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Farthest North, Farthest West

My mom and I with the Alaska state flagMy mom's been eager to take another cruise to Alaska since she first went eight years ago. This being the year I pay off my student loans she thought a good celebration - and birthday present - would be to treat me to one of these cruises. Me and my land-loving stomach didn't know what to think about spending a week on-board a cruise ship, but I gratefully accepted the chance to experience this. And to make Alaska the 33rd state I'd set foot in (Washington picked up 32nd along the way).

This was a 7-day trip on Holland America's ms Westerdam, which visited Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria BC. Glacier Bay National Park, at the north end of Alaska's panhandle, is now the farthest north and west I've been. Still far from the Arctic Circle, but close enough for the nights to be brief and not completely dark. And Alaska's July climate was certainly a change from Florida's (but the two places have a lot of rain in common).

So a cruise ship is like a floating hotel: One day your balcony is in Seattle, the next Ketchikan, it's a different city to bandscan every day (as if I could leave my radio at home). Those videos will be working their way to Youtube shortly, and they look quite nice. I also did a lot of scanning while out at sea. There aren't many bandscans from Alaska available online, but now I have some of my own and I gladly share them. :D

Juneau at nightNaturally there was the standard cruise ship stuff. Bars: I don't drink. Casinos: I don't gamble. Shopping: Something I could do at home. Free food: Well yes, except when it's not free, and boy can it not be free (there's a $12 service fee for reading that sentence, and I didn't even tell you until after you ran up the bill LOL). As I say when going to conventions, the point of these is to turn patrons' upside down and shake the money out of their pockets, but that's the cynical side of this experience. The good part is spending time with the ones you love in places you've never been before. At my post-cruise age of 32, mother-son bonding time isn't as common as it once was. Thanks mom.

With the big loan gone at the end of this year the next vacation is on me!

[panorama] A clear sky as we returned to the open ocean


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