts, but as you imagine, every kind of T-shirt was available. We saw these unique items while in Alaska, and bought few.

We bought a mini totem pole to put in with our Christmas tree, these are hand carved by local Indians, and mid priced, but we don’t typically buy things on trips so splurged.
There were a variety of locally made products for natural healing and we bought this soothing rub made from Devils Club, we have used it several times since this purchase and it worked for David’s sore arm. We love natural products – so will be ordering more from their website in the future.

We did buy some blueberry jam – we like to have our family parties, and thought that this with stories of the Alaskan frontier served with cheese and crackers would be perfect.

You can find smoked Salmon EVERYWHERE. We were told if it is in a can, it is probably Chum Salmon, and that is salmon for their dogs, so be careful when buying (we opted out of this purchase).
For David to shave Boldly!

Kelp Salsa and Kelp Pickles, curry flavored. I tried the kelp pickles on the whale watching tour, so would have bought these again, but doubt any body but me would try them, so did not get any of these kelpie foods.

Unique Alaskan Store products we typically saw while on our Alaskan Cruise.
You can find Blue Berry and Huckle Berry everything in stores. We bought a Huckle Berry Chocolate Bar and when we got home and tasted it, it was … well we would give it a 3 out of 10.

We also bought an ULU – What is that? Check out our Next post….. to find out.

Raptor Sanctuary – Ketchikan Alaska

We walked around the corner and – there was a bald eagle, sitting in the enclosure. We are from Michigan and have seen maybe two bald eagles in our life time (outside of a zoo). In Alaska, it is more like – there is an eagle, there is eagle, there is another. This location, took in injured birds and gave them a home if they could not be returned. I consider that one of the highest honorable things a person can do, care for those who cannot. (guess that is why I am in medicine). Check out these wonderful birds.

Another bird and the handler, explaining the incredible work they do at this facility with birds of prey.
This poor little guy was rehabilitated, but then could not make it on his own in the wild, so they brought him back, and he seems happy here.
One of the many, many Eagles saw in the wild.
A few totems at the site just outside the raptor sanctuary.

Totem Pole Carving in Ketchikan, Alaska

After our delicious crab early lunch, we headed over to check out some totem pole carving at the Alaskan Rainforest Sanctuary.

https://www.alaska.org/detail/rainforest-sanctuary-totem-park-eagles

We walk over to the totem carving shed to see this beauty in progress.

The Totem artist explaining what step he is on now.

He says the whole process will take him about 4 months and he is 3 months into it right now, and this is his first independent project, but has been an apprentice for many years now.

What his final project will be. Notice the hidden Mickey in the corner of this picture!

David and I are both amazed and while we have no real artistic capabilities, we feel inspired. This totem is planned for the raptor center, which is next door and where we are headed next, the bird sanctuary.

All you can Eat Crabs – George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan Alaska

So we wanted all you could Eat Crabs – David wanted King Crabs, but was perfectly happy with these tasty Dungeness Crabs. Guess how many servings David Ate?

Check out this huge giant bowl filled with steamy delicious crab. I have honestly never seen this many crab, or eaten this much ever before. I felt like our waitress, dressed in this cute little fisherman wharf outfit was tossing them out – You get a crab, you get a crab, you get a crab…..

David is so happy and turns out David ate 5 – yes FIVE servings of crab – Crazy huh! I barely ate three, and pushed myself at that. Then he had a delicious piece of local blueberry topped cheese cake.
If you love crab and all you can eat, we would go here for sure – a 100% recommend.

Alaska License Plate

This is my second post on License Plates, I have a few I have been collecting during my travels, but feel free to post your collection too, lets start a new trend!!!

This is a school bus in Skagway, Alaska. But it looked it was currently being used as a tour bus.

1400 year old Tree from Alaska hiking tour

Did you know that Alaska forests are Rain Forests? We did not. Temperate Rainforest: Alaska. The Rain Forests of Alaska. Feel free to read up more here: http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/temprain/trtemprain5.html

This is a 1400year old tree, maybe not old to you, but we were impressed.

So we were all walking thru this forest for approximately 20minutes when we rounded the corner we saw a …….

Alaska License plate

We are going to try and start something new – post license plates from places we have gone, so here is ALASKA! Who knows maybe we will start a trend! Like posting beautiful Doors photographed on Travels, we will post Travel License Plates!

I did check and see if this is allowed, and a lawyer commented this is because they are public and there is no malleus or personal information attached.

Glacier Bay – Alaska – Part 2

This location was so incredibly beautiful we had to make it into two posts. We heard Princess Cruise line is the only cruise line to float into the Bay and get a close up view of the Glaciers. Glacier Bay is a National Park with seven glaciers to view, we saw two and they were amazing!

Check out this link for more details on this incredible location:

https://www.nps.gov/glba/learn/nature/overview-of-selected-glaciers-in-glacier-bay.htm

We did not have a balcony, but if we did we would have had gotten a room on the port side – as the boat enters the bay, stays there for about 30minutes, then completely turns around 180degrees and takes off.

TIP: Get a balcony for this cruise to Glacier Bay on the Port side for the best views!

There are several glaciers on the way floating in, but our favorites and best to view are at the end of the bay, where there is an ice glacier to the left (Margerie Glacier) and a glacier in the front (the Grand Pacific, but it is covered in dirt). We were on the deck and it was almost silent, as people stood, stared, took pictures and admired the glaciers. It was brilliantly sunny, and crisp in temperature, the very perfect day to sip on hot chocolate with rum and lean into the deck overlooking what felt like a spiritual site. Every once in a while there was a crash of ice falling into the water and a loud thunder roar to follow. Birds and sea lions were in the bay, unaffected by our presence. It was Magic!

Boating toward the end of Glacier bay, the pinnacle of the views on the way!

“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and what happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there- with your eyes open- and lived to see it.”  – Anthony Bourdain.

This is the Margerie Glacier, it was our favorite.

This is Grand Pacific glacier above is covered in Dirt

Say goodbye to Glacier Bay!

Glacier Bay, Alaska – Part 1

These were our views from the deck of the Ruby Princess, it was so breathtaking, I am posting in two parts. Few words, mostly pictures

In my mind this is the entrance to Supermans secret layer….
He was floating by on an iceberg.

Skagway, Alaska

Just a few pictures of the town of Skagway. After our Helicopter tour was cancelled, we walked to town and did some shopping while waiting to go on our Gold Panning Tour. We also thought about doing the railway Yukon route – but there was a landslide, and the railway was shut down for the day, and we learned some were stuck up on the mountain waiting for bus trips back down. So we learned this town has ~500residents during the winter, and ~1500 during the summer, the local campsite is booked two years out during the summer and empty in the winter. We really enjoyed just hanging out in town. These are some of the high lights.

Check out the Cruise ship at the end of the street! It looks like a building, but this is the view from the front.

Some signs in Skagway.

Back to the ship.
Skagway, Alaska Visit for a day
Skagway view from back at the Ruby Princess Cruise Ships.

Radiation Detectors at the Skagway Canada Boarder

Ok, most probably only I find this interesting, on the bus ride back from the boarder, we stop at customs and I “detect” some radiation detectors as we drive through. I work in Physics and Radiation Safety, so this to me is awesome cool. I completely understand if it is not for anyone else. Radiation Nerds in the house, speak up!

The yellow and white panels are the detectors.

Welcome to Alaska Sign

Were at the edge of Alaska and Canada on a bus tour. We make a quick stop to take a picture of Welcome to Alaska, and Welcome to Canada!

Welcome to Canada on the other side of this roadside stop.
A few pictures of the view

A view from the bus up the hill.

Stop at the side of the road.

Glacier Gardens – Alaska and spoken native language Video

A series of unfortunate events = Glacier Gardens, Juneau Alaska. This is how they described it in our tour. An interesting place, so lets check it out.

We take a ride up the mountain to see the recovered garden from the landside (unfortunate event) and have a wonderful tour from our guide who wishes us the best in his native language which is not a written language. There are least 17 original major Tribes that are Native to Alaska and of course, over the centuries they branched apart into separate Tribes. Some of the predominant Tribes are the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and the Northern Athabaskan. Today, there are 227 Federally recognized Tribes in Alaska that live in separate Indians Villages as opposed to the Reservations in the lower 48 States.

Our Guide speaking the unwritten language of his clan.

Gardens at the base.

We were only here a short time

The owner – Steve – decided to take fallen trees and make them into sculptures of upside down gardens – the hanging flowers are on top of the root structure of a tree base. Unfortunate the tree has fallen, but beauty has taken over (we do not have any pictures that were post worthy, so this picture is a from Yelp review.
The resident Eagle at Glacier Gardens, there is even a video cam showing the nest and babies inside the greenhouse.

Salmon Hatchery – and Seal eating them all up – Alaska

Sharing a few pictures of our visit to a Salmon Hatchery, they hatch baby chum Salmon and then release them into the wild and after years of living out there, they return to the hatchery and mate and then die. The guide we had said their death is the beginning of new salmon and they fertilize the ground. Plus they are food for so many Alaskan wildlife, including this cute sea lion, eating his fill.

Sea Lion scouting salmon

These are the Salmon returning to spawn.

A million baby salmon in the hatchery – jumping out of the water.

Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls, Juneau Alaska

A bus ride from the cruise dock to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls was only a few minutes from our Port. We had three choices when we arrived at our destination, check out the small museum movie and gift shop – walk over to the river to watch the salmon spawning, or a hike over to the Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls. We choose to hike over, just over 20mins one way. We were really glad we did.

I must admit, on the hike over, I kept thinking we could be eaten by a bear. We had a saying – Bears don’t like surprises, so we talked while walking, nice and loud.

Smells like Heaven

The plaque says – Romeo, the spirit of Juneau’s friendly black wolf lives on in this wild place.

End of Road, Juneau Alaska

On our tour in Juneau the bus driver told us about the one and only road that leads to no where in Juneau. The road only goes from one side of town to another, and connect to nothing, the only way in our out of Juneau (the capital of Alaska) is by boat or plane. He laughed when he told us, they always recover a stolen car, because there is no where to take it.

End of the Road 24 miles ahead, 36 total miles of road is all there is in Juneau, Alaska.

Whale Watching in Juneau, Alaska

Were in Juneau Alaska – On the excursion agenda – Whale Watching, with Allen Marine Tours – and guess what we saw …Whales, lots of them. First lets set the stage, they pick us up in a bus from the pier, and it is overcast and raining – a lot of rain. But when I see the boat I am excited, it is covered and at least we can stay inside. I am not a cold weather girl, so am dressed warm and ready for this.

Heading on to our ship for whale watching, lets Go!

Inside the boat it is warm and we are headed out to look for some whales…

Babe did you get that, nope missed it, but here is a great picture from my husband!

Yes, we saw this!
A whale tail. We were told if you see a whale tail, you are blessed with another year or two of life. Well we saw dozens of tails, so glad to live to 90!

There was a guarantee, if you do not see a whale you get back $100, no worries there, we saw lots of whales.

We also had a wonderful buffet dinner on the whale watching boat and it was all Alaska based locally made foods, we loved it!

A Yummy dinner of everything delicious from Alaska.
The Blueberry dessert was my Favorite, but David loved the Reindeer.
Honestly, I am falling in love with Alaska, and this was supposed to be a trip for David and me just tagging along. One day in and I am enjoying this A LOT!