Alaska: Rough Seas and the Inside Passage

Sunrise navigating thru the Inside Passage

Sat. Sept 8th:  Again we woke to wind buffeting the ship. No banging like the previous morning, Rita said they fixed the loose fender separating their balcony from Gloria’s that was making all the noise. The maintenance person secured it open with a lock. Now Gloria and the Hoppers share balconies. When I got up, I immediately felt dizzy and lightheaded. We made it though breakfast and coffee in our room, taking the advice of our Captain, to stay put as it may be difficult to navigate the ship in these conditions. But he assured us that the weather would clear up by midday. He also informed us that several of the decks would be closed until the winds died down.  Out on the balcony I could see the steel gray of the water which was frothing with white caps. It was too foggy to see the land on our left as the ship navigated south following the Canadian shoreline, but we could feel the ship rolling beneath us. Nothing to do, so we went back to bed and let the waves rock us to sleep. By 10:30 am we were walking around outside on deck 3, which was nice since most of it is under the life boats and other cover, allowing for a dryer experience. As predicted the weather cleared up, somewhat, and we ended up on deck 10 in the Crow’s Nest, the large observation room two decks above the Captain’s Bridge on deck 8 , which we had no access to, and just below the outdoor Observation deck where we had watched the glaciers on our first day. Here we watched three whales, their tales breaking the surface every few minutes. Pretty exciting even though they were too far out to get good photos.

Navigating through the Inside Passage from Ketchikan to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Back in our cabin we got a start on our packing then headed out for dinner around 5:30 at the Lido Market. Afterward we sat outside by the pool and watched the land rock as we made our way south between the many islands and peninsulas. We were traveling through the Inside Passage, the water route between the Gulf of Alaska and Puget Sound, on our way to Vancouver. We had totally missed the Tungass Narrows when we left Ketchikan the night before. The Narrows is a Y shaped channel which is part of the Alaska Marine Highway, used for commercial fishing and sea craft. It is the first leg of the Inside Passage, which we were navigating through. The land on both sides of our vessel was mountainous and rocky, dotted with evergreens.  Again whales were spotted, hard to really know what we were looking at out in the dark choppy water.

JR and Jackie showed up and joined us. His cold is not getting any better. Jackie told us that she was talking to one of our two room porters – their names are Putra and Joko – and she asked him if he got to go ashore. He said yes, for a little while, long enough to wire money home. When she asked where home was, she learned that he was from Indonesia, as are most of the crew – room porters, housekeeping, waiters and waitresses. And he said that they go through an agency which recruits them to work on the cruise ships. He ended by telling her, he liked his job and that he wanted to “see the world.”

Holland America Land & Sea Cruise route map

Later in our room we were mostly packed, but before we locked our suitcases, I dressed up one last time and headed to the Vista Lounge for the last show at 8 pm, a combo with both comedians, Jeff and his dog Indy and the Tall Bald comedian. I sat with Ron, Rita and Gloria. This time Gloria ended up on stage with a row of about 10 others. Jeff was going to try to read their minds, to ascertain who was lying about having an item of his in their clenched fist.  Gloria did not have it, she was dismissed along with all but one lone survivor who was not good at lying. Joe stayed behind in the room and I am not sure what JR and Jackie were doing, maybe packing. They did have more luggage than we did. When I saw their monster rolling suitcases, I had an image of the aristocratic ladies with their trunks being hefted on board the Titanic by little porters in white coats and hats.

I was back in our cabin by 9:30 and we finished packing. We had to practically sit on our suitcases to get them to latch closed.  All luggage that was to go to the airport needed to be outside our rooms by midnight. This meant I had to sleep in my underwear, not wanting to carry PJs around in my backpack for the next 24 hours. Joe doesn’t wear pajamas to bed, just boxers and t-shirt, so a non issue for him. We let the TV bore us to sleep as the ship cruised through the much calmer waters toward our final stop, Vancouver.

Read Next Post Sept. 9, Vancouver and a Long Day
Read Previous Post Sept. 7, Ketchikan and Salmon

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