Alaska 2019 part 33

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The Empress Hotel on Vancouver Island.  A room there would probably set you back a couple of bucks.

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Totem pole in the lobby of the hotel.

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These cute little water taxis carried fares around the bay.

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We had a great lunch at the Milestones Restaurant.

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Float planes coming in for a landing in the bay came awfully close to the buildings.  One would land about every ten minutes.  It brought back sad memories of a dark day in our country’s history. 2019 alaska_0831_std

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Back at the airport in Vancouver for the flight home.  There is one of the most beautiful aquariums I have ever seen.  After we found our gate, I had to go back and take some photos!  The aquarium was there, I suppose, to soothe the nerves of those waiting for their flight.

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Well, sad to say, this is the end of our Alaska, 2019, trip.  It was a wonderful experience.  The Holland America ship we were on was fantastic.  Our cruise director, Terry Ready, of, was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the tour.  She was with us throughout the entire two weeks of the land portion.  We really missed her when we had to leave her to get on the ship for the week long sea portion of the cruise.

Thank you so much for joining us and we hope you enjoyed the trip.

Our next trip will be in England and the Netherlands.  We were fortunate to be in the Netherlands during the tulip blooming season.  Hope you can join us!!


Alaska 2019 part 32

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From this point in the Japanese Garden, you can see a marina in the bay that leads to the sea.

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This tree in the Japanese Garden reminds me of, “As the twig is bent….”

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My sweet partner takes a rest break on a nearby bench.  Great background, but maybe I should have cropped out the dead branches in the top of the photo.

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This is a view of the Italian Garden and the villa.

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The sturgeon fountain.

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More of the Italian Garden.

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On the way out of the garden, beautiful flowers lined the path.

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A snail bids us goodby.  Maybe that is symbolic – he wants us to take our time.

Alaska 2019 part 31

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This is the Japanese garden in the Butchart Gardens.  But then,  you probably guessed that already.

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The Dragon Fountain.  Dragons seem to be very popular in the Orient.

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Again, I’m not a gardener, so I cannot name all these flowers or even make many comments about them – except they are beautiful!  Wish I could.

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Incredible tree!!  Because the seedling was planted in 1934, this tree is older than I am – and that’s saying somethi2019 alaska_0846_stdng!!

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Alaska 2019 Part 30

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Our last excursion on this cruise was to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.  The gardens have an interesting background.  Mr. Robert Butchart had a successful cement manufacturing business in 1888 in Canada.  He and his wife, Jennie were drawn to Vancouver by rich limestone deposits, critical in the manufacture of cement.

By 1909, the limestone was exhausted and they were left with a big hole in the ground.  So his wife made plans to transform the former quarry in to a garden.  She excavated lakes and brought in topsoil.  By  1921 the limestone quarry was transformed into a spectacular 22 acre garden.  Exotic shrubs, trees, and and flowers collected by the Butcharts in their extensive world travels.  The garden is still owned and operated by their family.  The Butcharts named the garden “Benvenuto,”  which is Italian for “Welcome.”  It is visited by close to a million visitors annually and is a National Historic Site of Canada.2019 alaska_0771_std

I’m sorry, but I do not know the names of all these exotic plants and flowers.  So, just relax and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

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A water wheel greets you at the entrance.

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Flowers , flowers, and still more flowers…..

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This is probably some kind of rose.

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Since this Canada, this is probably a bear, but it could be a cat.  What’cha think?

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This is the sunken garden.  Most of the limestone came from here leaving this large pit – a perfect start for a sunken garden.

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It will take a few days to go through the garden on this blog, so our next few posts will be a continuation. I hope you enjoy the images as I did in making them!


Alaska 2019 part 29

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When we got back to the ship, we were greeted by this ape.  He was friendly, though.

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Small boat – large bay!

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Downtown Vancouver as seen from our hotel room.

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I guess they plant lawns on the roof for insulation.

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This is a great restaurant.  We ate here twice.

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Gas station in the middle of the the bay.  Maybe real estate is cheaper out there.

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This is where airplane fueled up and picked up passengers.

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A sternwheeler paddles its way along the bay.

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This is a ferry takes people and cars over to Vancouver Island.  I thought is was a little strange, but Vancouver Island is the capital of British Columbia, but the only access is by airplane or ferry.

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For our next post, we will be in a beautiful garden on Vancouver Island.  I know you cannot wait!

Alaska 2019 part 28

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Our next stop was in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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As you can imagine, there are many float planes and boats around here.  It’s the easiest way to go places.2019 alaska_0735_std

This boat (also Alan Marine Tours) took us to an island where we were treated to to reindeer hot dogs cooked over and open fire.

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Eatin’ our dogs.  They were quite good. The skin was a little tougher that what we’re used to, but they were tasty.  I hope they left a few reindeer for Santa!

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Our guide took us on a short nature walk through the forest.

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Roots have a lot of trouble penetrating the ground here.

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But the trees can still grow quite tall, anyway.

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She called this a shelf mushroom growing out of the side of this tree.

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She asked me if I wanted to hold this slug-looking thing.  I told her “No,” but if she would hold it, I would take a picture of it!

Alaska 2019 part 27

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Well, guess where we are!  As I said yesterday, Juneau is the capital of Alaska, but has no road access; only air and water.

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Juneau as seen from the Holland America cruise ship.

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I know you wanted to see another glacier – that’s why I included this one.

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These beautiful birds build nests in the rafters of the gazebo safe from predators.

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This boat took us from the whale watch to the Orca Point Lodge for a wonderful lunch.

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Allen Marine Tours owns the tour company and several lodges and restaurants.  It is a really good company.   All their tour boats had knowledgeable and caring crews.  We had a few excursions with them and enjoyed them all!!

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The lodge as seen from the boat.

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After lunch, we walked over to their small aquarium where they had some small aquatic life.2019 alaska_0710_std2019 alaska_0711_std2019 alaska_0712_std2019 alaska_0713_std2019 alaska_0705_std

Believe it or not, the native Alaskans can take the sap from this thorny bush and make a nice smelling skin lotion from it!

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Seals sunning on a rock.

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End of another glorious day as we head back to the ship!

Alaska 2019 part 26

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We are still on the Holland America cruise ship en route to Juneau, Alaska.  Funny thing about Juneau.  It is the capital of Alaska, but it is accessible only by airplane or boat.  No Highway or road goes there.

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We are on a whale watch excursion.  I got a lot of pictures of whale backs.

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This guy just breached and dove back into the water.  I missed it!

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He is now diving.

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Thar she blows!!

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Only a fin sticking out of the water.

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Thar she blows again!!

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Then someone shouted, “There’s one breaching!!”  I swung the camera around……

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……and got him almost totally out of the water.  This is probably the best action photo I’ve ever been lucky enough to get.  I had it enlarged to 16×20 and it looks great!

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He splashes down back into the water!

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And then he dives out of sight.

Alaska 2019 part 25

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After watching the eagles for a while, we headed back for the ship.  The stuff on the tree is called “old man’s beard,” or “witch’s hair.”  It is not a parasite and does not harm the tree.  Nutrients come from the air.

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Tree roots hanging on for dear life!  I think it’s the permafrost that keeps them from going very deep.

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Peaceful, serene view.

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Another Alaska totem pole.

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On the way back, we were so fortunate to see a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs.

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We photographed from the truck window.  No way we were getting out of the truck.

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It was cute the way the cubs walked along this dead log.  Human kids do the same thing.2019 alaska_0645_std

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An eagle soars overhead.

2019 alaska_0654_std In the gazebo of a nearby park, some birds had built a nest in the rafters.

Next, we will go on a whale watching excursion.

Alaska 2019 part 24

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While on our photography excursion, we saw this eagle sitting on a river bank.

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He did not seemed to be concerned with us at all!

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Suddenly, he flew off…..

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….and landed on this rock in the river.

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Then he turned around…..

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…….and flew to another nearby rock……

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……and perched on the top of it.

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He then turned around and flew back to the same rock where he came from.  He flew back and forth like that several times.  We figured he must be looking for fish around those rocks.  Too bad, but he had no luck while we were there.

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This a different eagle.  He was perched in a tree on the other side of the river.  My 500mm lens was not quite as strong as I would like to have had.  Probably camera shake is what made the image a little blurry.