Phillips 26 Glaciers Cruise

After spending the night in Anchorage, we headed to Whittier for another cruise through Prince William Sound with Phillips Cruises & Tours. This cruise was also supposed to be 6 hours. I was almost afraid to say anything about the 6 hours for fear my mom would complain. But then she asked, so I had no choice but to tell the truth.

This cruise was different. The weather wasn’t much different though. Of course I’ve mentioned before that for such cruises/trips, you really shouldn’t worry about things like rain as long as it’s not a deadly storm. We didn’t see whales on this trip, but we did see sea otters and steller sea lions along with tufted puffins and other sea birds. We also saw porpoises, but I gave up on trying to get a shot of one. They’re just too quick. I also managed to get a shot of a bald eagle, shown in the featured image, though he’s far away. At least it’s proof that I was there and saw it with my own eyes.

And on this cruise we also saw more ice dotting the waters closer to the glacier. And speaking of glaciers, we were able to see different types of glaciers and little waterfalls making their way down the mountains. What I learned on this trip is that I have become fascinated with glaciers and icebergs.

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We visited a glacier that calves a lot. Guess what? It calved, and I missed it. So close! What could I possibly do? I have an idea though. I need to make more trips like this one.


Bye bye, Denali

When we got back from our Denali adventure, we were finished. And by finished, I mean we were completely out of energy. We were hungry and tired. It was 8:30pm and all we wanted to do was eat and sleep. We ate, but when we wanted to sleep, my husband asked about the activity for the next day. I was sure it was a free day to drive back to Anchorage at our own pace. So, I decided to check the itinerary and lo and behold, we did have a scheduled activity for the next day. What?! That’s all I could say. What was worse was that it was an early morning activity which might have been interesting had we not been so tired. We all agreed that we simply wouldn’t go. It was paid for, but we were willing to take a little hit to get some rest. And so we did. And then the next morning we got a call from the front desk reminding us that we had a trip. My husband calmly said, “We canceled it. We all canceled.” We were a party of four and not a single one of us could be bothered. We decided to sleep and then get ready to head back to Anchorage.

Even though we didn’t go on our scheduled river float down the Kantishna River, we most definitely enjoyed the views on our way back to Anchorage.

We saw a moose along the roadside as my dad zipped by. There was no way to stop. But, it wasn’t a problem because I did get shots of one in Denali NP. So, by this point just seeing one was enough.

After 4 hours, we stopped at a Wal-Mart and made our way to the hotel which was the same hotel we stayed in when we first arrived to Anchorage. Funny thing was that my husband and my parents didn’t seem to get that fact. My parents both said, “I’m sorry but I liked the hotel we stayed in when we first arrived.” And it took everyone a minute to realize that it was in fact the same hotel. From that moment forward I had to start watching what everyone was drinking :).


Kenai Fjords: Part 2

As we headed back, I was definitely satisfied with the trip and the time seemingly flew by. We had a nice meal on board and met interesting people. I was asked several times to take pictures of people and their families. You see, I’m really good at “looking” like a photographer, lol. And each time I was approached someone said, “You have a nice camera and look like you know what you’re doing.” Isn’t that great? I look like I know what I’m doing. One man asked me about my website that does not exist. And it’s a good thing or else he would have discovered that I am not a professional ;).

Apparently we had a really good trip because we saw plenty on the return trip as well.

We saw several whales. Have I mentioned that I love whales? I love seeing them. We saw one that was super close to a fishing boat. I could only imagine what it must have been like as a whale swam around them. They were mere feet away from that whale.


Afterwards we saw another pair of whales that seemingly waved in the water at times. Unfortunately due to my over excitement, the shots I got quite simply aren’t fit for this post ūüėú.


I’m sure that everyone that was on that boat was more than satisfied. We sat down after some time and I watched my dad in his Cincinnati Reds hat check the photos he got.


The Kenai Fjords cruise is an absolute must for anyone visiting this part of Alaska. Ah, one trip down, more to go!

Kenai Fjords: Part 1

Sea life, glaciers, waterfalls, mountains and more! Where to begin? I guess at the beginning. First of all, I have to say that this was one of the best cruises of this type I’ve ever been on. It was 6 hours and I had my concerns. Would I get bored, cold? Would my mom complain that it was too long or too cold? By the time we got started, I didn’t care. But please don’t tell my mom that.

We took the MMT Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. Even before we boarded, I was happy. It was cloudy and it looked like there was a 100% chance for rain. There was no need to worry which I knew from a previous experience in Malaysia. It was sprinkling. It was super cloudy. There was fog. It was everything that had the makings of a potentially miserable trip. But with an enclosed area, we knew we’d at least be warm and dry.


Sitting on the boat waiting to get moving, I snapped pictures of boats. What a shock! But as we sat there waiting, we also saw sea otters. I think they were sea otters. Or maybe there was one sea otter and one seal. Honestly, they confuse me at times. Not to worry, there would be plenty of wildlife I did actually recognize. For example, bald eagles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of a pair of bald eagles because there were just too many people to compete with. I do believe my dad got one, but he did not share it with me.

As we moved through the water, we alerted to any wildlife that was spotted. And one of the first we saw was the puffin. I managed to get a few shots of them, but I am much too embarrassed to post those here because the pictures suck :). But we also saw steller sea lions, porpoises, and whales. And it was magnificent. The porpoises were much too quick for me to catch though I may have a picture of some water they splashed in. But the whales, oh the whales! We went on two different whale watching trips in the past couple of years and managed to see one whale on each trip. We saw at least seven humpback whales on this one. I was so excited. Though I enjoyed our previous whale watching experiences, this was definitely on a whole other level. Most of the whales we saw were in pairs as seen below.


We also got to see glaciers and one in particular which often calves. The blue hues in the glacier were brilliant. I didn’t know that “ice” could be so mesmerizing. As we moved closer to the glacier, glacial ice seemingly hopped on deck. People were grabbing ice, taking pictures. We could hear the ice moving which was surreal. Looking at it, you’d never imagine that the ice is actually moving. And it calved! Twice! And all I managed to see was the movement in the water because as my dad said, “By the time you hear it, it’s already in the water. I present to you “Holgate Glacier“.



You know what? I was really liking this Alaska trip at this point. And this was only the first part of the cruise. It doesn’t include the trip back to Seward.

Leaving KSA…A Continuation

I left Yanbu on the 8th and spent the day/night in Jeddah. ¬†As is the norm for me, I didn’t sleep before my trip. ¬†But, I wasn’t worried. ¬†I would sleep on the plane. ¬†That’s what I told myself. ¬†I pictured myself stretched out on 2 ¬†or 3 seats. ¬†Aah, what a dream! Unfortunately, it was not my destiny to be comfortable on that flight.

I sat for a moment, and then he came. ¬†Yes, my plane buddy. ¬†I thought my plane buddy was Syrian, but then I saw that he had a Galaxy 3, iPhone and a BlackBerry. ¬†Yep, he was Saudi alright. ¬†But, I digress. ¬†Moving on. One of the flight attendants told him that there were other seats available and that maybe he’d be comfortable in one of them instead. ¬†I know that he told him that for my benefit. ¬†But darn it, he said he’d stay where he was. ¬†Great! ¬†How was I supposed to sleep, comfortably? ¬†Well, it wasn’t about to happen. ¬†And so I began…..

That flight was 13 hours. ¬†And I was uncomfortable the entire time. ¬†I couldn’t really move, but my plane buddy was not phased at all. ¬†He slept like a baby. ¬†It was really too close for comfort. ¬†It was so close I think we might be married now. ¬†He elbowed me a few times while he was in dreamland. ¬†Must have been nice to sleep, Grrr!!! ¬†But when he was awake, he did offer me some of his snacks. ¬†Wasn’t that nice? ¬†And because the battery on my BB was dead, I had to borrow his USB charger. ¬†Well, I had to get something out of this unexpected relationship. ¬†Don’t judge me!

Anywho, I got into Washington, DC. ¬†I was finally on American soil after two grueling years. ¬†It was raining. ¬†Life was good. ¬†Even going through customs was a breeze. ¬†Since my trip to Syria, my life was always hell going through security and customs. ¬†It was a most welcome change. ¬†I headed toward the terminal for my domestic flight. ¬†I walked to the terminal, staring at all the little restaurants and shops. ¬†What would I eat? ¬†What could I buy? ¬†Chipotle, Fudruckers, etc. ¬†The possibilities were endless. ¬†I settled on a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. ¬†If you haven’t had pretzels from there, you must, absolutely have to try one. ¬†Mmm mmm good. ¬†And again, I digress. ¬†I called my family to let them know I was there and I sat. ¬†I waited. ¬†And as luck would have it, my flight was delayed. ¬†The plane was still in New York, delayed because of weather. ¬†It was storming pretty badly. ¬†I didn’t care because I was almost home. ¬†What did bother me was the fact that the goofy airlines people made useless announcements. ¬†“The flight to Cincinnati has been delayed. ¬†We don’t know when it will be departing.” ¬†Lovely! ¬†To make matters worse, that goofy lady was hard to understand. ¬†Can we please get someone who speaks English or a language that someone understands? ¬†Man! ¬†These people.

Finally, they announced the arrival of the New York flight and that soon the flight to Cincinnati would depart soon after. ¬†I got in line, ready to leave. ¬†Get outside and there’s a toy plane waiting. ¬†“Should this toy be allowed to fly,” I wondered. ¬†Again, I was going home so, whatever, right? ¬†Got in the plane and it started raining again. ¬†Nice.

Cincinnati, Ohio.  I was finally home.  I got my bags and headed to the rental car office where I had reserved a car.  I drove home, admiring the Cincinnati skyline.

I made it home.  Finally.  It felt good.

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