Juneau, Alaska – July 1 2007
We took a catamaran from Skagway to Juneau yesterday. It’s a three hour trip down a wide fjord misnamed the Lynn Canal by Captain Cook. Juneau is the State Capital of Alaska, but you can only get there by boat or air. In the morning we see two Coast Guard rubber boats in Skagway. The M-60 machine guns with 500 round ammo boxes should deter any evil-doers.
We see lots of wildlife; orcas, bald eagles, humpback whales, porpoises, harbor seals, stellar seals and a black bear. The rugged coast has glaciers and waterfalls as high as 1,600 feet, but no people.
We arrive in Juneau hungry. We walk past lots of jewelry stores and saloons and finally find one called the Red Dog saloon that serves food. The floor has a thick layer of sawdust. After lunch we kill time reading in the public library. I can see into the staterooms of the cruise ship next door, one of five in port. In the last 20 years the number of cruise ship tourist that visit Juneau has increased from 80,000 to 1,000,000.
Our tour bus driver works for the Alaska Department of Corrections. He listens to prisoner complaints before they are allowed to sue. He entertains us with his hokie songs and poetry. We go up to see the nearby Mendenhall glacier and see a black bear in the road. The glacier has been retreating 30 feet a year since about 1775, but the last couple of years its been doing 200 feet a year for some reason.
There is a buoy in one spot that made the cover of National Geographic a few decades ago. The picture had seals on the buoy and a glacier in the background. Here’s a short video.
The campground is full of Canadians from Whitehorse. I think they are celebrating a national holiday. They all bring large plywood boxes and try to throw large beanbags into a small hole in the box. I think they get points for hitting the box and more points if the bag goes into the hole. The sun stays up until about a 11 PM and I fall asleep listening to the “thwack…thwack” noises of beanbags hitting plywood.
Here are some shots of the wildlife and glaciers on the 60 mile trip down the Lynn Canal from Skagway to Juneau. My connectivity has been poor until now.