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Cruising Alaska:
Coral Princess (Southbound, Whittier - Vancouver)

by Murray Lundberg


    Day 1: Whittier
    Days 2 & 3: Hubbard Glacier & Glacier Bay
    Day 4: Skagway
    Day 5: Juneau
    Day 6: Ketchikan
    Days 7 & 8: At Sea & Vancouver

Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it.


Friday, June 25: the Coral Princess was in open waters this morning, with land sometimes visible off the port side. I did a presentation at 1:00pm on Native Cultures of Alaska - my final one of this voyage.

Starting in the early afternoon we began sailing in one of the best parts of the Inside Passage. People who sail into or out of Seattle miss most of these wonderful views, as they sail in the open ocean to the west of Vancouver Island. To the east of the island you get both great views and sheltered waters. The first photo was shot off the community of Port Hardy at 4:50pm.

Read today's Princess Patter.

There are a lot of lighthouses, smaller lights and buoys along this route, contrasting sharply with the rather sparse number of navigational aids on the Alaska coast. This is the Pulteney Point Lighthouse.

The view from the bridge at 6:20pm.

The Alert Bay Trumpeter is by far the funniest thing I've seen at sea, and everyone on the Coral loved him. Jerry Higginson races up and down the length of the ship, stopping occasionally to play the Canadian and American anthems and other assorted tunes. If there was some way to throw toonies so he could catch them he'd do very well

The trumpeter's home town, Alert Bay. As you can see, we got very close to shore, but this narrow channel past Sointula and Alert Bay can only be used in perfect weather when you're not in a hurry. The captain wanted to hit slack tide at midnight:15 at Seymour Narrows so it was a great bonus for us.

There were very few people at the late show in the theatre, but the bars and lounges were all busy.

MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) on a particularly fine night.

Saturday, June 26: This was the view from my cabin at 04:41 this morning, as we passed the community of Sechelt, on British Columbia's "Sunshine Coast".

When I got up on deck 15 minutes later, dawn was developing some lovely colours. There were no filters used for this photo!

There are homes being built in some spectacular locations around Vancouver in recent years. When I graduated from high school in 1968 (back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth!), a few friends and I kayaked out to that little island for a day - there were no homes then, just a lovely, very private cove with a beach that was perfect for an after-grad celebration.

A 35-knot headwind added to our speed of about 20 knots made both photography and raising flags difficult!

A classic Vancouver image - freighters anchored and the English Bay skyline.

Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge. After sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge last month, it doesn't impress me as much as it used to, but it is a lovely structure.

The screaming winds kept all but a handful of us indoors for the sail-under.

Passing Prospect Park and Stanley Park. The half-mast flags apparently mean that another soldier killed in Afghanistan has returned home. One was too many.....

Container ports fascinate me, both from an artistic perspective and a logistical one.

The lovely little Silver Shadow, an ultra-luxury ship owned by Silversea. Built in Italy in 2000, the 28,258-ton ship carries 388 passengers who are pampered by 295 crew members. Of the 194 cabins, 157 have private balconies and all of the others have oceanview windows.

The changing face of Vancouver - old buildings with real character and new ones without.

The calm between the storms - a corner of the atrium and the Guest Services desk after everyone from the last cruise had disembarked and before the new passengers boarded.

This was the final day of the 2nd of 3 weeks that I was working on the Coral Princess, and on the changeover day I have no duties.

Having the ship empty makes it easy to get laundry done. The cost is very reasonable - $1 for soap and $1 per washer and dryer complete cycle (ca. 40 minutes). There are self-serve laundries at the aft of every deck with cabins.

There's always work to do for the crews - this fellow is sanding the handrails on the Silver Shadow in preparation for varnishing.

Well, that's the end of my second of three back-to-back voyages on the Coral Princess - if you'd like to join me for the northbound sailing back to Whittier (including a visit to seldom-seen College Fjord), click here.





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