Alaska Cruise 2017: Part Eight – Day at Sea and Final Destination

It has finally come–our final day aboard ship. This will be a full day at sea with only minimal view of land. We take this opportunity to sleep in a bit and then get breakfast. When we return we see the last of our towel sculptures for the trip–a heart!  Our cabin stewardess was excellent on this trip. She saw to our every need promptly and completely. I should have gotten her photo, but I didn’t think about it.

Ventures onto the deck provided this scene pretty much the entire day. There would be briefings about debarkation procedures and such to attend, and just general relaxing aboard the ship.

One event that we did attend was an ice carving demonstration. This guy was pretty amazing.

He started with a simple block of ice and just started chipping away.

I know that by this point I would have shattered the entire block into nothingness, but he appears to know what he is doing.

Looks like wings. Maybe an angel or a bird?

Jen, the cruise director, pumps up the crowd as he continues his work. The ice is starting to take shape.

Yep, it is starting to look more like an eagle at this point. Do you see the head and beak in the front?

Now the feathers of the wings are taking shape.

And the final product, done in just 23 minutes. Again, I would have a bag of shaved ice left! Incredible!

Checking the view, pretty much the same as before, lots of water, sky, and clouds. Still gorgeous though.

Land ho! Finally, off in the distance I see my beloved mountains! According to the GPS tag of the photo, we are still far enough north that those are Canadian mountains.

But the sun is setting and its time to make sure everything is packed for debarkation. The night is uneventful and when we wake up in the morning I get my first view of Seattle Washington. Yep, there’s the Space Needle! I’ve always wanted to see that!

And there is Mount Rainier! I’ve always wanted to see that as well!

And here they both are together. This is one of those places that is on our list for a return trip where we can spend time. This is not that trip. Duty calls and we must return to our real lives as ordinary workers in the system.

So, with that, it was time to pack up the cameras and prepare for the customs, TSA adventure. It will be nowhere near as exciting as the last few days, but it must be done. By tonight we’ll be back in our own bed in Overton, Texas. It will be many more days before the swaying sensation goes away but hopefully the memories made on this trip will never recede.

Thank you for coming along with us on our trip. I hope that you enjoyed the stories and photos. Watch this site in the future as many of the photos taken on the trip, some shown here and others not, will be made available for sale. Buy them and help pay for our next adventure. If you do, I’ll be sure to share those memories with you as well!

Thank God for the beautiful places to see!

Until next time…

All words and photos copyright 2017 MHampton Photography
Equipment used: Canon 5DS-R, Canon 7DmII, Canon T6S, and various Canon lenses

Alaska Cruise 2017: Part Two – A Day at Sea

The vacation started off great, and kept getting greaterer (sic). Yes, I said greaterer! Neither Karen nor I had any trouble adjusting to life on board a ship. No seasickness. No falling down trying to gain our sea legs. This was great. And our first full day at sea would be no different. While there were not a lot of opportunities for my kind of photography on this day, there was plenty to do, and eat, and see, and eat, and eat. Did I mention there was plenty to eat? You’ve probably heard that there is food 24/7 on a cruise ship. To quote Han Solo, “It’s true. All of it.”

Our view for the day varied little since we were at sea all day.  Most of the time it was just open ocean, as far as you could see.

But we were able to catch occasional glimpses of land off the starboard bow (that’s the right side) of the ship. If I’m reading the map right (my camera tags my photos with GPS coordinates), this is Triangle Island, and it was about 20-25 miles away. That gives you an idea of how distance can fool you at sea!

The day at sea gave us plenty of time to explore the ship. And according to our exercise bands, we did a lot of that. Not quite as much walking as we did in Vancouver, but we did plenty considering our limited distance. The Legend is only 963 feet long. Of course, there are stairs between decks.

As I mentioned, we were aboard the Carnival Legend. Weighing in at over 44 tons, it is easy to see why our ride was so smooth. Even with the waves were up, it was just a gentle swaying back and forth that actually aided in sleeping at night. And the orange and white “boats” in the photo below are the escape pods, which were built to remain afloat even if capsized. There was no fear of any tragedy on this trip!

All Carnival ships have the distinctive “winged” smoke stacks which sets them apart from all the other ships. You can know at a glance in a group of ships which one belongs to Carnival.

As you can tell from our reflection, it was quite chilly here on the open sea. Both Karen and I were sufficiently bundled up to remain warm.

While we did have cloudy skies, the breaks showed us the beautiful blue skies were just behind them.

As I mentioned in the previous post, while not the best type of vacation for pure wildlife photography, wildlife was spotted several times. Though not quite as close as we would like for really good photographs. For instance, that puff of white on the left of this photo is from the blowhole of a surfacing humpback whale. We did get to see them closer a couple of times during the trip, but never got to see one breach up out of the water like you see on television. Apparently they do that more in mating season, which was not now.

Another example, here is a pod of either seals or sea lions. I think the on-board biologist said that they were Steller sea lions. But again, too far away for any really great photos.

And while you may not expect to see birds this far away from land, these guys were seen “running” across the surface of the water several times during the cruise. Again, too far away for a good identification, but an interesting bird nonetheless.

That was pretty much it for this day, other than the walking and, did I mention there was plenty to eat? As we neared the end of the day we make our way to the deck to watch the sun set over the horizon. When we first got on deck, the sky still had plenty of blue.

But as the sun neared the horizon, the color began changing to the red/orange/yellow that we saw on our first evening aboard.

Which gave me time to photography my favorite subject…

Just before the last of the sun dropped into the ocean.

Then it was off to dinner (did I mention all the food?) and then a return to our stateroom and another towel creation. This one held a couple of gift cards to help celebrate our 25 years of marriage!

Then it was time for bed to rest up for the Tracy Arm Fjord tomorrow. What a beautiful sight that was! Stay tuned for day 3, coming soon!

All words and photos copyright 2017 MHampton Photography
Equipment used: Canon 5DS-R, Canon 7DmII, Canon T6S, and various Canon lenses