Alaska Cruising Advice:
television commercial Iíd like to make.
The camera is
looking down on the Southeast Alaskan shoreline from
50 miles in the sky. On the screen and we see the
words, ďAlaska Cruising Advice.Ē
The camera zooms
in and now we recognize snow-capped mountains and
glaciers curving down to the sea. More slowly now,
the camera moves in closer and reveals a quiet cove
with a gleaming yacht and five kayaks paddling from
the mother ship toward the shore. You hear majestic
music, and the high, clear call of a whale.
music stops. We get a view of a massive cruise ship
out in the open sea. It slowly moves out of sight.
Then the camera and the music return to the
tranquil, happy scene in the cove.
Then, one by
one, words roll up on the screen and park themselves
into one sentence --
Vic and I are
convinced. In 2004, to mark our 20th anniversary, we
did a little personal research. From Seattle we flew
to Sitka, about 90 minutes southeast of Anchorage.
We boarded Ursa Major, a 65-foot, Malahide
wooden hull trawler. Itís the perfect boat to see
Major took us graciously along this spectacular
American coastline. She turned into quaint harbors
with fishing villages and nosed into fjords with
calving glaciers and waterfalls. We watched sea
lions, otters, eagles and even a mother bear with
three cubs moving along the shoreline.
You need to
cruise Alaska at least once in your lifetime. And,
when you do, hereís a word of advice. Donít book
passage on a cruise ship. Big cruise ships donít fit
in and donít dare enter the best coves. Big cruise
ships donít let you slide a kayak into the water to
explore a waterfall or walk the shoreline to some
hot springs. Big cruise ships donít let you put a
fishing line in the water to catch a fresh fish for
Big cruise ships
move at night past scenery passengers never get to
see. Ursa Major overnights quietly in
isolated coves. While big ship sheep shuffle down
the buffet line, guests on Ursa Major applaud
the chefís cold smoked salmon, salmon caviar, and
stuffed grape leaves. They fall asleep to the unique
sound of a remote wilderness. In the morning, their
alarm clock is fresh-baked bread. At lunch, between
spoonfuls of hearty homemade soup, they share
experiences with new friends.
Those who know
how much I love cruising Southwest Florida must be
thinking, ďIs this the same Barb Hansen who writes
about the glories of cruising the beautiful
Mate. Iím still Southwest Floridaís number one
cruising fan. But once or twice in our short lives I
think we owe it to ourselves to cruise the second
most wonderful place on the water planet Ė Alaska.
Vic and I are
hosting another cruise through Southeast Alaska this
summer. If you would like to join us aboard the
Ursa Major, just give me a call. We have cabins
Think of it as a
gourmet cruise, with friends, on a kind vessel that
is just the right size to experience Americaís last
piece of real shoreline wilderness.