Friday September 12

Glacier spotting

Glacier spotting

We’ve been sailing south all day today – back through the countless islands that cling to the Alaskan Coast. They’re nice days, these days at sea, and this one was made all the nicer by clear skies and sunshine. But they don’t give a bloke much to write about.

Statendam in Skagway

Statendam in Skagway

I mean, earlier today we were overtaken by another big cruise ship (who knows what the hurry was) … and we ourselves overtook a huge barge loaded high with crushed and rusted car bodies (destined for meltdown in Vancouver, I guess) … and several of our group sighted dolphins playing in our bow-waves just before lunch … and my wife just told me she saw a huge splash further out (a whale, in her expert opinion) … and at around 2pm this avo we picked up some British Columbia pilots to help us navigate the Seymour Narrows (although I never saw those pilots climb aboard) … and somewhere on these high seas (if it hasn’t already happened) we must cross from Alaskan waters into Canadian (although I doubt that there’ll be any signposts) …

Heading ashore

Heading ashore

But none of these events qualify for more than a half-sentence – right? So allow me, instead, to summarise our journey thus far:

Since casting off its mooring lines in Vancouver late last Saturday afternoon, our floating-hotel-for-the-past-week has cruised 1930 nautical miles … at an average speed of 15.1 knots … although it’s capable of 20.9 knots if someone wants a race.

The mv Statendam is 719 feet long … 111 feet wide … weights 55,819 tons … and is pushed along by two 12000kW diesel electric motors … which, between them, burn up 72 tons of diesel per day.

Some 1286 passengers have been on board this week … along with 575 crew … and, collectively, we’ve used up 500 tons of potable water per day. (If you don’t know what ‘potable’ means, check your dictionary.)

At a briefing this morning, the cruise director shared with us the “Top 10 Silly Questions Asked By Guests This Week”:

10. A confused passenger standing near the stairwell asked, “Do these stairs go up or down?” (Umm, they actually go both ways …)

9. Someone else enquired about the TV set in their cabin: “Is the television satellite or cable?” (Imagine – a cable all the way from Vancouver!)

8. After watching the chefs demonstrate their culinary art, someone asked, “What do they do with the ice carvings after they melt?” (Duh!)

7. Another person, confused about the lifts, asked, “Do these elevators go to the front or the back of the ship?” (No, dear, they only go up and down!)

6. An inquisitive soul asked, “Is there fresh water or salt water in the ship’s toilets?” (Like, why do you need to know – and who wants to find out?)

5. “What religion are the people with the patches behind their ears?” (Ah, no religion, sir – they’re just trying to avoid sea-sickness.)

4. At the photo-gallery where pix taken of passengers are displayed, someone was overheard asking, “How do I know which photo is mine?” (Hey, lady, if you don’t know what you look like by this stage in life …)

3. As we crossed from one time-zone into another, someone asked, “Do we set our clocks back before or after we go to sleep?” (After, dear – just roll over and grab your watch and …)

2. When going ashore for an excursion, someone enquired, “Where is the bus for the Walking Tour?” (Come again?)

1. And finally, a question asked on every cruise: “Does the crew sleep on board?” (No, madam, a helicopter comes each night and picks them up and puts them ashore.”

TOMORROW: We disembark, kiss goodbye to the Statendam, and have the rest of the day at leisure in Vancouver – before a banquet dinner at the historic Steamworks Brewery in Gastown. So keep watching, folks …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages. Also, if you want a better look at our route map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge – magic!

This entry was posted in 2008 Alaska-Canada by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi Mum and Dad

    Sounds like you’re having a fantastic time. Claire was very excited that you got to see whales. We’ve had a nice weekend here, wen tth ethe home show and visited Claire’s grandma. We’re going to Jo and Mikes for tea next weekend, we know that will be a treat.

    Keep enjoying yourselves!!

    Love Steve and Claire

  2. Hi Maureen and Kevin (the Covs)

    Have been following your trip with great interest-what a wonderful time for you both! and plenty more fun to come.Enjoy!!!!You deserve it.

    Johns blogs have been so informative,and we look forward to reading them each night.They will be such a good record of your trip along with the many photos you have no doubt taken,which we also look forward to seeing on your return.

    Hope you have enjoyed Vancouver,where our Judith lives and Marees friend,Michelle, lives on Vancouver Island,which I am sure you will enjoy.

    Love from the Cutfields xx

  3. Hi Mum and Dad,
    I guess the first cruise has come to an end and it sounds like it has been a fantastic time.
    The All Blacks had agreat win against Australia last night taking home the tri nations and Bledisloe, the score was 28 to 24.
    Just had aphone call from Valerie, she is coming up tommorrow to Auckland on bus and having a few days with Bill and Marg and then over to Orewa and back home following Monday.
    Might catch up with her for coffee. She sounds well.
    Val said Ian’s son Tony and Kay Jurgeleit were on your trip.
    Have you met them?
    Do you remember the sub division called Kensington in Orewa that we looked at on the way home from Bay of Islands.
    In the paper this morning it said it has gone into receivership.
    Thats all the news for now.
    We are all well,
    lots of love,
    Sally xxxx

  4. Dear Tim & Dianna
    Many thanks to John for his most interesting writings. Just as well we had his reports as you don’t seem to have mastered the use of your computer.
    Guess you have heard the rugby results… a great win. We have been up in Palmerston North, so enjoyed the game with Richard. Jim was attending Synod, and was exhausted, so headed to bed before the end of the game.
    All is well here. Sounds as though you are having a marvellous time, hope it continues.
    Love Rachael & Jim

  5. Hi mum (Sheryl Robinson)

    Hope everything is going well. Sounds like you are having a great time with what we are reading in the blogs!

    Katey has now got a swing set and a separate slide, so thinks that all is right with the world 😉 Pete had to go all the way over to Tauranga to pick it up on his day off, while I seem to be the mechanical swing pusher for her.

    Unfortunately she has got a throat infection that we had to go to the duty Dr to see today so is on antibiotics. Hopefully it will improve her mood and she will finally be able to sleep through the night again! Had a great dinner of hokey pokey ice cream tonight as cant seem to be able to eat much – any excuse for a sweet tooth like her!

    Pete is doing a great job with the fence. Luckily we have had some fantastic weather to help things along. He will hopefully have it finished within a day or two. Fingers crossed! You will not recognise the place when you get back.

    Havent heard from those sons of yours. I will have to see if Shayne survived his boys weekend in Oz, and Paul his week without you.

    Lots of love and hugs
    Nikki, Pete and Katey 🙂

  6. Greetings Maureen and Kevin (The Covavichs)

    We are enjoying reading this great blog and following your journey. I can’t imagine a more fun ship than yours ( loaded with Kiwis). We look forward to your detour to Virginia at the end of holiday. We will keep reading.

    La Jeanna and Bill

  7. Hi Aunty Pam

    Hope you are having fun – have you seen any bears???

    Mum and Dad are in Venice and it is raining – the main square is flooded!!!
    Grandma is well spoke to her yesterday. It is 28 degrees here on saturday – cant wait until summer.

    Hope you have had nice weather

    love rebeck and melis

  8. Dear Anne, (Anne Shore)

    We are sure you and Monica are having a tremendous time. Fun to follow your adventures. You are probably experiencing the same autumn colours as we are here in Sweden. We are all well and Mats goes back to Cardiff on Wednesday.

    Love from all of us Ewa Murray Mats and Patrik

  9. Dear Jonathan and Bronwyn,

    It sounds from John’s Blog that you will be having a great time. As you can imagine, we wish we were there but hey, the big, hot, round yellow thing in the sky came out over the weekend in Auckland (can’t remember what it’s called) so we had some consolation.

    Greetings from everyone in the office at Habitat too.

    Code Compliance Certificate for Church now in our hands!

    Myra in hospital overnight last Thursday but now seems OK. Bill retired Friday.


    Warren and Heather

  10. Hi Sheryl (Robinson)
    We have had a busy week not too sure where it all went. The weather has been beautiful .
    Quota had a successful garage sale on Saturday morning, Lyn doing a fantastic job getting it all organised . We had a day at home on Saturday , John taking the opportunity to wash the house down while the weather is so good.
    Yesterday we went to Matamata to our friend Mary Rose’s 60th birthday party. She had a brunch & bubbly party which was lots of fun catching up with people we had not seen for some time.
    Today Monday 15 is lovely been to work and now enjoying the rest of the day.
    Sounds like you are having a great time, must have been fantstic up in a helicopter. Did you take enough warm clothes?
    Take care and will talk to you again soon
    Love Nola & John

  11. Hi Peter & Gillian (Burley) & Bruce & Julie (Miller)
    Great to read about all the adventures at sea & of course dad receiving the ‘The Fire Brigade Award’ was a highlight – not entriely suprising we must say, we did wonder how long it would be before we saw at least one of the Burley names up in lights (or awards in this case)…. less than a week !! well done. Bruce & Julie we hope you don’t follow suit!! 🙂 I’m sure we will dine out on that one for years to come!! We do hope that you guys weren’t responsible for any of the ‘Top 10 Silly Questions Asked By Guests’ ???
    Enjoy the rest of your trip. Look forward to reading all the goings ons & hoping Dad you don’t receive many more awards . Alls well here with us – Love Andrew & Tania xxx

  12. Hi Allison E
    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time I am following your progress with interest and envy. Miss ya heaps & presume all is well on the home front as no word so Peaches must be behaving….all good hear enjoy to the max…
    love Linda

  13. Hi Karen and Rodger, was talking to Sarah today, wee Thomas is lovely and getting so big, I think he looks like his Dad.
    Also spoke to Jan they were going to come over to do the garden but ran out of time. Love PAT AND jOHN XX

  14. Hi Rodger and Karen,
    I’m just processing the salaries for the shops, and it appears you have both run out of holiday pay. You may have to come home early or stop shopping.


  15. Hey guys, am getting your text messages but unclear whether you are getting mine!! Ethan got into trouble for the first time (that I know about) today, he is devastated and I can’t really say on a public message board for what!!! Needless to say not very happy on the home front in our house tonight. Now tomorrow I have to go see the teacher!!! Olivia’s ear has still not healed so the Dr has taken a swab and will hear back in a couple of days what the outcome is for that!! Alice had her baby two weeks early yesterday (Sunday 14th) after two days of on off labour – Carter Wade is his name. Well thats about it from here, hope you are continuing to enjoy your trip, am sure with the company you are keeping you will be!!! We all missing you heaps – love to you both Rachael, Mark, Ethan & Olivia xoxoxox P.S. Ethan keeps asking how many presents you will be bringing home for him and telling me I need to buy you a present cause its rude to get a present and not give one in return!!

  16. (Hi John, can you please pass on to Margaret Neill, thanks, Jeanette).
    Hi Mum, I just sent an email to the hotel to be passed on to you so hopefully you get it before you leave the Fairmont. We are all fine but it was just an update to say hi and let you know I tried to email you on that address for the ship but it bounced back several times. Love Jeanette (and Jean & Paul & Pipi & Cleo).

  17. Hi Margeret and Brian (Bates)

    Just thought you should know that Declan Patrick Bruhn was born this morning (5.15NZ time), 9 pound 1!

    Tania is slowly recovering, so please have a celebratory drink if you must!

    Love Mark (who is off to bed now for some sleep)

  18. Hi Mum (Patricia Luskie)

    Finally got on the computer to see where you are and what you have been up to and sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Amber gone to camp today – just waiting for ph call. She had a lovely birthday. Rebecca broke her arm last week so no netball tournment in Rotoroa. Madision and Amber entered Tim in fathers day competition and guess what he won about $1000 in prizes. Take care Love Joanne Rebecca, amber and Madision

  19. Ha ha … am still giggling at those hilarious sayings .. and yes I did look up ‘potable’ which kindly said “drinkable clean and filtered”. Thanks for the lesson in English .. I always come away from the bog .. whoops I mean your blog feeling a lot more knowledgable than before .. thanks for that.

    Continuing the saga of the non walking .. which is a slight exaggeration .. as I am walking ..just pathetically…. more in the next episode. Luv n hugz us xx Missing you !!!!

  20. To Pam Strong , Hi Pam , At last I’ve found your holiday blog . It was great to hear your voice last week ; sorry I missed your call today but after weeks of cold -wet—– the sun shone and I gave my kayak a blast down the harbour ! Thanks for p card , looking on blog , holiday sounds fab ! Have a great time and take care in the icy cold…Love , Mike

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