Wednesday 8 September 2010

Day 12 – Excuse Me, I Believe I Was Promised A Naked Ryan Reynolds…

One thing that we’ve got used to on this cruise is not setting an alarm, so it came as quite a surprise when the damn thing buzzed this morning at 7.30am. My dissatisfaction at being back on the clock disappeared quickly when I remembered why we had to get up so early! Now, I’m not usually a romcom girl, but recently one tickled me - ‘The Proposal’. After watching this while working for Walt Disney Studios, myself and my colleague, Di, spent many hours shamelessly fawning over Ryan Reynolds’ washboard stomach (sorry for putting you in the middle of all those convo’s Steve!), so I was excited to learn there was a cruise that went to the town where the movie was set - Sitka! As is typical with the movie business, it was actually filmed in Boston which meant there were no movie sites to visit, but I still like the thought that I’ve been to Sitka, Alaska!

While the town makes money from the cruise ship tourists, it also seems intent on keeping itself a genuine small town and not a tacky stop-off, therefore they keep saying ‘no’ to the option of building a cruise dock. The only way to get from the ship to the shore is on the lifeboats! Expecting something Titanic style I was surprised to find that modern day lifeboats are pretty well equipped and required no paddling from us…
Sticking to our Do-It-Yourself guide to touring, we again shunned the expensive ship tour option and just walked everywhere ourselves. We cut through the Sitka National Historic Park where we happened to see a wild bald eagle perched in a tree…thus kinda making our first stop of the day redundant…
The Alaska Raptor Center is a sanctuary for injured birds. They specialize in bald eagles, but will help out any bird in need. After they fix up the birds injuries they move them into the rehabilitation section where they stay until it’s determined if they will cope back in the wild. Interesting fact of the day: Once an eagle gets its adult plumage at 5 years old, there is no longer a way to tell the age of the bird because they have no telltale signs of aging!
Around the center there was a nice little nature trail, so we got our hike on and checked that out. Ah fresh air! Or it would have been if it wasn’t by a river filled with more dead salmon. Stinky!
Back in town we checked out a traditional Russian Orthodox church; St. Michael’s Cathedral – the smallest cathedral I’ve ever seen. A lot of the town of Sitka is based around its Russian heritage as the town was officially where ownership of Alaska was transferred to the US in 1867 for $7.2 million in gold. It’s also where the American flag was flown for the first time over Alaskan soil; that’s a lot of history for one small town!
We headed back on our little lifeboat to the ship and decided what to do with the rest of our afternoon. I kept hearing that Sitka harbor was a good place for whale watching and joked that we should head up to the walkaround deck to see if we could see any. It had started to rain a little so we hadn’t planned to stay long, just to take a couple of pictures of the misty bay.
As we started snapping away Joe said he saw something jump out of the water behind a little boat. I thought he was kidding, but then a big whale jumped out of the water! Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of that because I was too busy yelling ‘holy shit!’ and the rest of the photos aren’t great because the damn camera auto-focused on our stupid ship instead!
We hung around for about half an hour to see if there was a second performance, but it seems Wilma the whale only puts on one show a day. Bizarrely a guy came out and started playing a bamboo pipe flute. It was one of the most serene, but weirdest moments of my life! Sadly his soothing tunes didn’t attract anymore whales so we went and took a nap…it’s a hard life at sea!

So, until tomorrow…

1 comment:

  1. LOVE IT - I can see the tip of the whales tail out of the water.. Wouldn't of minded a bit of viewing of Mr Reynolds either :-) x
    Loaz x