IVAlaska08: Ship Ryndam
July 28- August 6, 2008
By LEWIS NOLAN
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Friday, Aug. 1, 2008 –
We got lucky because once on the ship we had no rain during
our seven-day cruise. The only rain we had during our 9-day trip was on the day
of our visit to
In fact, the weather in
This Friday seemed to us to be a typical morning for this
time of year in
As with yesterday, the room service breakfast was very good. But it took a telephone call to get it delivered even 15 minutes late. The ice for my Diet Coke was left off the tray, a mistake quickly corrected by the steward. I enjoyed 4 strips of well-drained bacon, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 large pieces of toasted whole wheat bread, a small serving of hash brown potatoes, a slice of orange and ice water. Betty had some bacon and a so-so blueberry muffin.
For lunch, Betty went through the buffet line on the Lido Deck’s restaurant and enjoyed a big salad, a nice piece of broiled chicken and a glass of ice tea. I opted for a juicy cheeseburger cooked in the poolside grill with French fries, a few tortilla chips with avocado dip and Diet Coke.
After eating, we had to patiently wait in a slow-moving line to get off the ship then walk about a block to Orca Enterprise’s Whale Watching Tour headquarters. Our travel agent had referred us there following her personal experience and good reports from other customers. The firm’s office has a shopping area that sells various memorabilia and I purchased a pair of jade earrings for Betty that were carved to look like the tail flukes of a diving humpback whale,
We were bused to the firm’s boat at
There were only a dozen passengers on this cool and cloudy
day. But Capt. Larry had three assistants. We talked to Sean and Dirk, who both
seemed like stereotypical
We paid $239 for the half-day outing and it was worth it.
Since we booked it through Gulliver’s Travel in
On the boat with us – which carries as many as 40 passengers – were a dozen fellow tourists. They included a young man from Japan who either didn’t speak much English or chose not to talk; a family from England whose gawky daughter appeared to be about 11 years ago; a couple from France, with the woman being attractive and standing at least 6 feet tall; and a couple of heavy, young American women dressed for the wilderness.
We were told that Orca Enterprises does a lot to protect the
whales and help with scientific research into whale activities, including long
distance work in the whale’s winter grounds in
Wildlife protection laws prohibit boats like the one we were on from “chasing” whales. But we saw a dozen surfacing humpback whales at a distance of perhaps 100 or more yards including one that swam to within 25 yards of our boat. Their bulb-shaped heads make it possible to dive to deep feeding grounds by thrusting their tail flukes to the vertical. The flukes out of the water make for some striking photos. The column of “steam” that comes when they exhale heated air when surfacing is a dead giveaway to their location.
We also saw a half-dozen or so napping Stellar Sea Lions
which had “hauled out” to rest atop sea buoys and other marine navigation
markers. We also had close looks at several mature Bald Eagles with their
distinctive, white heads as well as immature ones climbing around a
On the drive back from the boat dock to the ship, we drove
We got back to the ship just before our 7 p.m. dinner reservation. We joined our new friends Dr. Ulrich Bauer and his wife, Susie Brown Bauer, for a very good meal that was exceeded only by the excellence of their company.
Betty went for the broiled salmon and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I had broiled sole served on a medley of fresh vegetables, a Caesar salad and as an appetizer a serving of prosciutto ham with cantaloupe slices. We split a half bottle of Chardonnay and also enjoyed some pretty good desserts before showering and retiring about 10:30 p.m.