With the boarding formalities done, we settled into our cabins and started exploring our home for the next 6 nights.Before long, we were casting off and sailing out of the Port of Vancouver, into the Inside Passage and North to Alaska.
A couple other ships, beat us getting away, but we’ll catch them up…
And into the Inside Passage we went…
It was soon time for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner and Show, which we all enjoyed very much, and after such a long day we all head to our cabins for some much needed sleep.
For those who may be interested this is what one of the cabins looks like.
On our second day, we cruised through the inside passage and were to enter Tracy Arm to view our first Glaciers. Unfortunately, the Captain made a decision not to enter the Fjord because of the ice conditions in it were, in his opinion, too dangerous for him to be able to ensure the safety of the ship. Disappointed but understanding fully the position he (the Captain) was in, we continued north. We can still visit the Fjord through a series of photos we’ve been able to assemble. Not close to being the same as actually being there, but you get the idea of the majestic nature of it all…
We should be arriving in Juneau really soon! The vistas are truly awe inspiring and I for one just can’t believe what I am seeing most of the time. Some in our group have spotted whales ‘playing’ out there in the distance, but I haven’t seen one yet…So far all we see around us is inscrutable wilderness ashore and the sea..but soon we start seeing signs of other humans…
and then all of a sudden, this speeding by…
And the Coast Guard Tender is soon followed by a part of the Salmon Fishing Fleet…
Oh, look homes on the shoreline, must be getting close and then we’re there in the port of Juneau!
We’re just finishing lunch as our ship docks and we have 9 hours of time to explore the area before we get underway again at around 9:00pm. We’ve opted to simply explore the City rather than take any of the organized tours at this this point. We all split up and follow our own interests. Camille and Janet have decided to explore the Mendenhall Glacier, Pierre and Allison decide to go whale watching, while Robert and Monique go salmon fishing. Roselyn and I decide to explore the downtown on foot and Marc and Kathleen are headed to the Museums.
Juneau is the current State Capital of Alaska. It has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of the then – District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900.
One of the first things that strikes us as we walk up Franklin Street is the Red Dog Saloon which basically dominates the main intersection in the Downtown.
The Red Dog Saloon is the most famous of the colourful drinking establishments in Juneau. It’s only been in its current highly-visible location since 1988 when it was moved intact from a couple of blocks up Franklin Street.
We continue and come to this rather interesting looking place and as I read the sign in the doorway, I’m almost blown away! I should to Roselyn who has wandered down the street and ask her to check this out…I can’t believe I’m seeing this…a Filipino Community Centre in Juneau, Alaska of all places.
One person we had hoped to meet and at least say hello to was: Erlinda Ferrer, who owns a gift shop in South Franklin on the same street as the Filipino center, said she came to Juneau 30 years ago from Iloilo as an immigrant and hasn’t regretted it since. Unfortunately, we missed each other.
As we continued on our exploration just a few steps away from the Community Hall was a quite interesting monument located in small park called: Manila Square.
and the plaque reads:
I really shouldn’t have been surprised by this since the first Filipinos to come to this part of Alaska were documented to have been here as early as 1788. Most of those early arrivals worked either in the whaling industry or in the salmon canneries that were starting to flourish in the Juneau and Sitka areas.
The State Legislature is a short distance further,
We are predominantly a site related to visiting churches and reporting on them. Therefore, our next stop wasn’t that far away. It was the Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas.
The Orthodox Church in Alaska has a fascinating story and in Juneau it may just be unique.
Though there were never any Russians in Juneau during Alaska’s time as a Russian colony (1784–1867), and no missionaries were sent to Juneau when the city was established in 1881, the Orthodox Church became strongly established here through the efforts of the local Tlingit leaders. In 1890, the Taku leader Anathahash traveled to Sitka to be baptized into the Orthodox faith. More traditional Tlingits gravitated toward the Orthodox Church, where local languages had been used in worship since about 1800 in Kodiak and 1824 in the Aleutian Islands. The Holy Scriptures and much of the Divine Liturgy (as the Orthodox call the Mass, or Lord’s Supper) had been translated into Tlingit by St. Innocent (Veniaminov) during his years as a priest in Sitka (1834–40) and later as Bishop of Alaska (1842–50).
Anathahash returned from Sitka in 1890 with the Rev. Vladimir Donskoy, who was the first Russian Orthodox priest to conduct services in the area. During Fr. Vladimir’s stay, he instructed and baptized many of the local Tlingit people. This same year saw also the conversion of Alexei Yaakwaan, son of a Tlingit leader. He encouraged his father, Yees Gaanaalx, leader of the L’eeneidí (Dog Salmon) people of Auke Bay, to be baptized. Through Sitka Chief Khlantych, the church was informed that Yees Gaanaalx was intent on embracing Orthodoxy and that many would follow his example.
On July 26, 1892 Bishop Nikolai (Ziorov), Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska (1891–1898), visited Juneau from San Francisco, where the seat of the church in America had been transferred in 1872. The bishop was met by the Tlingit leaders who were eager to embrace the Orthodox faith. According to oral tradition, he was told that the Tlingit leaders had been experiencing a common, re-occurring dream. In their dream, a short, white-bearded, elderly man encouraged them to become Christian. When these leaders saw an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, they all recognized him as being the man in their dreams. Three days later, the Priest-monk Mitrofan baptized both Yees Gaanaalx and his wife, giving them the names of Dimitri and Elizabeth. Following their example some 700 of approximately 1500 Tlingit came forward to embrace the Orthodox Christian faith.
With such a large Native congregation to be served, the Orthodox Missionary Society sent architectural drawings, interior church furnishings – such as candlestands, a chalice set, censers, banners, a full iconostasis (the icon screen), and festal icons – and two hundred silver rubles to construct the church. The six large panels on the iconostasis are the original icons received from Russia. The newly baptized Tlingits and Serbian gold miners helped build the traditional structure, a fabulous example of the “Russian Colonial” style of architecture. In June 1894, Bishop Nikolai returned to Juneau and consecrated the new church in honor of St. Nicholas.
We were getting a little tired by this time and decided to start back towards the ship. We stopped for some refreshments at the Red Dog and got back to the docks at about 4:30pm.
That’s when I noticed the cable car or rather gondola that was carrying people up the mountain next to our ship. I was intrigued and convinced She Who Must be Obeyed that we should investigate further. Well, I’m not really comfortable with heights. Things like this gondola usually make me really nervous; so much so that I normally do everything in power to get away from them. I’m not sure if it was the very large pint of beer I had at the Red Dog Saloon but I’d decided to take my life in my hands and to give this Gondola a try. Off we went to the top of Mount Roberts.
The view from the top was simply breathtaking, it was fabulous:
It really didn’t take me very long to start getting nervous and antsy. I just couldn’t wait to get out of there just a fast as I could. I was a basket case before the Gondola even got to the top of the mountain. We took a very, very quick look around and we headed back on the next gondola down to home base.
The others had their own adventures:
Finally SWMbO and I got back and had a rest for about an hour before heading into an earlyish dinner and early to bed in anticipation of an unbelievable day in Skagway in the morning.
As we pull out of Juneau, the scenery will remain seared in our memories, imprinted for a lifetime, not only a breathtaking view but the northern lights as a bonus…