Exit Alaska

Goodbye Alaska :-( We’ve been in Alaska for 3 months, visiting several regions, driving on most of its major highways, viewing some of its wildlife but, in reality, only scratching the surface of all that it has to offer. It’s been a wonderful and maybe, just maybe, a once in a lifetime experience for the whole family. It’s true, that on occasion we did have to coerce one, or more, of the children into doing something or visiting somewhere they weren’t keen on by playing the “but we’ll never be here again (together, as a family)” card. Already, though, the children are recounting memories of places and events they encountered on our journey with fondness and enthusiasm. It’s quite satisfying to me, as a parent, I must admit :-)

Anyway, it’s not over yet! Let me get on with reporting on the most recent leg of our journey before I start reminiscing and getting all nostalgic. As I foretold in my previous blog entry, we caught the Columbia ferry down the Inside Passage from Haines, AK, to Bellingham, WA. It was a three day trip, saving us 1500 miles and about 7 days of driving, bypassing Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and dropping us back into the “lower 48 States”. Anwen was, indeed, simply ecstatic about sleeping in a bed on a boat! I’ve now promised to take her on a father-daughter only cruise when we’ve settled down again – and either Nina or I has a job to finance it! The boys also enjoyed to journey – especially as they had friends to play with the whole way. The family with two boys a little older than Rhys who stayed next to us in Oceanside RV campground in Haines were on the same ferry. We hardly saw Rhys and Dylan during the daytime, as they went off and played with their buddies.

 Humpback whale breaching

Humpback whale breaching

The ferry trip itself was very pleasant for all of us in fact. Lots of people - all in the same boat, so to speak – socializing, sharing stories and generally being relaxed (no doubt relieved they weren’t driving on the Alaska Hwy again!). Several of the passengers were musicians and on a couple of occasions they got together for a jam and treated the rest of us to a session of blue-grass/folk/Americana. Pretty cool.

There were also some good wildlife viewing opportunities – including humpback whales, bald eagles and several sea birds. I managed to take some photographs of the whales breaching almost completely clear of the water - but they were quite far away. On a couple of occasions other passengers were asking me about my zoom lens. I was happy to give details and show one or two of the photos. One of those passengers, it turns out, was a freelance filmmaker, photographer and bear biologist. When I learned that I put my camera away.

Next stop? Who knows! Well, actually I know, but I’m trying to build an air of mystery.