“The Titanic Theme!”

 

DAY FIVE – Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Today was “glacier day” – Mercury continued to cruise towards Yakutat Bay and the Hubbard Glacier this morning.  As we turned into the opening of outer Yakutat Bay, “small” icebergs (some the size of your average SUV, others the size of a refrigerator) appeared in abundance.  Our speed slowed as the Captain carefully maneuvered through the colorful bergs; while we were happily snapping photos of the exposed part (“It looks like a horse!” “That one looks like a panda.”), we were only looking at one third of their bulk while the remainder lurks underwater.

Icebergs  range in color from white (relatively “new” ice, still full of air bubbles – these are fun when they calve off of the glacier, as the air bubbles make them sizzle, crackle and pop!), or a beautiful blue (old ice which has been compressed until there’s virtually no air left in them, which is what makes them refract the blue spectrum of light) through striped or black (from the rock and crushed boulders scraped from the valley floor during their travels. )

 After a few minutes, we were surrounded by small ‘bergs (“brash ice”), and it became obvious that the inner bay was ice choked and impassable.  (The Mercury has a Class 3 icebreaker hull, but it would have taken hours to clear a path to a closer view of the glacier and several hours more to extricate ourselves from the inner bay.)  This was one of those moments when we could sit back & enjoy the vistas available to us without any disappointment, since our first cruise afforded us a delightfully close view of Hubbard Glacier, Russel Fjord and actively calving chunks of ice (some 300  feet tall!) A few of the first-timers caught a distant view of calving activity through their binoculars, and most others weren’t really aware of what they were missing.  (If you gather a group of people together, there will always be at least one who complains bitterly about something the cruise line has zero control over – the weather conditions! I learned to simply distance myself from that type of personality, quickly, as my personality type aches to “set them straight” LOL!). After leaving outer Yakutat Bay, we set course for Ketchikan, some 447 nautical miles away. We’ll cruise through the night, and arrive around 1 PM tomorrow.

I located a rarity aboard ship, an electrical outlet situated next to a comfy seat, and spent awhile catching up this travelogue; we wandered shipboard and enjoyed watching the sea slip by, and savored the opportunity to just kick back and relax before fussing with dinner preparations.  Tonight’s dress was formal, allowing me to show off my pale blue beaded dress & jacket and a brand new acquisition; a glacier topaz pendant and matching earrings! Tom looked dashing in a suit (something he seldom wears now that he telecommutes.) One slight shock to my composure as we were dressing for dinner– when I bought the blue formal, I failed to note the deep slit in the back of the skirt. It reaches from the floor-length hem to the back of my knee!  When I did an “inspection turn” in front of our stateroom mirror, I realized the slit exposed my braces all the way up past the calf-hugging, Velcro-cinched collar! Elegance combined with clunky. . . . .Oh, heck, get over it, Chris!

We attended the performance of “Dance Around the World” in the ship’s theater – thoroughly enjoyable, and it included another opportunity to see Gaby & Jean-Claude perform. A short show (45 minutes), it left us with some time to kill before dinner. The dining room doors do not open for late-seating until 8:30 PM, so we went to one of the lounges to relax and savor the slight pitch & roll motion which affirms we really are at sea.  A lively karaoke session was in progress at the other end of the lounge; as we settled at a table, I realized what song was being performed by a participant and began laughing.  Still surrounded by iceberg- laden water, it’s a bit of a hoot to hear “My Heart Will Go On”, the theme song from the movie Titanic!!

Once again, I have to comment on how fortunate we were in our assigned selection of table-mates.  Great food and attentive service are much more enjoyable when the conversation flows easily around the table!  (For shy & private folk, a table for two can be requested when making the cruise reservations.) We have found ourselves dawdling at the table after dessert was long finished, just telling stories or laughing at the antics of our entertaining waiter.

 

DAY SIX –Wednesday,  June 20th 2007

A relaxed, no-rush morning – time to watch the scenery from our window as we sailed towards Ketchikan, visit the “Omelette Bar” for breakfast,  and then move up several decks to the Cova Café (source of great views to starboard and the location of my electrical outlet.) Our vantage point was perfect; we watched two of the ship’s tenders being prepped for launch and I tapped away on my keyboard.  Of course, by the time I had put the final touches on my Day Three/Day Four blog (finally), the ship had lost its Internet connection!

We dropped anchor around 12:15 PM in Ketchikan and the tenders began taking passengers ashore at 1:00 PM.  Seas were relatively calm, but. . . . . ship moving at anchor, tender shifting in the current and a gangway-in-motion to transfer from one to the other?  Not a brilliant endeavor!  (I’ve managed to negotiate boardwalks, gravel paths, lots of stairs and other obstacles without a single fall – let’s keep it that way! We stayed aboard and watched the scenery (through a serious down-pour; Ketchikan receives about 227 inches of rain per year!) until the ship moved to dock around 3:30 PM.  That gave us a much steadier gangway to negotiate and afforded ample time to photograph the lush gardens in Whale Park, roam the (slippery!) boardwalk of Creek Street (the Red -Light District of gold-camp days) and chose the shops we wanted to visit. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and were only moderately rain-soaked when we returned to Mercury.

After some lazy time in our stateroom, we decided to skip the “observational comic” who was performing in the theater this evening and be lazy a little longer before dressing for dinnerJ  Mercury got underway as we were sitting down for dinner, giving us ever-changing scenery along the Inland Passage as we ate. During dinner, a pod of playful Orcas passed the ship on the starboard side; happily, that made their antics clearly visible to us and to our table-mates!  Up to Deck 12 and the Navigators Club for Aspen coffees before retiring to our stateroom.  Another Cirque de Soliel (sp?) performance was being broadcast, so we went to sleep about 2 AM!

DAY SEVEN – Thursday, June 21, 007

We spent the at sea, sailing towards Vancouver and scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning at 7 AM. A bit of the day was occupied with the logistics of customs forms, final photographs and preparing to part with all but our carry-on luggage at 11 PM tonight (in preparation for disembarkation tomorrow morning).  Most of our purchases have been stowed in an extra tote we packed for this purpose, so why did our clothing and accoutrements mightily resist fitting back into the suitcases which transported them hither?!  Well, yes, there were the three tall Celebrity Cruise glasses which I wrapped in protective layers of clothing. . . . . .and I wasn’t attempting a neat, wrinkle-reducing arrangement of the clothing. . . .somehow, each item now required more space than it needed when packed in San Antonio!  There were laws of Physics at work here, or perhaps Murphy’s Law.

 

The rest of our day was spent watching an ice-sculpture demonstration, searching out the ice-cream sundae bar, relaxing, and closing out this travelogue. Unfortunately, I ran out of time & Internet service before posting this, so it must wait until we return home tomorrow evening.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’ve had a Wonderful time!!  (NOTE:  For those who would naturally expect a private e-mail from me during the cruise (Shan & Jus – how are you and how is Sara?  Thomas – hope you are surviving DSW, and have you done a food shopping yet?  All – Do you think the cats will speak to us when we return? …………..it turns out that MS Outlook and the ship’s Internet connection do not play well together!!)

Love to all,

MammaCat

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