Monday, August 30, 2010

The Marine Highway to Juneau

Wednesday, August 25th - - There are no roads to Juneau or to most of the other towns on the Inside Passage. The exceptions are Haines and Skagway on the north and Prince Rupert on the south. To get anywhere else you can fly or you can float. I chose the latter option.

Sitting on the dock of the bay... waiting to get on the ferry. I didn't have high expectations for wondrous views today. Rain. Again.

We're leaving the Haines Ferry Terminal, which is about five miles east of town. The ferry was quite large and is capable of carrying large RVs and trucks as well as passenger cars. There were several seating areas that were quite comfortable with spacious leg room. The voyage from Haines to Juneau takes about four and a half hours.

This is the oldest lighthouse in the Inner Passage that has not been remodeled. The only thing that has been done to it was to automate the light. It was about an hour and a half after leaving Haines.

The rain had finally stopped at around noon and the sky began clearing. The sun made its most welcome appearance shortly thereafter.

With the sun shining, it was quite pleasant walking around the deck. Not far from Juneau we saw quite a few whales, probably Orcas, all off in the distance. There were several “pods” that had five or six whales each. And not far away from them were the whale-watching boats. About all we could see of whales was when they spouted water into the air and occasionally a tail fin when one dived beneath the surface. Still, it was exciting to see them.

And now, we're coming into the Juneau Ferry Terminal. A portion of Mendenhall Glacier can be see in the center of the photo. Downtown Juneau is twelve miles to the south. I drove downtown to make arrangements for a cruise on Friday and found the parking garage, which also houses the Juneau Public Library on the fourth floor. There were some nice views of downtown and the waterfront, which was quite busy. Five cruise ships were at the docks! I knew that those things were big but just didn't realize how big. They dwarfed the four story library/parking garage building.

The view of Juneau from the front of the library.

And from the rear.

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