of my heart attack on March 3, 2000 I had to cancel a dive trip to
the Solomon Islands planned for later that month. I had to
forego the diving, but there was nothing to stop me from doing
other, non-diving, types of travel. So after some research on
the internet I decided to go to Alaska with Princess Cruise Lines'
Sky Princess in June. I've never regretted it, though the
medics scolded me for leaving town without their approval. As
always, I took my cameras and lots of film and my whole array of
lenses. I came back with 14 rolls of images. The ones
shown here are what I felt are the most representative of the trip.
a view of the Sky Princess as we docked in Vancouver BC.
ship left San Francisco and cruised to Victoria and Vancouver BC,
and Skagway, Yakutat Bay (Hubbard Glacier), Juneau and Ketchikan,
Alaska. After eleven days' cruising and visiting
ports-of-call, the ship returned to San Francisco.
took full advantage of all the side trips offered, including several
high-speed catamarans into the fjords, float planes and, yes, a
couple bus tours. The Inside Passage is absolutely stupendous,
with its vast proliferation of land and sea life. We saw Orca
and Humpback whales, bald eagles, Northern Sea Otters, and even an
Alaskan Brown Bear. As best I could, I photographed all of
them, and the best of these images are presented here. Enjoy.
Photos with beveled edges are thumbnailed to save
bandwidth. Just click on the thumbnailed image to view it full-sized.
Columbia is well known for its rich Native American
heritage. Representative of this is the large number
of totem poles created by the local tribes. This
collection is in a park in Vancouver, our second port during
on the deck of the Sky Princess while in port at Juneau in
late afternoon I was smitten by the scene of the harbor with
various small boats cruising by. This one is a
view in the opposite direction from the park and the totem
poles (above) is the lagoon in Vancouver BC.
in summertime can be like most of the "Lower 48",
but without the sweltering heat. This scene of the
park in Juneau, about a block from the harbor struck me as
representative. Temperature on the marquis across the
street read 72 degrees. I was attired in my
"usual" shorts and polo shirt.
spectacular of all Alaska's vast coastlines are the
fjords that meander in and out of the hundreds of
miles of coast stretching from Juneau in the south to
Anchorage and beyond. There is mile upon mile of
scenes such as this, with snow-covered mountains plunging
vertically to the sheltered waters of the fjord, often
without stopping for a beach.
of the mountains towering above the waters of the
fjord. This scene was in Yakutat Bay, enroute to
at the end of the day the winner is the sunset on the
snow-covered mountains. This was on the return from
the end of Yakutat Bay after the visit to Hubbard Glacier.
the sights we saw on the several side trips up the Alaskan fjords
were whales. This view of an Orca's dorsal fin cutting the
water was typical.
less impressive than the Orca was the Humpback Whale. We
watched this one for several minutes, and I waited for the right
moment to catch him in his dive. When I could see he was
about to dive, I set the camera on rapid-fire shutter and got four
exposures in about 1-1/3 seconds. This one was the best of
Eagles were one of the subjects I was after when I started this
trip. This shot was what I had in mind when I bought my
Nikkor 500mm telescopic lens, just in time for the trip. Any
of my other lenses would have been totally inadequate for the
job. (A little cropping helped finish the job.)
the way on one of the fjord trips was this lighthouse.
on the steep hillside above the town of Ketchikan was this gold
mine from the Gold Rush days of 1898. These towns are full of
the lore of those days.
Ketchikan I took a fast (30+ knots) catamaran up the fjords into
Misty Fjords National Monument. After two hours' cruising in
incredibly spectacular scenery, a float plane was waiting at the
end of the fjord. One of the best-known glaciers in Alaska
is the Mendenhall. It was dubbed "Galloping Gertie"
by scientists in the 1980's because it attained the speed of
a foot per day. I shot this view from the floatplane on the
flight back to Ketchikan.
almost missed it, but the sunset one evening as we cruised along
was spectacular. The distortion effect was done with my 16mm
Nikkor Fisheye lens, one of my favorites for special effects.
the final stop in Ketchikan there was two days' cruising back to
San Francisco. Most people relaxed by the pool, spent their
money in the casino or shopped in the ship's various duty-free
shops. The weather was generally good enough to sit outside,
though warm enough only at mid-day.
of my favorite lounges was the Horizon Lounge, located forward,
looking out over the bow of the ship. This was a great place
to watch the sights of the Inside Passage as we cruised by.
food on the ship was excellent, and the chefs were quite adept at
creating artwork of this sort. They also did some
spectacular ice carvings.
All photos on this website
are Copyright © 2000 by Richard G Hunter.