Evan Chu
Southeast Alaska
In May 2007, I embarked on a 9-day cruise in southeast Alaska, U.S.A., with Cruise West. The itinerary is called the Wilderness Inside Passage, which offered me the best opportunity to experience the wild and rugged nature of southeast Alaska. Only 20 guests booked this cruise on the small ship, Spirit of Discovery , which has a maximum capacity of 84 guests. The ship is 166 feet in length, has a cruising speed of 13 knots, carries several inflatable excursion boats, is registered in the United States, and has about 20 American crew members.
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Juneau
Juneau

Juneau

I spent one day in Juneau, Alaska's capital, before the cruise began. I stayed in the Goldbelt Hotel in downtown Juneau. Several big cruise ships, carrying thousands of guests, were also visiting Juneau. I visited the downtown area and the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
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Rainforest Trail
Rainforest Trail

Ship Departs Juneau

I hiked the Rainforest Trail on Douglas Island, which is across from Juneau, separated by the Gastineau Channel. The trail enters a rainforest and exits at a rocky beach. The Spirit of Discovery departed Juneau in late afternoon.
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Tracy Arm fjord
Tracy Arm fjord

Tracy Arm

Tracy Arm is a fjord, a long, narrow, and deep waterway carved out by ancient glaciers with high cliffs on both sides. Small icebergs began to appear in the water. The crew launched three inflatable boats to take guests close to the cliffs and the icebergs. I spotted a black bear foraging on the cliff.
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Waterfalls
Waterfalls

More Tracy Arm

As snow melted, waterfalls appear on the cliffs in Tracy Arm and Red Bluff Bay. I spotted humpback whales in Chatham Strait and bald eagles as our ship approached the city of Sitka.
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Sitka
Sitka

Sitka

Sitka was the capital of Russian America for 63 years before Alaska was sold to the United States. I visited the Sitka National Historic Park, which has a collection of original and replicas of totem poles. As our ship departed Sitka, I spotted humpback whales in Icy Strait. Our ship's Chief Mate gave a tour of the bridge.
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Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Bartlett Cove is the location of the headquarters of Glacier Bay National Park. I hiked a trail, parts of which were still covered by several inches of snow. As our ship sailed further into the park, I spotted sea lions hauled out on rocks. At Tarr Inlet, I saw the Grand Pacific and the Margerie Glaciers.
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more Glacier Bay
more Glacier Bay

More Glacier Bay

The water around Johns Hopkins and Lamplugh Glaciers in Glacier Bay was full of small icebergs. Our ship moved forward gently to deflect oncoming icebergs.
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Elfin Cove
Elfin Cove

Elfin Cove

Our ship visited Elfin Cove, a very remote community on the coast of Chichagof Island. It's population varies from about 10 during winter to about 250 during summer. It produces its own electricity by diesel generators. There is no road. Only boats and float planes can reach Elfin Cove.
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Farewell Juneau
Farewell Juneau

Farewell Juneau

As I disembarked from our ship at Juneau, the crew stood along the dock to bid farewell. I spent one more day at Juneau and took a helicopter to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier.

Photographic Equipment

  • Film camera: Canon EOS Rebel Ti.
  • Kodak color negative film: Ultra Color 400UC.
  • Canon zoom lens: EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 III USM.
  • Sigma zoom lens: 24-60mm F2.8 EX DG.
  • camera bag: Lowepro Nova 3.