Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday July 14 - Anchorage, June, and Ship

Anchorage in the morning. In the few hours we had before our bus left, we headed to the Alaska Native Heritage Center at the north end of town. Bryn went in to visit June and Charlie Pardue. June was the Aleutian basketweaver consultant on a basket exhibit, and Charlie is one of this summer's featured artists at the center. The boys took two tours around the lake and visited the 5 different house areas and cultural areas of Alaska, plus enjoyed some of the traditional dancing and athletic demonstrations. Meanwhile, Bryn chatted with June and toured around the exhibits, met the other weavers, and looked at the watercraft that June helped do the hide fitting and sewing on. We met her grandson Derek, who was one of the traditional dancers. Reed mastered the Eskimo Yo-Yo, made of seal fur, caribou hide and antler. The time went way too quickly, then we had to go out front and catch a cab back. While we waited, Bret spotted a moose munching some willow on the side of the entrance.

We returned to the hotel and boarded the bus, only to have to wait for another family who thought the leaving time was 1:30. Some of them didn't make it, they had to join us at the airport, the bus's last pick-up point. We drove west along Beluga Bay and Turnagain Inlet. Saw a mama bear and 2 large cubs on the side of the road. Had a nice stop at the Alaska Conservation Center where we filled in the gaps on our animal count. They had lynxes, bears, musk ox, caribou, and a pair of gangly yet adorable baby moose.

We made the 4:30 tunnel (1 land tunnel, every hour it is open 15 min north, 15 min south, 15 min for the train, and 15 min for airing out). Out of the tunnel and into Whittier, a town that exists for docking the cruise ships. We are traveling on the Diamond Princess, it has about 2,500 guests. Embarking was a pretty simple process as we only have carry-on luggage. We arrived at our stateroom, Dolphin 717, then went to dinner at the buffet. We shoved off around 8:30 p.m. and had a muster call where we learned how to put on life vests and emergency procedures.

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