6am, the ship’s hallway is very quiet and empty. Bundled up with wind-proof jackets, gloves, and hats we make it outside to the upper deck. As you come out, the air is crisp, the wind stiff, the view and lighting is slowly but surely emerging. Our big cruise ship all of a sudden seems miniscule. There is water, islands, and mountains as far as the eye can see, and nothing else. There seems to be no one out there, except for our co-cruisers of course, early risers that are here to hopefully spot a humpback whale or maybe even a killer whale. The view is magnificent. Rays of sunlight perching through the cloudy sky, lighting up a mountain side, or a spot in the ocean. Just like in an art gallery, the sun highlights different natural masterpieces.
This morning we are sailing into the northern portion of the Inside Passage on our way to Juneau. After a choppy night out on the Northern Pacific we have made it to the calmer, more protected waters. Never ending pine forests and steep glacier carved mountainsides, icebergs, waterfalls, and sometimes a small glaciers. Since we are sailing early in the season we also get to see some snow. Later on, July and August, it will be gone. Looking at the stunning countryside one wonders why nobody inhabits the little islands that scatter all over. It would be the perfect place for someone trying to escape from the world, leading a life dictated by the sun and working for survival only. The lack of fresh water, however, prevents just this. There is very little potable water available in the area and hence it is as unspoiled and untouched as it was thousands of years ago.
Later today we are reaching Juneau, Alaska’s State Capital. On this first morning along the Inside Passage we did spot some humpback whales as well as schools of porpoises riding the waves alongside our vessel. We even spotted a bush pilot, hero of the last frontier. Alas, the killer whales will have to wait for another day, but no matter, Alaska already worked its magic. There is no falling out of love with it now.
Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is a Princess Cruise Lines Certified Expert at AAV Travel. With her personal experience in Alaska she can help you create and customize a personalized travel itinerary. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org