Oddly enough, I woke around 2 am in my Juneau Hotel, even after finally checking in "last night" around 10:30 pm. Guess the 16 hour day of traveling didn't wear on the excitement and since there was a 6 am check-in for the Ferry, my internal clock ensured I was up.
Southeastern Alaska is 3 hours behind CST, so guess one could consider it "sleeping in" since not acclimated to AKST and excitement riding high!
The Ferry Ride north to Haines Alaska amounts to 4 1/2 hour journey through the Inside Passage & Lynn Canal, one of the the deepest fjords in the world at 2,000 ft. Weather wasn't too bad, maybe 28 degrees, no wind and a gorgeous sunrise that would've made "magic light" embarrassed.
Once we left the Auke Bay Port in Juneau, not sure I stopped smiling. Our vessel's name was the Aurora and I could only hope at this point in the trip I would be blessed to actually see "The Aurora" or better known as the Northern Lights. It's impossible to adequately describe Alaska in words OR photos for that matter. Given my late arrival & darkness the night before, this was my first real glimpse of ALASKA. As you can imagine, I was "on deck" for 99% of the journey simply awestruck at what I was seeing and photographing; likely non-stop.
Once we started moving the 28 degrees felt like about 13 with windchill. Met quite a few folks on the journey, however myself and another avid crazy, Clayton from Dallas, maintained our positions "on deck" mostly front and center of the Aurora vessel no matter how cold it felt.
How quiet and peaceful everything sounded was beyond what I had imagined, so incredibly surreal. Passing by Glaciers, Lighthouses, Houses nestled in the Mountains, every where I looked I wanted to photograph! The crew on board were simply awesome, once they found out I was a "rookie" they did everything they possibly could to inform me and provide guidance as to everything around. Seriously, were just rock stars all the way around!
It was kinda funny because I had familiarized myself so much with Haines it was easy to tell when we were getting close; just around the bend! There it was, Fort Seward boldly making a presence just in front of the Chilkat Mountain Range.
I even spotted homes previously shared with "daBoss" via Zillow; teasingly for my eagerness to move to Alaska.
As we approached docking port in Haines, it was absolutely unreal to see how small the homes appear next to the Chilkat Range Mountains. Honestly, it didn't look the least bit real. It was as if someone had painted a picture and pasted in front of us in the sky. However, it was real. I could tell once we made the 180 degree turn and roped in at the Alaska Marine Ferry dock in Haines!
Anxiously made my exit from the vessel still in awe of my surroundings. Grabbed my beautiful looking suitcase from the luggage rack, and then I heard "Hello, Gary!"... Nice! It was my guide/host for my Haines Adventure, Tom Ganner.
We loaded up, and set off for Part 2 of Day 2; me seriously wondering if Part 1 could even be topped?