The  Great  Summer  of 2015

 
Gail and I have enjoyed a busy month this summer. It began with the arrival of my Daughter Tracy and Husband Paul Wakefield from Australia in mid-July, traveling here to help celebrate my 80th Birthday. 
We first enjoyed another Cruise to Alaska . The weather was quite cool and damp for most of the 7 days we sailed. But we enjoy life on board a cruise ship and we had some new experiences to add to our memory banks.
We also attended the Abbotsford Airshow, one of the largest Air Shows in North America. It must have been 20 years since our last attendance and it was a spectacular evening.
Then our son Lawrence, Summer and Forest drove up from Oregon. All of them plus son Blair and his wife Angela and Angela’s sister Andrea joined us for a back yard barbeque to celebrate my 80th Birthday.
The busy month ended with my sons Blair and Lawrence joining me for a three day golf and fishing trip, what has become an annual occasion for us. We limited out on our fish, well almost, and the round of golf reminded me of my lack of talent for the game, but we enjoyed a beautiful day on a great golf course.
ALASKA ENCORE
We sailed on Celebrity Cruise Lines  “Celebrity Infinity” late afternoon on July 26.  It is an older ship but I enjoyed the layout of it, somewhat different than other ships. Total passenger complement was 2,170. We sailed for almost 2 days of which only part way was in the Inside Passage, with a good part of the cruise on the open ocean; luckily we encountered calm waters. We arrived at Icy Straights, situated very close to the entrance to Glacier Bay. We visited the native village of Hoonah, a small fishing village within a few miles of Icy Straight. We departed from there and headed north and west to the Hubbard Glacier, near the wartime town of Yakutuk, and arrived there the next morning. The Hubbard Glacier is a monster ice-field which enters the ocean on a 6 mile front. We departed late that afternoon for Juneau, and were docked there when we woke up the next morning. And finally we sailed from Juneau to Ketchikan that night. The weather was cold and wet, not conducive to much sight seeing. The last part of the trip was down the Inside Passage to Vancouver. The weather was much improved as we entered Canadian waters and the sailing pleasant down the long passage between Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia.
In the photo above, Gail and I board the ship at Canada Place in Vancouver.

To the left a sketch map showing the stops on the trip. The yellow arrows illustrate our trip north to Hoonah and Icy Straights, and then on to the Hubbard Glacier. 

The pink arrows show the route of our return trip with stops in Juneau and Ketchikan and then we follow the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and the Mainland.
 
Below right a photo of our ship the Celebrity Infinity at anchor in Icy Straights. We used the lighters to access shore here, the tides being too high to accommodate a big ship without a very expensive dock.

The photo to the left below shows Gail in downtown Hoonah, preparing to walk out to the marina moorage.
Some scenes from the harbour in Hoonah. Above left, note the long poles installed to allow the dock and boats to rise with the high tides, some of which can reach 40 feet. Tracy on the right above, beside some crab traps with the sport fishing marina behind her. Below left Gail stands beside the same traps. Another demonstration of the height of the tides experienced at this location, Paul and Tracy standing on the walkway slung on the long posts below and to the right.
The Hubbard Glacier, a massive river of ice.  The photo above left shows Tracy and Paul waiting our approach to the glacier. The ice field is 6 miles long and 200 feet high above sea level, with another plus 1000 feet of ice below water to the bottom of the sea. We were within 1/2 mile of the face of the glacier and the Captain informed us that this was the closest he had been able to get to the face of the glacier this year. A few years ago we could only get within 6 miles of the face because of floating ice. The photo to the right above shows the face of the glacier ready to “calve” off and tumble to the sea with a mighty roar and giant splash. Parked so close to this ice field and with everyone quiet on the ship, one hears a constant cracking, with sounds resembling a fierce thunder and lightning storm. The forces of nature rend anything manmade insignificant.
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