In my last post I wrote about a 2007 vacation trip my wife Barb and I made to Alaska, the Bering Sea and Eastern Siberia. On each of our three trips there together we were passengers on a small ship, with around 100 or less passengers. THere are several reasons why visiting Alaska this way is (in our opinion) the only way to go. First and very important is the informal and very friendly atmosphere on the ship such that you really get to know your fellow travelers. The second and perhaps even more important reason is that you are able to get really close to the scenery, the glaciers, and especially the varied wildlife.
This trip was essentially an exploration cruise, following the routes of early explorers to this region of the world, to several locations where few if any humans have set foot before. The Spirit of Oceanus was the flag ship of Cruise West Lines. Sadly, the company stopped operating a few years after we made this trip … the poor economy being partially responsible. Anyway, even though the ship was quite spacious, having so few passengers made it possible to do and see many things as we traveled along the Alaska Sea coast headed to the Aleutian Islands and destinations in the Bering Sea.
It was on day three of the cruise when we experienced for the first time what would become a normal activity throughout the trip. Those who elected to go, were loaded and unloaded into Zodiac rubber inflatable boats off the stern of the ship, and with a crew member at the motor, and another acting as a guide, off we went, boat-by-boat, to explore and see what we could find. Scenery was spectacular with steep snow-capped mountains all around, and our boat was lucky enough to be able to get rather close to a very large and intimidating Gray Whale. We also saw many more species of wildlife, which made for some interesting photographs.
After several hours bouncing up and down in the boat, making photo after photo, we returned to the Oceanus cold, a bit damp, but totally happy with what we’d experienced. After supper that evening, we returned to our cabin and stood on its outside deck to view close up, one of many glaciers we would visit over the time we were at sea. I trust the following photos I made then will give you an overall impression of the joy we had while on this trip. We were very lucky to be able to do this together.
Note: I plan to continue this series in following posts, so check back later to see lots more.