Friday, August 8, 2008


First, the big news on our juvenile eagle—s/he has flown! Since arriving home from the trip to Alaska, I have seen him/her on the nest, and fly over the house to land in a cedar tree near the lake. I continue to listen for its call, and train my eyes to the location of the crows anytime they gather and squawk, since they seem to do that whenever any raptor approaches their nest/s. By tracing the crows’ noisy racket, I have found eagles, hawks, and osprey on different occasions.

In the meantime, a slight digression to post some info and pictures from my recent trip, and then I’ll get back to garden and bird news in future posts.

It was a lovely time on the cruise up the Inland Passage to Alaska, although I am happy to be back on terra firma. The trip would have been perfect if we could skip over the first full day’s cruising.

Here’s how the trip went…

We left the port of Seattle Sunday afternoon, headed to sea to the droning of the engines, full of anticipation, unaware of what the next 24 hours held.

Seattle skyline

Smooth sailing

The next day found us approaching , and in, the Hecate Strait.

As we progressed northward, the waters became angry, the wind screamed across the deck, and the visibility was nil. Sitting at the dinner table, we started to notice the boat leaning to the side more and more. A huge gust of wind seemed to lift us and carry the listing ship across the water for at least 10 minutes. During that time, glasses crashed, dishes fell, and people flew about. As I made my way to the room, friends likened me to a starfish clinging to the walls - very funny now that we’re safe and sound.

View from the dinner table, just before giving my impression of a starfish on the walls

The TV in the room had a station where you could monitor the progress of the boat and all the information about the weather, seas, winds, etc. After seeing the winds progress to what is called ‘Wind Force 10/Storm’, I was curious what this meant exactly. It is a measurement on the ‘Beaufort scale’,

and 'Wind Force 10' is a Whole gale/Storm, with seas to about 30 feet, winds to 63 miles per hour, and extremely limited visibility. Here’s the description: Very high waves. The sea surface is white and there is considerable tumbling. Visibility is reduced.

That was an understatement.
The pictures below just don’t do the experience justice.

From the back of the boat toward the bridge

After that, the rest of the cruise was lovely. There were the most incredible views of glaciers and icebergs, and fun times at the cities where we stopped.

Tracy Arm

Glacial ice in Tracy Arm

Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau

Tourists taking over Skagway, AK

Serene Seattle

Overall, I guess you could say the Inland Passage Rocked. ~Aerie-el


  1. Wow! That storm sounds intense! Love all the photos. That glacial blue is incredible, isn't it. Something to do with high nitrogen content, right?

    Also, I'm so glad to hear the eagle is flying so well. Hooray! :)

  2. Thanks, Tui for the most excellent question about the blue color of the ice!!

    The nature specialist onboard talked about that, and I think the best explanation is on the website:

    (quote) Why the Pretty Colors?
    Year after year, snow accumulates and compacts underlying snow layers from previous years into solid ice, causing changes in volume, density and crystal structure. Glacial ice appears blue because it absorbs all colors of the visible light spectrum except blue, which it transmits. Glacial ice may also appear white because some ice is highly fractured with air pockets and indiscriminately scatters the visible light spectrum. Rocks and other debris picked up by the glacier add a brown tint to the picture. (end quote)

    Here are a couple other good websites for information on glaciers and icebergs:

    As for the juvenile, I've got a few photos of him/her to post, once I finish getting unpacked now that I'm finally home again!

    Hope you're enjoying Italy, even though it looks like Naples is deserted for August!


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