We awoke at 3:15 a.m. and were at the Auke Bay ferry terminal by 5:15 a.m. It was a beautiful, sunny day. We were soon on board, relaxing in the forward lounge, with our vehicle stowed on the car deck. [Our vehicle was a 2001 Ford Escape. If you make this trip, you will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle.] Several eagles were entertaining us as we waited to depart. A little girl, about seven years old, was sitting next to me and sketching a picture of one of the eagles. I was impressed by her work!
Dan and I went to the cafeteria and had breakfast soon after we left port. After eating, we returned to the forward lounge. We began to see humpback whale, frolicking off the starboard side of the ship. Then Dan and I both spotted one off the port side, much closer. Everyone scurried to that side of the ship, after we called attention to it. This whale gave us a show we'll never forget, first leaping clear out of the water several times, then "standing" on its head and continuously slapping its tail (must have been feeding). This went on for several minutes, until our ferry had passed him by. I had put my camera away, earlier, and didn't go get it, because I figured this whale would dive before I could get ready to take his picture. As it turned out, I had plenty of time, so lost an amazing opportunity for some shots. The nature guide on board gave Dan and me a "whale watcher" card for being the first to spot this entertaining whale.
11:30 a.m. - We arrived at Haines, Alaska. The ferry terminal in Haines is quite a distance from town, so we just stayed on board while we were docked there. We sat in the warm sun for awhile, on deck, then went to the cafeteria for lunch. The egg salad sandwich I bought had terribly dry bread, so wasn't very tasty. I ate most of the egg salad, and then returned to the deck and fed the ravens the stale bread. They would almost take it from my hand, but would shy away when they were just inches from grabbing it. Once they had the Haines passengers and their cars on board, we departed for Skagway.
2:00 p.m. - We docked in Skagway, Alaska. Once we had our vehicle off the ferry, we headed out of town and made Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, in about 2-1/2 hours, with a brief stop in Carcross for an ice cream cone.
Here in Whitehorse, Dan isn't happy with the hotel I booked, The Riverfront. I don't think it's too bad, although there is no air conditioning, and, I must admit, it is hot here today. We both rested for awhile in the hotel room, with the window open and a fan running. After our rest, we walked a couple of blocks to a little barbecue place. We ate outdoors, and we both had the fresh halibut dinner. It was so good; our meals cost a total of $49 Canadian (exchange rate was .656, so that was about $32 US).
On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the Westmark Hotel and made a reservation for our return trip. We'll cancel the one at the River Front . . . Yes, I agree . . . too hot without AC. Back at the hotel, we got in the car and drove around Whitehorse for awhile, stopping at Tim Horton's to try their donuts. Tim Horton's is a coffee/donut chain that originated in Canada, but has shops in some parts of the U.S. now. We'd never been to one before, but based on a high recommendation by our friend, Dave, we were expecting great donuts . . . we were disappointed.
Tomorrow's plans are to drive to Dawson City, where we'll spend the night before starting on our adventure, up the Dempster Highway.
[Do you have questions about the Alaska ferries? If so click here.]