Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

From Juneau to Tracy Arms Fjord on AdventureBound

Taking a break from The Celebration, we get up early, drive to our Juneau friend’s house and park our car and she drives us over and drops us off to catch the AdventureBound trip out to Tracy Arms. For two weeks the weather forecasts have told us that this day will be sunny, bright and warm, and ha ha ha on us, it is cloudy and cold, but not much rain. In Juneau, not much rain is a pretty good day :-).

We meet some really fun people as we wait to board – one couple married four days, one couple of young adventurers who, like us, travel on their own as opposed to group travel or cruise ship travel. Our lively conversation made us late to board, only to discover that everyone else had booked for this “sunny” day and every seat in the cabin would be occupied. Once you sit down, that is YOUR spot, oh ugh, this is the worst kind of tour for us, but we discover we can go in and out at will and this works. We spend a lot of time outside, taking photos, watching for whale and porpoise and bear and eagles – all kinds of wildlife. It’s not so bad.

Before we leave, I shoot this photo. It’s not original; I had a similar poster once from the 1920’s or 1930’s advertising trans-Atlantic boat travel on some French line. I just love the lines:

00CruiseShipDouglas

Juneau is landlocked, so everything that comes in or goes out goes by boat or plane. Container barges bring in larger items, and I was amazed how high they can stack a barge. I was also amazed that on top of the containers are vehicles strapped on tight; school buses, campers, snow plows – no wonder everything costs so much more in Alaska!

00BargeVehiclesCloseUp

00BargeHowMuchCanYouGetOnOneBoat

These bear made me so sad. Look how skinny they are, down at the bottom of tall, steep cliffs, eating barnacles. Bear eating barnacles – they must be starving. Some of them look all molty and have fur coming off.

00TracyArmsBear

00TracyArmsBearClose

00TracyArmsBearCloseTwo

I never saw these glaciers when I was little. The Mendenhall glacier is relatively large compared to the Sawyer glaciers (1) and (2) but the Sawyer glaciers are calving. The sound is unforgettable, the cracking, the thunder, and entire sections of the glacier falling into the bay. Other burgs crack off underwater, and they come up huge, whole and a sparkling, unforgettable icy deep blue:

00TracyArmsSawyerGlacier

00TracyArmsSectionFalls

There is equipment going all the time at Tracy Arms to record the calving, the sights and sounds:

00TracyArmsRecordingGlacier

Mama and baby seals catching a few rays at high noon near the glacier:

00TracyArmsMamaSealAndPup

00TracyArmsIceBlueAndGlacier

00TracyArmsIceBlue

00TracyArmsGlacierIceburg

Here is a piece breaking and falling into the water:

00TracyArmsGlacierCalving

00TracyArmsGlacierBlue

00TracyArmsFjordIceburg

You can see the tour boat is surrounded by ice and icebergs:

00TracyArmsTourBoat

The glaciers are currently neither advancing nor receding, but you can read the trail of the glacier’s recession over thousands of years in the steep, ice-scraped mountains on both sides:

00TracyArmsSheerWalls

On our way home, we spot whale. You can shoot a lot of shots of a piece of whale, or where the whale was a split-second ago, LOL.

00TracyArmsWhaleTail

00TracyArmsWhale

As we reach the dock, I call our friend to tell her we are arriving and she laughs and tells me she is already on her way; she was watching the boat arrive from her place across the channel. Within minutes, she is picking us up for home made fish cakes and chop chop salad. Best of all, great conversation, lots of laughter and wonderful stories of past times in Alaska. Her family was a pioneer family in Nome before she married and came to Juneau, so she has some great tales to share. Our families have had a lot of joint adventures, in Alaska, in Germany and in Edmonds.

She also asks great questions like “how did you buy groceries in Kuwait?” and “what did you do about laundry?”, practical questions, and exactly the kinds of things that made our lives more challenging – and interesting – to us. It was a great evening.

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 3.47.23 PM

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Beauty, Community, Environment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Interconnected, Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Hanger at the Wharf in Juneau

First, we really love eating at the Hanger at the Wharf. So does just about everyone else. Twice, we got really lucky. It is easier getting a table if you are just two people, and it is easier getting a table if you eat early. As we are still on Pensacola tummy time, we are in luck. As the Celebration 2014 parade ended, we zipped straight over and as larger groups waited, we were immediately shown to a table for two.

No wonder The Hanger is so popular. The food is terrific and this is the view – straight down the Gastineau channel with Douglas and the cruise ships. As the sun slides behind the mountain, it is a stunning view:

00ViewFromHanger

Some hardier souls were eating outside on the deck. I used to be this hardy, but my years in the Middle East have softened me, made me not so good at eating in cool and drafty places, even in the middle of the Alaskan summer.

00HangerDeck

Inside The Hanger: great, courteous, friendly and efficient employees

00HangerPickUpOrders

Every table taken, the bar is packed, and people are waiting in the hallway to be seated:

00HangerInterior

My halibut tempura:
00HangerHalibutTempura

AdventureMan’s halibut burger and fries:
00HangerHalibutBurger

We liked the food and atmosphere so well that we went back a second time during the ceremonial dances and were happy to see a lot of the dancers eating there, too. I had the first mate’s plate, with salmon and halibut and a berry chutney and AdventureMan had grilled halibut. We both left happy. We would go there again in a heartbeat.

There is only one little thing about The Hanger that makes me uneasy, and it has nothing to do with The Hanger. When I was a little girl, living across the channel, I would watch for my Dad to come home – this was the airport for the amphibious planes, Alaska Coastal Airlines (now part of Alaska Airlines) and Ellis Airlines. When his plane would land, we would all rush to the car and drive like crazy across the bridge to pick him up (no cell phones then, LOL). So I still feel a little frisson and feel the ghosts of the past when I eat there.

00AmphibiousPlanes

June 23, 2014 Posted by | Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Photos, Restaurant, Road Trips | , , | 2 Comments