We were at Glacier Bay mid week of our cruise. The next major stopover was Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Its unique feature is that this capital city is basically accessible only by air or sea as it is a coastal city hemmed in by towering snow mountains.
We were surprised that it wasn't larger as it is a very well known glacier. Its fame probably stems from its scenic setting. You can also see clearly the rare blue ice on the glacier itself.
The large gushing waterfall to the side of Mendenhall Glacier adds tremendously to the scenic setting which is further enhanced by the icebergs floating around the base of the tidewater glacier.
We almost gave up trying to find Glacial Gardens but were glad we didn't as it turned out to be quite a unique find - a very lush rain forest right smack in glacier country!
Tom and Margaret posing against the scenic running brook waterfall and upside down hanging trees that the Glacial Gardens are world famous for.
Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
We were very lucky to arrive at the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery when we did because we saw a most interesting activity - strong muscular men struggling to catch salmon from the nursery tanks to release them into the wild !!!
We even spotted a crafty seal who hung around the release chute of the Hatchery waiting for his unwary prey as the salmon swam out from the hatchery out into the open waters.
Our last port of call before leaving Alaska was Kitchikan which is just a short distance from Vancouver, Canada and Seattle in the States. We posed for pictures on the waterfront where Zaandam was docked and then spent the rest of the day exploring the stores and buying souvenirs.
It was only a 2-week vacation - one week self-driving tour followed by one week's cruise on board Holland America's Zaandam. It was however one of our most expensive trips as everything costs more in Alaska. Neither of us have any regrets though as we have always wanted to visit Alaska.
We arrived back home happy but tired, thrilled that we had not only knocked off Alaska from our bucket list but that we had both experienced Prince William Sound on such a clear sunny day and also been blessed to have seen not one but two huge tidewater glacial calving at Glacier Bay !!!
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