We got to know Juneau fairly well since we always seemed to be flying or sailing in or out of that place. We docked in Auke Bay, just north of town, for an easy pick up of our Maryland visitors. They thought we had upgraded when they arrived at the dock, but sadly, upon finding out that this lovely 178ft boat cost $230,000/wk to rent, we decided to stick with Hello World.
We got started the very morning after their late night arrival and had amazing weather...for THREE DAYS IN A ROW. We still don't know what to think of that. That was better weather than we had for the previous 4 months combined. These guys were good luck charms for sure. Which is why, of course, we spotted a pod of 10-15 orcas on our very first day out (had we seen orcas in the past 4 months before this, you ask? Ha! No!)
We watched these guys for at least an hour. And a random humpback joined in on the other side - it was hard to know where to look. Another orca picture for you:
We anchored in Taku Harbor that afternoon, giving M&M some time to try SUPing for the first time. We've decided Alaska is the perfect place to learn to SUP (or surf or kayak for that matter) since you really don't want to fall into that water.
We threw out a crab trap, but alas, no crab. Instead we got a hermit crab and a few sea urchins - a first on HW!
We let the hermit crab go on his merry way, but kept the big sea urchin for a Fear-Factor-appetizer later on (sea urchin and salmon roe on crackers with goat cheese - rather delicious believe it or not!):
From Taku we headed to Tracy Arm - recommended by just about everyone for a great place to take visitors and holy crap, were they right. We pulled into the Arm just as a giant iceberg was rolling over (note to self, don't climb on those guys).
More paddleboarding ensued, but we also perfected our glacier collection techniques. That's right, we have more than one, and they both work. You can collect them with a boring old bucket:
Or you can lasso them (and apparently we didn't get any pictures of this, but I swear it works!). As you might know, glacier ice lasts a REALLY long time since it is so dense. This rather large growler (small iceberg) lasted us about a day of heavy drinking.
It turns out Jason likes to over-ice his drinks, so he was in heaven.
The following day we headed up into Tracy Arm to see how close we could get to the tidewater glaciers. The scenery was beyond spectacular.
We hit a fork in the arm and decided to try for North Sawyer Glacier first. We didn't know if we'd even get a look at either one of them because sometimes the bergs are so big you can't get too close. North Sawyer had a pretty clear path, so we got fairly close. Close enough that the chartplotter had us on land (ala Mexico!) since it has receded so much since the chart was drawn.
We managed to see it calve twice. McKenzie was overly impressed.
Then we headed back to try to see the South Sawyer Glacier. This one had much more ice on the way up to the head, which Jason expertly navigated around.
After that most phenomenal day, we certainly couldn't beat it. We headed back to Taku again and this time went onshore for the first time in a few days. M&M managed to get their landlegs back, but only after doing a few Monster Mash moves
We also managed to find the most awesome swing ever.
We made it back to Juneau and had a few days to explore the area a bit more. We went to Mendenhall Glacier with all of the other tourists in town
Fortunately we realized if you got off the beaten path a little and were willing to risk your life crossing a raging river, you really had the place to yourself.
We also hiked to the top of the hill in town
And if you have plenty of time, it's definitely the way to go. Plus you get a discounted tram ride down - how can you beat that?
And for our last event in town, we (unintentionally) crashed a private bowling party. Matt thought Alaskans were quite friendly when they started introducing themselves to him at the bowling alley - but it turns out they were just trying to figure out who the crashers were.
We couldn't have had a more amazing week - thanks Matt and McKenzie!!!