We sailed Glacier Bay on the 10th anniversary of our wedding day. A romantic setting, on a romantic day, with a romantic man.
Even the journey up to Glacier Bay the night before was memorable. It was awe-inspiring to walk out on deck and be stunned by the grandeur surrounding us. Those mountains were surprisingly close!
The morning was very cold, and we were thankful for the fleeces and raincoats we had purchased specifically for this trip. The bow was opened for viewing the glaciers. Because glaciers had carved out deep fjords, our giant cruise ship was able to sail very close to the glaciers and snow-topped mountains.
The ship did a couple 360 degree turns directly in front of Margerie Glacier. The rugged terrain of the glacier with its peaks and crevasses was incredible to see so up close and personal. We actually caught a little bit of glacial calving as we stood on deck! Even small chunks of ice echoed loudly as they calved into the sea. It was hard to capture on video since it happened so fast, but you can see a bit of calving at the beginning of this video. Stephen and I spent a while standing on the bow, soaking in the majesty.
Friday, we stopped in Ketchikan, Alaska, where my sister Charis had lived and taught for a school term four years ago. We first wandered the streets of the quaint island city, taking pictures of totem poles and the famous Creek Street boardwalk shops. It was fun to text Charis to find out some of her favorite spots and to let her know we were visiting “her city.” Stephen and I took in the local tourist-y lumberjack show. I have to say it was very entertaining, and “our” lumberjack team won the competition.
We weren’t sure just what to do after the show, so Charis arranged for one of her friends to meet us. Angela was gracious to spontaneously become our personal tour guide to Ketchikan for a few hours. She showed us Charis’s former school and church, and then took us to Totem Bight State Park. When I asked Angela what a “bight” was, she explained that it’s an inlet that basically looks like the ocean took a bite (or bight, as it’s properly spelled) out of the land. She even told us the story behind the totem poles in the clan house. Embarrassingly, I peppered Angela with questions as I was so intrigued to be talking to someone who lived locally in Alaska.
Before we knew it, we were back on the ship and headed to our final port of Victoria, British Columbia on Canada’s Vancouver Island. This time we decided to brave our own shore excursion instead of booking one through the cruise line. It was a success, largely because we were one of the first people to disembark. There were nine of us that banded together on our own private bus tour of the city. The tour guide/bus driver we hired was a native of the city who took us first to Craigdarroch Castle. Though the castle was closed, it was gorgeous to view the architecture from outside.
Buchardt Gardens was the next attraction on the tour. These world famous gardens encompass 55 acres of incredible garden beauty. What a romantic way to end our cruise as we strolled through the sunken garden, rose garden, and the Japanese and Italian gardens.
Finally, we ended up in downtown Victoria in front of the Empress Hotel and the parliament building. Street entertainers and their watching crowds filled the night with music and laughter, the city lights shimmered off the harbor waves, while the lighted outline of the parliament building kept watch over the bustling streets flooded with tourists. It was a bit magical to be deposited at the city center in the midst of it all. Victoria had a London air about it. I licked my maple gelato cone as we window shopped and explored the city after dark.
By the end of the cruise, I was ready to be home and to hug my babies again. The kids had a special week with Stephen’s parents as Grammy and Grampy lovingly spent an entire week with our little peeps.
It’s challenging to articulate my feelings and reflections on reaching our 10th anniversary. Perhaps I can formulate my thoughts into a future post. For now, I’ll just say that it’s humbling–a mix of feeling accomplished that we’ve made it this far (only by God’s grace) and also feeling like a beginner at this marriage thing.
Mostly, I’m thankful.
Thankful for Stephen’s stubborn love for me. And thankful for God’s faithfulness to us both.