Monday, August 27, 2012

Ferry Vs. Cruise ship

While riding on the state-run ferry to Alaska we realized we were taking the same course as those people in the fancy cruise ships. I figured, "Wow, we get to see the same things as those people in the expensive boat."

Here is one cruise ship approaching us in the fog.


We were all excited and came outside to watch them go by....
just like we did whenever someone pointed out a whale or a porpoise or anything that seemed interesting.

And it overtook us.

Looking at the cruise ship carefully, however, we realized there were hardly any people looking at the scenery. In fact, I could only count 5!  Where where the rest?

Hopefully they were not all at the restaurants, but pool-side.....
looking at all the wildlife, right there on their super giant TV screen!

Here are pics I took of their TV screen with my own camera
as they "enjoyed" close up videos of sea lions,

of eagles,

and of whales,

right there off their pool deck.

Yes, they got a "better" view than we did....
but heck, why didn't they just stay home and watch it on their own Hi-Res TV?

I think I enjoyed our real life views a lot more.....
not as magnified as their TV images,
but real-life animals just a few hundred feet away from us!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Adventure on the HIgh Seas. Or, should I say, "Adventure on the Low Seas".

Every year you hear of a small tour boat (with a few hundredpeople) that gets stranded or nearly sinks while looking at the glaciers. Well, this year I happen to know people who were actually on one of those adventures.

While on the ferry form Bellingham to Kodiak a couple boarded and told stories of their adventure. According to them, they were with a group of nearly 60 or more tourists going to watch the glaciers calve. On the way they spotted a group of bears on the beach and the captain got closer to show them to the tourists better.

All of a sudden, as they were slowly moving forward, the ship suddenly stops. Many fall, hurting their wrists and arm. One man who was climbing the stairs fell back and knocked his occiput.

You might have read about this. I saw it on the Ketchikan newspaper and it is on the internet.

Yes, Holland America had a giant cruise ship close by and they went to the rescue of the stranded boat, taking 70 people on board. According to the person telling the story, the cruise ship captain told them to make themselves at home, and use all the facilities available to hte paying cruise folks...even complete access to their restaurant. And that more or less what the internet says.

But here is the "rest of the story". According to the teller of the tale (who kept telling the story over and over...and perhaps getting more exaggerated as he told it again......) he was next to the captain driving the boat when it happened. The captain immediately said, "We'll just have to stay here until the tide rises and clears us form this bar."

But, what does he do? Immediately put the boat in reverse, backs up, and rams the propeller and back of the boat into another low water bar. And it is this that caused the boat to spring a leak and take on water....but only on one side of its sealed compartments. So they felt comfortable that the chances of sinking was low.... and the tilting was light enough that they really didn't fear flipping on its side (unless the weather suddenly got bad). Not long after teh cruise ship showed up for the rescue.

Well, that's the story as he told it over and over again. Don't know if it's true, but he certainly enjoyed telling it  over and over again.

PS, here is a pic of one of the Holland America ships as it passed us at about that time.
If you've got to be rescued, why not get rescued in style!

Friday, August 24, 2012

GPS and the Ferry

I just got back to Kodiak on the Kennicott ferry, all the way form Bellingham.

It was surely beautiful.

Even had one rainbow so close that you could almost reach out and touch it!

But, I have to tell you a GPS story for your safety.

When I got off the ferry in Kodiak, my car's GPS still said I was in Bellingham, Washington at the pier ready to board the boat. I drove 2 miles and the GPS showed me and my car driving/floating on the ocean off Bellingham, almost 2,000 miles away. Finally after 2 miles, it told me it did not have a map for where I was ( I never purchased the "Alaska" map option), and so it just showed me what direction I was moving on a compass. That it what it has always done in Kodiak.

Well, something went wrong for one of the people who got off our ferry in Whitier. According to the news report, he was driving at the end of the ferry pier when the GPS told him to make a sharp right. He did. And drove off into the ocean!

A good Samaritan jumped in the water and broke a window so the man could swim out. They were also successful in getting out the 2 dogs that were free in the car. But unfortunately a cat was in its cage and could not swim out. The man and 2 dogs did fine, however.

If you don't believe me, I found an article about it for you to read:  Here is a pic his car being pulled out of the water.

Moral to the story: DO NOT believe your GPS form the lower 48 when you land in Alaska. It just won't know where the heck you are!

But that is not the end of accident stories. Keep in touch and I'll tell you about the stranded glacier viewing trip another day.