September 12-14, 2015 – Cruise to Alaska (Icy Strait Point – Anchorage)
Saturday morning we arrived at Ice Strait Point at 7 o’clock and as there is not a dock here for large ships we had to anchor in the harbor. After breakfast we boarded a tender and headed for shore. Another cloudy and rainy day!
At the dock is a museum showing the history of the 100 year old salmon cannery that was on this site. We took a forest and nature tram tour that started by going through the beautiful rain forest.
Our tram driver has lived in Icy Strait Point his entire life and was able to give us a good picture of what life on the island is like. We came out along the water saw this little Black Tail Deer grazing along the beach.
We stopped on the beach and were able to get off the tram and explore a little - we had a great view of the Statendam anchored in the harbor.
The views across the bay were great even with all the clouds.
After our tram tour we walked around the museum and shops for a while. We were cold and we had to be back on the Statendam by 1:30 as we sail at 2:00 so we boarded a tender and headed back. After lunch we attended a talk titled “Alaska Aviation” about the influence of flight on Alaska. There were stories about the lives of famous bush pilots and the major airlines in Alaska. After dinner we enjoyed the evening show which featured a guitarist/singer/comedian named Duncan Tuck.
Sunday was a day of cruising toward Anchorage. It was very cloudy, foggy and was so windy that they closed off the outside decks so we spent most of the day walking around the ship, and reading in the library.
Monday morning we arrived in Anchorage at 7 am and after breakfast we headed ashore where we took a Spencer Glacier Rail & trail tour. This s a 9 hour tour with a ride from Anchorage to the Spencer Glacier on the Alaska Railroad. After leaving Anchorage we traveled along the shoreline of Turnagain Arm. We watched for Beluga Whales in the arm but, unfortunately, did not see any. We did see a number of Bald Eagles and one even flew alongside the train for a while. The scenery along the way was beautiful – this shows the first dusting of snow of the winter.
More awesome scenery!
We saw a number of glaciers along the way.
After a side trip to Whittier we got back on the main line and the train stopped at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop where those of us hiking to Spencer glacier got off. We met up with a Chugach National Forest Ranger who led us on a short hike to Spencer Glacier. The train continued on to Grandview and then will return to pick us up when we are through with our hike.
This bridge was on a side trail but we hiked over to it so we could see how beautiful it is.
Spencer Glacier was well worth the short hike – beautiful!
There were a lot of small ice bergs floating in Spencer Lake at the base of the glacier - a couple of them were really blue.
We hiked back to the Whistle Stop and only had a short wait for the train. We had a short trip to Portage where when got off the train and on to a bus for the hour long trip back to Anchorage (the train will take 3 hours). Along the way we had a chance to see the beautiful scenery again coming from the opposite direction. We were very happy that we were able to see Beluga Whales in Turnagain Arm – their heads looked like marshmallows in the water. We were glad to get back to the ship as it was a very long but wonderful day. We missed our 5:30 dinner time in the main dining room so we had a quick dinner at the buffet on the Lido Deck and then went to bed. Unfortunately, we missed the Filipino Crew Show at 11:00 pm – we were just too tired.