Welcome to Icy Strait Point! No ice to be seen anywhere….
Weather 12 degrees and cloudy, in total contrast to what we’re hearing back in Blighty.
Breakfast in the World Cafe this morning. They have corned beef hash….. 😋
The port talk yesterday gave the impression that there wasn’t much here. True to a certain extent, but what there is is entirely given over to the tourists from the cruise ships.
It’s a pretty spot, and the place is being developed by the local native American administration. Quite a lot of building going on.
Plenty of retail opportunities here. I confess I bought a woolly hat here as it was a bit nippy round the edges and I’d forgotten to bring one with me….. Jean did the same.
There was an interesting exhibition about the cannery that used to exist here. It’s becoming obvious that the salmon is a vital part of Alaska’s economy, for humans and fauna alike.
A two-level cable car system took us up to the top of the hill behind the mooring. The first one simply took us to the other side of the bay.
Nothing much to see here, so on we pressed up the much steeper Level 2. All of this was included in our ticket.
Nothing much going on here either, but some decent views:
Back to the bottom of the mountain, where we discovered that the presentation by native Americans (the Hoonah tribe of the Tlingit people) was due in 8 minutes with a time indicated of 9 minutes to get there! So off we set at a very smart clip and actually made it with a minute to spare. Given the state of my knees these days, that was a result.
Normally these things leave me a bit cold, as I’m cynical about how authentic they are. However, this was actually quite interesting, as it told us about the myths and legends belonging to these people, handed down over hundreds of generations, about how the world began in their eyes. Much of it centred around the raven, a hugely important bird for the Tlingit. There were two main subgroups – ravens and eagles – and no intermarriage within the groups was allowed. Ravens had to marry Eagles and vice versa. This was presumably to obviate inbreeding in some way. Interestingly, the Australian aborigines, another very ancient civilisation, had a similar scheme. All well presented.
Back to the ship after this. Repaired to the Pool Bar for some food and drinks after getting the washing on in the laundrette on our deck. Viewers of my previous blogs will recall that these things are important, you know……😉
We then attended a port talk about our next destination – the state capital of Alaska, Juneau. Sounded interesting – you can’t get to it by road, only from the sea!
There was then a small presentation for Viking Explorers – those who have previously been on Viking cruises, into which category we most definitely fit. Definitely didn’t say much that I didn’t already know, but it was an excuse for a glass of fizz…..
This was further followed by a talk from the resident historian, Terry Greenberg, about the utter folly and futility of the Klondike gold rush of the late 19th century. Harrowing stuff. Of about 100,000 people that set out, only about 12,000 made it, and of those, only around a dozen made any money. The rest died or went home broke. The prospectors were referred to as the stampeders – mass hysteria on a huge scale.
A nice dinner again after that, followed by our first visit to the nightclub on board, the Torshavn. The first show was the accomplished Viking Band banging out some classic Motown and other upbeat numbers. Went down well. The second was Allen, the onboard guitar entertainer. Also very accomplished. He managed a remarkable rendition of the Led Zeppelin rock classic “Stairway to Heaven”, for example. He was due to finish at midnight, but he took a break at about 11.15. We decided that that was enough excitement and went to bed.
Juneau awaits tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes…..
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