Friday, September 19, 2014

Cruising Alaska, Butter, Bacon, Desserts and the Wetsuit.

Stan and I went to Alaska the first of September aboard the Norwegian Pearl out of Seattle.  Knowing that I would probably put on a few pounds I diligently followed my diet and dropped about 10 pounds prior to departure.  I don't like to fly, ever, but our trip on Alaskan Airways was pleasant even though it was about 4 hours long.  When I travel I end up with the mother of all "cankles" and this time was no exception.  I was downing Lasix like skittles so that I could fit into my shoes. We spent the night before departure in Seattle at the Doubletree otherwise known as the "cookie" hotel.  When you check in they present you with 2 large chocolate chip cookies that are still warm.  The damn things are about 400 calories each but as you know calories do not count on vacation.  They are the best and worth every dollar that we had to spend to stay there. The next morning boarding the ship  I had one moment that caused me concern and brought me front and center to the  current events of the time.  We were in back of a group of Muslims all carrying backpacks.  It made me nervous and sad at the same time.  13 years ago I wouldn't have given them a thought.  Then 9/11 happened.  I obsessed about what they were carrying in their backpacks. I hate that about myself but I did manage to smile at the family in front and make true and appropriate noises about what beautiful children they had.  They were lovely but I still remained untrusting.  

I love cruising.  I love the food, the people and the casino on board.  I am just happy as I can be doing nothing but eating, drinking and playing the slots.  I did not miss a meal.  I ate often and well.  I probably ate more in a week than I do in a month at home.  I ate bacon every day.  I convinced myself that I would need the fat to keep warm.  I didn't miss a single dessert.  I cannot explain it but cruise ship butter tastes so much better than what I have at home.  I used a whole lot of butter on a whole lot of rolls.  My name is Debbie and I KNOW that I have an eating disorder. I know better and have returned to my pre-cruise diet but boy did I have a wonderful gastronomical holiday!

Juneau was our first stop in our cruise and where we were going to the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale watch.  I was the one that booked and paid for our tours so the fault is all mine that I didn't realize that this tour included a hike.  The path was paved so it wasn't like hiking on stone and dirt but I really didn't realize that I would have to walk.  I am a princess.  I don't do hikes.  I should, I know, then I wouldn't have to worry about all the butter I eat.  I have issues not just the size of my butt.  My knees are victims of holding up all my weight and give me trouble every once in a while.  I held my own and other than some huffing and puffing did well.  The glacier was beautiful, it was worth the hike.  We then boarded a boat to look for whales. I had my trusty camera and came prepared to get some tail.  Whale tail. I had a problem with making my fingers work at the right time.  The whale would breach and I was in awe and just stood there, camera in hand, watching this wonder of nature when my brain would engage thinking "PICTURE" and I would take the pix.  I have many many pictures of the tip of the whale tails only.  Our boat broke down on the way back to shore and we had to be "rescued" by another tour.  It was great fun.

We stopped at Skagway, Alaska next and took the White Pass train trip.  We took a bus to Fraser, BC and boarded the train to travel 27 miles to Skagway, AK.  Stan loved the trip as he is into trains and spent the whole time outside on the platform between the cars. I enjoyed it but spent long minutes with my eyes closed as we passed over narrow mountain passages.  Afterwards we were bussed to a   reconstruction of an old tent town called Liarsville and fed a meal of salmon and sides.  They had a show afterwards. I spent time talking to the actors and  I shopped. I found a wonderful knit cap shaped like a beaver head.  I never knew that I wanted a beaver head hat, it must have been the altitude.  Maybe it was the beer.

Since the time we booked our trip and were able to look at tours  I have been over the moon about coming to Ketchikan, AK.  I was going to snorkel, in a wetsuit, at Mountain Point outside of Ketchikan.  The tour provided heated 7mm wetsuits.  I have no experience in donning wetsuits but I have a ton of experience with  a Spanx,  Previously,  writing about my daughters wedding I devoted 2 posts to that invention of Satan.  It took a team of people to get me into my spanx and still have nightmares about the experience.  I called ahead of time and discussed my concerns with a representative of the tour.  I explained my problems getting into my Spanx and let him know that even though I was way below the weight limit I anticipated a struggle.  He was very quiet during my explanation of the wedding travails.  I did hear him snort once and I think he then pressed the mute button on.  He finally laughed when I told him that I was okay to be amused that it would not hurt my feelings.  He ASSURED me that someone would be able to help me.  While getting in our suits we were separated  by only curtains into open dressing  rooms, men from women.  I could not make grunting noises because everyone would hear.  I literally  could not get the damn thing on.  I mean it.  I pulled, tugged, struggled and then started to sweat.  That made it worse. One of the other ladies on the tour and one of the guides had to squeeze me into what amounted to a body shaped Michelin tire.  It was 7mm thick.  Then you add the head thingy and the booties.  Do any of you have any idea how hard it is to walk in that much rubber.  My only consolation was that if I fell I would bounce.   I was able to sit down. Sort of.  I noticed that in my lap was what appeared to be a very large air bubble.  I was fascinated with it and poked at it trying to make it go away.  I realized that I could feel the sensation of my poking.  The "air bubble" was in fact where the tops of my thighs and my stomach went when I put on my suit.  I had an impressive "package" and had I been a guy, would have been strutting my stuff.  We had to walk to the waters edge through a path of large rocks and I had great difficulty.  The wetsuit made it nearly impossible for me to bend my knees so to get to the top of a rock I would have to throw my straight leg up and sideways.  I really struggled to get into the water but once there it was magical.  God dropped a hand full of beautiful in Mountain Point and I got to see it in all of its glory.  I was toasty warm and even got rid of my gloves because I couldn't take pictures with them on.  The upside of having my hands in the cold water was that the arthritis that bothers my hands took a holiday for a while.  I did fall getting out of the water trying to get up on the shore and no I did not bounce but had a devil of a time getting back up.  I kind of did a push up and walked my way backwards because I couldn't bend my legs.  I gave the group a very large tip. 

The next day our boat sailed around glacier bay and I was in awe seeing things that I have only seen in pictures.  It was simply beautiful.  The next day we spent several hours in Victoria, BC.  We took a private tour with a cab driver and had a blast.  He took us everywhere and was very knowledgeable about his city and it's history. 

On our return we again stayed at the Doubletree and got the cookies.  We took the train and went to downtown Seattle and wandered around the market for several hours before returning for the night.

I was glad to get home and we are planning on a return trip with friends.  I imagine that I will forgo the snorkeling  next time.  I will be posting pictures in the next day or two so check back and let me share my experience with you. 

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