Does that do it justice? No, I don't think so. How can I truly describe the sensations involved in dining on a gourmet breakfast outdoors on the open deck, at the very stern of the ship, ten feet from one of the world's most stunning glaciers? How do I describe the ice pack in the water; the blend of gunshots, thunder, and creaking old stairs that emanates from the glacier as it calves? How do I convey the energy projected from the mountains and the trees and the water on the forest trail in the tiny port town of Icy Strait Point?
What can I say about the Aleutian Ballad, an old crab fishing boat that was recently retrofitted for tourism in Ketchikan after years of trolling the Bering Sea? How do I describe Chief and Kiwi, a captain and a deckhand who plied those waters, appeared on Deadliest Catch, and have stories that go on for miles? They were there, they lived it, and they brought it to us. Shall I talk about the majesty of literally hundreds of bald eagles swooping and diving within mere inches of the boat?
Or how about Skagway, that old gold rush town that lived and nearly died over only a two-year span, yet remains today a tribute to those brave souls that risked virtually certain death and despair for a chance at fortunes untold? Or shall I focus on the good-time girls who entertained them, and the brothel tour that I almost had a job narrating two years ago?
Juneau, Seward, the ship itself...the port town locals I have met and bonded with, the devastatingly handsome Ukranian crewman on the Millennium with whom I am still in contact, the middle schoolers from Illinois here in Seward on an eco-tour...all have touched my heart and soul, and all deserve recognition and appreciation.
What about the midnight sun? It's cloudy here most of the time, with the sun only occasionally peeking through. Yet it is almost always light. A few nights ago, Dad took pictures from Deck 4 at 3:30 in the morning. It looked like a late afternoon in Florida. I would never have thought that I, a creature of the night, would be able to handle constant sunlight, but in the haze, fog, and clouds, it's not a harsh light. Instead, it is an enveloping, peaceful, welcoming blanket of soft and quiet light.
We're on day nine of an approximately month-long journey through Alaska, and I have already discovered enough moments and created enough memories to last me for a lifetime. All that remains is to figure out how to tell the story. But describing Alaska to those who have never experienced it is like trying to describe sight to someone born blind. This is going to be one hell of an interesting set of tours to write!!