Category Archives: ocean

Alaska and B.C. Canada on the Sojourn

Our first port after crossing the Bering Sea was Kodiak, Alaska; our first time there.  The only Kodiak brown bear that we saw was in the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.  We did see many bald eagles, but didn’t see close enough to photograph.  We walked around the town and enjoyed being on terra ferma.

After a day at Sea, we docked in Juneau; our 3rd time to visit this city.  Again, it was cloudy and cold with some rain.  We were 1 of 3 cruise ships in port with Carnival Legend, HOL Vaandam.  We decided to visit the famous Red Dog Saloon; and were pleasantly surprised.  The interior is a throwback to the gold rush days with lots of memorabilia, saw dust on the floor, a piano player doing old songs and ladies in saloon girl costumes.  We tried their clam chowder which has smoked salmon in it and it was some of the best we have had.

Our last land day in Alaska was Skagway.  It was beautiful, sunny, but cold and windy.  Our plan was to take the tram to the top for views, but it was too foggy up there and didn’t like the wind; so just walked around.  I think the wind is what set off my cold, which started that night.  We also heard some sad news from home, one of our best and longest known friends was dying.  We thought about her, family and friends, all day and made many phone calls.  Wish we could have been in 2 places.

One of our favorite parts of our cruise in Alaska, in 2016 was Glacier Bay National park and it did not disappoint us this time.  The weather stayed clear and the Margerie Glacier calved for us.  We love the scenery, but were sad because we heard that JoAnn Brown had died.  Just as we learned that, we arrived at Margerie and champagne was handed out.  We toasted to her and dedicated that beautiful scene to her.

The next day was warm and sunny for our cruise through the Canadian Inside Passage.  In the afternoon, we were able to be on deck without coats and there was a fun Deck Party.  Good timing!  The next day, in Victoria, B.C., the cold and rain came back, but we had a nice visit with our snowbird friends, Don and Wanda.

The next day, the cruise ended in Seattle, Washington.  A fun 21 days!

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More Sebourn Cruise across the Bering Sea

From May 15 to May 23 we were at sea, including the International Dateline which meant we repeated Friday, 19th.  We changed our clocks 1 hour forward at 2 p.m. for 7 days.  Again, that messed with our internal clocks, so that we woke at odd hours.  We love the days at sea, so had no problems, but it was mostly cold and cloudy with some rain.  One day the sun peeked out and though still cold, several passengers took advantage  and sat on the open deck.

On Seabourn, you can request special dinners, so one night we requested Paella and invited 6 others.  It was good, but the rice was not crunchy on the bottom.  All enjoyed, but we could not finish it, hated to sent any back!

We did get to see a sunset and Jim photographed a sunrise, but mostly sea!

Seabourn Sojourn Japanese Ports

Our cruise started on May 11; we traveled to the ship by train, ferry and monorail.  The first couple we met, Mike and Angela from UK, continued to be table mates at different times.  A very fun couple.

On leaving Kobe, Japan on the ship, we had a sail away concert by the Kobe Community Fireman’s Band.  They were very good and played “Anchors Away” as we moved away, very appropriate and enjoyable for Navy guy, Jim.  We had 2 days at sea on our way to our first Japanese port of Aomori, where we visited an Onsen or Hot Springs baths.  This was our first time to pay for a cruise ship tour, but it turned out well, with only 20 of us and a good tour guide; also included a huge lunch.

Next was Hakodate, known for squid; it was everywhere in the Marketplace.  Some really cute 15 – 16 year old school girls greeted us in English.  They were out of school in order to practice their English.  We spoke with 3 girls for several minutes.  One plays trombone and another saxophone and all plan to go to college.  Later, as we sailed away, 50 of them entertained us by singing and dancing the “Squid Song.”  It was really comical!  As you may see, many of us have on the same Blue Coats.  They were a gift from Seabourn and very welcome with all of the cold weather; in Hakodate it was also raining.  We spent a little time at the Morning Marketplace and then returned to ship to warm up!!

Last port in Japan was Kushiro and we took another Seabourn excursion.  Our first stop was to see the Red Crown Cranes, which we could see up close.  They are quite large, but not as large as our Whooping Cranes.  After that we went to the wetlands, which were too wet and foggy!!  Lastly we had a nice rice bowl with Sashimi lunch in the marketplace.  Our guide, Tete was very good and spoke clear English.  After this port we headed across the Bering Sea for 7 days (including the International Date line and 2 Fridays).

Japan and Seabourn Cruise

We leave tomorrow for our first big trip since Jim’s medical issues.  We fly from LAX via San Francisco to Osaka, Japan.  After 8 days on our own (we have hotel reservations only), we board the Seabourn Sojourn for a 21 day cruise which includes Alaska and ends in Seattle, WA.  Cheryl’s first time in Japan; Jim was there briefly in the Navy; and first for both of us in Kodiak, Alaska.  The following is our itinerary.  Love to all

Here’s our Itinerary for Japan trip
May 1, LAX Hotel, Quality Inn, Century Blvd
     310-671-7213
May 2, United flight to San Fran
     Flight UA 1294, 7:18 am
May 2, United flight from SF to Osaka, Japan
     Flight UA 35, 11:05 am
May 3, arrival in Osaka, KIX, 3 pm
May 3 to 6, Hotel Brighton, Osaka
May 6 to 11, Comfort Hotel Sakai, 1-5-1 Ryujimbashi-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai
     +81 (72) 2337111
May 11, Kobe, Japan, board Seabourn Sojourn ship
May 11-13, at Sea
May 14, Aomori, Japan
May 15, Hakodate, Japan
May 16, Kushiro, Japan
May 17 – 18, at Sea
May 19, Cross International Dateline
May 20 – 22, At sea
May 23, Kodiak, Alaska
May 24, At sea
May 25, Junea, AK
May 26, Skagway, AK
May 27, Glacier Bay National Park, AK (cruising)
May 28, Inside Passage, AK (cruising)
May 29, At sea
May 30, Victoria, BC, Canada
May 31, Seattle, WA
May 31 to June 3, Anacortes, WA, with Joe and Sheri
June 3, Southwest flight from Seattle to San Diego
     Flight 5559, 1:35 pm to 4:15 pm

Visit with Aussie Friends

Some good friends from Australia, who we met cruising came to visit March 3 -6.  Marty and Janine had been traveling in USA, Canada and Europe for over a year.  They mostly toured on a motorbike (the bumblebee, because it was yellow) with a very cute camper trailer.  However, they also took 4 cruises and flew to a few of their destinations.  So adventuresome!

We picked them up at LAX, Friday night and they spent 3 nights with us.  Before hand, we had discussed what to see in So California.  Since we have had winter rains and lots of warm weather, we knew the wildflowers should be good.  So, the first day, we headed to Anza Borrega State Park, where there are many varieties.  We were a little early, but able to see quite a few.  However, the traffic, being a Saturday, was horrendous; took double the time to get there.  We enjoyed the scenery and visited the metal sculpture’s open-air shop that we had found with granddaughters, last summer.  Ricardo Breceda is really a very talented artist and has hundreds of animals, western motifs and more.  Check him out at http://www.ricardobreceda.com.  It turned out that the best wildflowers were near our home, I posted the pictures of poppies a few days ago.

National Park display

Cacti in bloom at Visitor’s Center

On Sunday, we went to Joshua Tree National Park.  They had requested this visit and we love going there.  We took our daughter there many times and later she and husband, and then grandson lived nearby in Twenty-Nine Palms.  It was very windy, so we didn’t do the whole loop of the Park road, but got to see the Jumbo Rocks, which are amazing.

On our last day with them, we visited Huntington Beach and walked the Pier.  This is one of our favorite things to do and they were glad to experience it on their last day in the USA.

Huge Waves

Last week, Hurricane Marie off the coast caused very large waves in Southern California.  Newport Beach, at the “Wedge” had the largest at 20-25 feet.  We went to the beach on Wednesday and were able to find parking at the Huntington Beach Pier.  The waves there were 10-15 feet.  The pier was jammed with watchers, but no surfers were in the water.  It was considered too dangerous.  We wanted to go to Newport Beach, but only bicyclers were able to make it through the traffic to the “Wedge.”  It was awesome to watch so much motion on the ocean.  The Huntington Beach Pier, in the past has been knocked down by waves like those.  However, about 20 years ago, the city invested heavily in a concrete supported pier that should be indestructible.  Other wooden piers sustained damage.  There were only a handful of deaths, but many lifeguard rescues.  Our pictures show some of the size of the waves, but not as good as the real thing.

Awesome waves at Huntington Beach

Awesome waves at Huntington Beach

Lifeguard station, people on beach at HB

Lifeguard station, people on beach at HB

View of the Pier, people and waves at HB

View of the Pier, people and waves at HB

Coastline south from HB Pier and waves

Coastline south from HB Pier and waves