Printed August 6, 2019

North to Alaska VII

Last Port of call, Victoria and home

By Janice Edwards/ The Bulletin

After leaving Skagway, we sailed all night and all the next day (our longest sail at 883 nautical miles,) making our last port of call, Victoria, British Columbia. at 7 p.m. We had used the sailing time to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and do a little discovery on the ship.

There was a sale on jewelry down at one of the shops on the ship, and Shirlene and I checked it out. They had some nice stuff, but nothing said, “buy me.” I collected my free whale tail fluke pendant (which was their draw) and moved on to the T-shirts. And that was weird. You’d think they would have Alaskan themed T-shirts and sweatshirts, but no. If you didn’t want Hawaii themed merchandise, you were in the wrong place. So, our money stayed safe in our wallets. We went to our state rooms and later ate early so we could make our shore excursion.

When we docked at Victoria at 7 p.m., it looked like dusk does here. But with the time change and all, it had already been a long day. Roy and I and Shirlene and James disembarked for our shore excursion – a guided tour of Victoria on a horse-drawn trolley. Before we got to the trolley, though, we spotted something amazing. Another cruise ship was docked next to ours with a Wyland mural on the bow. Robert Wyland is an American artist best known for his 100 Whaling Walls, large outdoor murals featuring images of life-size whales, and other sea life. That was a treat. Roy and I had seen some of his other murals several years ago when we drove the Washington / Oregon coast.

There were too many people on the first trolley to accommodate us, but we caught the second. The driver was interesting with lots of historical bits of information, a ghost story, and entertaining answers to our questions. But, to be honest, I don’t remember much except her discussion of the transplant of the Giant Sequoias there and how well they were growing.

With waiting for the second trolley, the length of the tour and the fact our ship was sailing at 11:59 p.m., I felt pressed for time. Once we got back to the dock, we had to go back past the souvenir shop. I might have spent a little time there, but it got way too crowded, way too fast with everyone trying to get a Canadian souvenir, so we weaved our way through the crowd like salmon swimming upriver and boarded the ship with about 20 minutes to spare. Then we watched them unload the trash collected during the cruise before we set sail.

We docked at Seattle at 7 a.m. May 26 – the cruise was over. Then began the disembarking of the ship – which went very quickly considering how many people were on board.

We caught a shuttle to the airport and flew back to Houston Intercontinental Airport, retrieved James’ truck from parking, drove back to Pearland, bid the kids good-bye, got in our car and drove back to West Columbia to retrieve our dogs from boarding. That was a pleasant experience that I did not expect. It was a Sunday on Memorial Day weekend, and they weren’t open at that time. But I had made arrangements to pick up our “girls” - and they were ready.

We thanked the pups’ caretakers, paid them and drove home. It was now after 10 p.m., and counting the two-time changes, which added another two hours to the time, Roy and I, Skunk and Coon Dog were glad to be home. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so glad we went. But then again, it may have created a monster… There is a cruise/drive tour of Alaska we’d like to explore, and a cruise on the Snake River, then there’s…

(Jan wants to hear from you. Write her in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)