Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


People often ask me which part of the Canada & Alaska trip did I like best. It is a hard question to answer as it  was all fabulous but the shore excursion from Juneau was my favourite day. There are many shore excursions provided by Holland America (at an extra cost ) to choose from. When I saw the one called "Wilderness Salmon Bake & Scenic Flight" I thought that it sounded like fun. It included a float plane ride over glaciers, landing at Taku Lodge and partaking in a salmon feast before returning to Juneau and the ship.
 It was overcast and showery but it didn't stop us having a great time. The planes weren't far from the ships.

We flew over fjords, rivers and glaciers in between mountains. can you see the ice breaking off the glacier? It is called glacier calving.

The scenery was breathtaking.

After 30 mins we landed in front of the Taku Glacier and taxied towards the Lodge.

The lodge has a colourful history and too much to tell all here. It was built in 1923 by a doctor from Juneau, who used it as a hunting holiday lodge. It has changed hands quite a few times but in 1934 it was inherited by Mary Joyce the family nurse of the owners. She was very adventurous and travelled overland by dog sled to Fairbanks, 1000 miles north. Temperatures got to 50* below. The sled is still in the lodge. In 1979 the owners at that time opened up the lodge to tourists they have since retired and a new family have taken over. There are many surrounding buildings/sheds/cabins dating back to 1930's.

The view from our table in the lodge.

A close up of the face of the glacier. Tall isn't it?

Our salmon being cooked outside on a BBQ.

While we were inside devouring our salmon feast with salads, mexican beans, stewed apple and crusty bread, Mr Bear came to clean the BBQ plate.

We left our sumptuous meal to run outside and click our cameras. He was big and beautiful.

After the meal we were taken on a short walk through the forest. We had a local guide with a big stick to shoo away bears. Black Bears are not aggressive like Grizzly Bears. I was fascinated by the moss hanging in the trees. It is actually beneficial to the tree in that it helps the tree shed its lower limbs so that it can climb more easily up to the sun.

After 2 wonderful hours  the planes returned to pick us up.

There were 5 plane loads.

It is so exhilarating skimming across the water and effortlessly climbing into the air. We followed the glaciers and rivers in between the soaring mountains back over the fjord and plopped down next to the ship. What a magic experience.
 If you would like to experience it and see more of the bear's antics watch Bill's short 2 min video, which will prove that "Bears really DO sh*t in the woods." (For those who have heard that saying)


  1. Loved that last comment!!!! That looks brilliant, but very scarey. What a wonderful trip - wait till I show my hubby this. xxx

  2. Oh those glaciers are spectacular and the scenery is to die for! I loved the black bear who ambles onto the lawn just outside your eating area. All so beautiful.Thanks for the journey!

  3. WE also saw a north American bear up close: at Yosemite in California last October, Diane.
    We'd driven over the Bay Bridge in San Francisco (not to be confused with the Golden Gate bridge) and after a lengthy drive through Oakland and other towns and urban localities reached Yosemite.
    We did a full day of sight seeing with our little group and on the way out of the National Park spied a brown bear.
    He/she was only a juvenile and not the size of the black bear in your pic.
    But a bear it was, loping along not far off the side of the road in the grassy verge.
    -- RICHARD

  4. Don't you just love Alaska, Diane? Although, I think Holland American owns about half the state. :) We went with them on that same ship about 7 years ago. Wonderful sights!

    Did you see the 100+ year old rhubarb plants on your walkabout in Jeneau?

    Aren't black bears just the most lovely creatures? Can't beleave they have not gone to den yet in Alaska.

  5. I want to take this same excursion one day Diane. What a thrill to fly over the glaciers and fjords!
    I watched Bill's movie and I'd say that bear must have had quite a meal! We didn't see any bears in Yosemite ..just bear scat on the ground, and I was happy that was all. They say they aren't agressive but they can be when they feel that they, or their cubs, are in danger.

    Did the locals say that a lot of the area's glacier was receding rapidly due to global warming? When my nephew climbed Kilmanjaro this past summer they were told in 10 more years they don't belive there will be any glaciers left on the mountain.

  6. Wow Diane, You are showing me so many things which I want to see and do... Wonder if Princess offers this excursion???? Sounds incredible....

    Love seeing the glaciers up so close... Gee--you cannot 'shoo' our black bears away with sticks around here... Looks like those bears are almost tame.... Yipes!!!

    Thanks again for another great post, Diane... I cannot wait 'til next May.

  7. What a wonderful photo's and video, amazing. When I see all this I feel a great desire to pack my things and go... To see a bear is very exciting and so close!

  8. Loved the photos and your commentary, what a fabulous trip! Ah, yes, Bill's video revealed all ... definitely watch where you walk in the woods! Great stuff, thanks :D

  9. Incredible and breathtaking scenery. Salmon is my favorite, and it looks so yummy on that grill!

  10. Wow! Your adventure just keeps getting better and better! I don't have a good enough connection where we are right now to get videos, but I'll definitely come back and watch it when we do. Gotta know the answer to that question (which I have heard many times -- obviously hanging around with high class people ;>))))

  11. Wow ! I can only say what an adventure ! (Now you are ready for "dementia", lol !)

  12. Wow! I think that about says it all.

  13. This sounds like a wonderful little side trip! The glaciers are amazing! And Salmon is my favorite food. That bear is no dummy... he/she knows where to find the good stuff! :-)

  14. I love the shots of the bear with his pink tongue sticking out! cute! But surely a big 'stick' should be replaced with a big 'gun'?