Our day in Vancouver had been superb. With friends, a good meal and wine and we arrived back on board in time for the usual safety drill and sail-away cocktails, meeting a good number of people we had met on previous voyages. And so we headed north.

Our visits to Ketchican 3 and a hlaf, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka, were all excellent. The weather cooperated pretty well, and nothing was spoiled by rain. In Ketchican we tripped out to a totem museum and gazed in wonder at the carvings and houses, and in Juneau we bussed to the Mendenhall Glacier, iridescent blue with its neighbourly waterfall pouring forth from the mountains. On the return journey two black bears chose to lope along the road, to the astonishment of all of us, especially the driver!

In Skagway we took the White Pass train up to the top, viewing the trails of old prospectors and adventurers from the Gold Rush of the 1890’s – an excellent experience. The ship took us to the Hubbard Glacier and danced pirouettes to allow a good view for all. Awesome. In Sitka we visited the site of the raising of the first US flag in Alaska after the purchase from the Russians! And back south to Victoria in British Columbia for a pre-booked boat trip to view the whales. And what a trip it was. Just 4 of us in the boat and the Captain took us in amongst the Humpbacks and Orcas as they dived and swam around us. Then on to view the seals, sealions, sea otter and bird life. A most exhilarating afternoon.

In Astoria we were able to pass on the ‘ale tour’ this time and meet up with friends Doug and Ruth and visit the home of Milt and Judi where we could stare at the ocean and watch the deer and elk in the pastures close to their house. In celebration of the this occasion (and we did have Margaret the cruise director with us!), they fired off their vintage black powder cannon!!

A sea day brought us back to San Francisco and the day of debarkation and flight home. All the lectures went well and the shows were well attended and appreciated…but its back home to unpack, launder and prepare for the concert in just a few days time…..Busy, busy!

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