"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Alaskan Dream Cruise: A Whale of a Fourth of July

We woke on the 4th of July to this beautiful view. (We saw a lot of these quiet mornings and evenings on our cruise. ) But it wasn't quiet for long. This was going to be a real kicker of a day.

The passengers were all divided up into four color coded groups of twelve each (We were the orange "team.") There were four activities for the day: kayaking, DIB rides, RTV, and hiking. The groups would rotate through the activities for about 1 1/2 hours each, so that everyone would get to do everything, if they so desired.

The kayaks were all lined up on deck ready to be the first to go out. They took the most time to get people into and launched. The crew were real experts at doing this, so that everything went super smoothly.

Emily, one of our expedition leaders, offered a little mini lesson in kayaking.

They had a spiffy kayak launcher that made it easy to get into the kayak and effortless to get the kayak into and out of the water.  So smart to have this. Just imagine the spills it must save everyone, not to mention the liabilities.  The crew (in orange vests) assisted every passenger (in yellow vests).

And they're off, like a flock of turtles!

The DIB set off with 1/3 of the passengers...

and Leonty got us up to speed for driving the RTVs.

Our great new friends, Dave and Judy were on the orange team with us.

Go Team Orange!

Rick at the wheel of the RTV. They were really bumpy.

Our caravan of RTVs. 

When it was our turn to go out on the DIB it was cold and rainy, and we were tired and just wishing it would be over already, when our DIB captain Rica spotted this young black bear chomping down on some grass along the shore. She got us as close as she could and we sat and watched for a long time. Not tired anymore!

All the happy campers made it back to the ship in one piece, with no incidents and had a typically great meal. After dinner the best kind of fireworks began…Zippy little Dall's porpoises started dashing around the ship. These marine mammals are the fastest small cetaceans. They look just like small orcas. They don't arch out of the water like most porpoises, they just barely break the surface or skim right under the surface, zig-zagging really fast, making this zippy sound. Zzzzzp.

At about the same time, humpback whales started to appear around us in small groups. In the distance they were breaching and feeding. 

Close to the ship they travelled along with us, cruising and diving like they do. Showing their flukes before the deep dive. At one point one surfaced right next to the ship and scared the **** out of us who were close to it.  We were jumping and hollering just like kids at their first fourth of July fireworks. 

It went on for hours until we were too tired to stay up any longer. Can you imagine? And it wasn't the last time we saw humpbacks…


  1. This cruise sure has EVERYTHING you could possibly want to do! You must have been terribly excited with the bear and whale sightings. It would be hard to get to sleep after all of that!

    1. Plus, I haven't mentioned this yet, it doesn't get dark! At midnight it feels like 6:00pm and it's very hard to go to bed. We were exhausted when it was all over. In a good way.

  2. To Kayak or RTV.....difficult decisions. Looks fun no matter which excursion. Sounds like the perfect 4th celebration :-)

    1. Fortunately we didn't have to choose. We got to do them all! Plus go for a little hike. (It's kind of hard to get enough exercise.) I'd love to take a hiking cruise - wouldn't that be cool?


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