Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bon Voyage! Day 5 - Sitka, Alaska

Since Sitka is an extremely small port (like, stand on one side of the town, spit, you hit the other side.. well almost), we didn't have an excursion planned. Instead we decided to just walk around the town. I declared since we had had utterly unexpected gorgeous weather (everyone in Juneau said it always always rains so we got really lucky) that'd we'd have grey skies and rain from that point on, and indeed we did! Sitka was originally settled by the native Tlingit people. Russians moved in, Tlingit killed a bunch, Russians came back and waged war and eventually took it back. It was kinda dumb we had 8 hours in this port when there was actually very little to see or do, and then a very short time in Ketchikan the next day and even less time with a late arrival for Victoria Canada the next. Dumb.

Breakfast on deck:

The town is so small, in fact, it doesn't have a place big enough for cruise ships to dock, so you have to tender in on the lifeboats. A deck is a perfect place to get off the ship!

A deck?! I'm sure glad our ship had one!

Finally into the tender!

Ok everyone remember where we parked

On the way in to town, we stop to try a local delicacy, Reindeer Hotdog!

Mmmm.... Rudolph! NOM NOM NOM. No, it didn't taste like chicken. It tasted like a hot dog.

Sitka has a very rich Russian heritage. You can see the influences all throughout the town. I completely forgot about the old Russian cemetery outside town, but some of the other family members went and they said it was really creepy. It was all wild and overgrown, with sunken areas where the old wooden coffins had collapsed over time. We opted to check out the Russian Cathedral of St. Michael in the center of town:

It was built in 1848 and burned down in 1966 and was then rebuilt.

It's Greek to me

Everything was oh-so-shiny

Looking up. They're still collecting donations to fix the fire-damaged roof.

side view

Now, time to wander the streets and browse the shops!

Here's hoping the stick refers to the kabobs

Fossil of the prehistoric cave bear, locally found. It was HUGE

AGH! It's descendant is attacking!!

Ok.. not really.

The glee only a child can express after being allowed to purchase a dead animal to wear on their head:

Adam went for a more mundane hat:

Megan's is a real coyote pelt/head. Oh boy can't wait til that sucker gets wet.

Ohh! Fur shop! Sorry PETA people, I loves me real fur. Megan is distracted by the store greeter:

While I'm distracted by something else entirely:

Del: glances at Lem. Lem's exact words: HELL NO!

Megan, upon coming over and seeing the back of it: WHAT THE CRAP?!

Can't really blame her there.

Back to the ship just as it started to sprinkle (quick! get Meg's hat indoors!) and time to dress for the last Formal dinner:

Bond. James Bond.

For some reason Megan's head looks enlarged. Perhaps it's the influence of the Wolf hat, as she calls it.

We saw whales spouting and a small pod of dolphins swim by during our dinners, not sure if it was this night or not. Later Kim & Joel went back to their balcony room, and as they were sitting outside a whale breached right in front of them in the water. So very cool. I want a balcony room next time!

Adam is once again being tortured into smiling for a picture while Lem wishes for a fan.

Thank GOODNESS all our chairs had chair-condoms, because you know SAFE DINING should be a priority for everyone:

An example of one of the desserts. All the portions were "small", but very good. This is molded white chocolate on the right, that has a rich chocolate mousse underneath it:

The stuff sticking up is a crispy pastry thingie.

After dinner, we went to go see one of the ship shows. It was the comedian Lee Bayless who was actually *very* funny (even Zach's dad was laughing!) and family-friendly.. which was good because Adam came along with us still dressed in his tux since the "teen prom" was later that evening for the Loft group. The comedian asked for a couple volunteers from the audience and Kim was one he picked!

After playing with them with some word games, he did a really cool card trick involving both that we still can't figure out.

He was so funny we ended up buying his DVD and he autographed it for us.

We had passed the Piano Bar a bunch of times while on the ship, and there was a guitar guy there who was AMAZING. His voice sounded so much like Johnny Cash that if you closed your eyes you'd think he'd come back to life. He played a 12-string acoustic guitar, and had a voice like rich honey. Brad, Diane and Matt had taken to camping for every set he played, and Matt got him to sing "Devil Went Down To Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels band even though the poor guy didn't have a fiddle. He ad-libbed the fiddle parts HILARIOUSLY and soon every set they'd get him to play it at least once. He was very talented. And patient. It soon became a running joke, and all the audience would help out.

Just as his set was finishing up and he was packing up, Great Grandma and Grandpa walked by, and Diane snagged her without guitar guy seeing and pursuaded little 87-yr old Grandma into approaching him.
Grandma (hesitantly): "Can you play The Devil Went Down To Georgia?"
Guitar Man: *second of stunned disbelief* "OH YOU!" He gave a BIG hug to Grandma as we all burst out laughing and Diane comes around the corner "That's my mother-in-law!"

We headed back to the room and ended up watching a movie with Megan while Adam did his prom thing.

Aww, Big Black Doggie has a friend now!

Very clever

We had an early stop the next day in Ketchican (7am!) and our excursion started at 7:30am (we were only in Ketchican til 12:30) so we went to bed early-ish. Thus ends Day 5!

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