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Alaska (Part 1 of 2)

Four words for you: trip of a lifetime! Chris and I just got back from an amazing adventurous vacation in Alaska, and I miss it already. This place is absolutely breathtaking and magical. I know a lot of people retire to someplace warm like Florida, but I think we could happily settle down anywhere in Alaska. (You know, in 35+ years when we actually can retire.) Chris and I went nuts taking photos of course, although mostly just with our new little point-and-shoot (Canon PowerShot G12) camera.

We decided that a cruise would be the best/easiest way to get to a lot of the places we wanted to see, with the benefit of being sort of all-inclusive, so we booked a one-way itinerary on the Celebrity Millennium.

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We set sail from Vancouver, Canada, and we flew in a day early just to get settled and make sure we definitely got on the ship in time! Plus it gave us some time to walk around Vancouver a bit, and we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Cardero’s.

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The best benefit to our cruise was our cabin with this amazing balcony (or veranda, if you will). Our cabin was located on the aft (the back of the ship, land lovers!) and we had a 180-degree view of the scenery. It was awesome for taking photos, or for just sitting and watching the mesmerizing patterns of the wake.

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We had fantastic weather nearly every single day. Spoiled!

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Our first port of call was a small town in Southern Alaska called Ketchikan. Chris and I went kayaking in Orcas Cove – our first time kayaking ever! We shared a two-person kayak, and contrary to the photo below, Chris did help paddle. (Thanks to our awesome guide, Alex, for the photo!) I also took a few photos of my own once I got over my fear of tipping over and losing my camera in the water.

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The next port of call, Icy Strait Point, included a trail ride on ATVs. Our fabulous guide, Amber, carried bear mace just in case. Although Chris and I really wanted to see bears.

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The view from the top of Chichagof Island was beautiful. We even saw a bald eagle! Again, I just had my point-and-shoot along so it’s kind of like Where’s Waldo, but in the whale photos below and also in the next post I’ll show some photos we took with our other gear including a telephoto lens that we rented especially for this trip.

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And as long as we were at the top of the island, might as well take the quickest way back down right? We rode the ZipRider, which is currently the world’s longest zip-line at nearly 5500 feet long (with a drop of 1320 feet – taller than the observation deck of the Empire State Building)! Chris and I are the two people with our arms straight out, clearly the only two people crazy enough not to hold on.

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Among other firsts in Alaska, this was my first time trying some new foods, including crab. My verdict: not bad! Kind of creepy, because I like my food to be a little more abstract instead of having legs, but it was pretty good.

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And then for the highlight of the first half of our trip, we went on a whale-watching cruise, where we took a smaller boat out to find whales and other sea mammals. We had our telephoto (long) lens and were able to get some pretty cool photos. Here are a few favorites:

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Stay tuned for the second blog post of highlights from our Alaska trip where we did REAL zip-lining (there’s video proof!), and took a helicopter ride where we landed on a glacier and went dog sledding! Mush! (They don’t actually really say “mush” though.)

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