Friday Sept 13, 2013


I wasn’t planning on writing a blog tonight. I was planning on having a night off, going to bed early, and reading a good book. But, after cruising night and day (since Wednesday) through the island-studded waters of coastal Alaska, we docked around lunchtime in the country’s capital, Juneau – small, unphotogenic, nothing to write home about. But it is home to the native Tlingit Indians and their totem-pole artistry. And visitors come here from all over the world to kayak, dog-sled, raft, sightsee, fish and whale-watch. Which is exactly what we Kiwis got up to this afternoon. And it was so FANTASTIC that I simply won’t sleep unless I tell you about it.

We drove by coach to scenic Auke Bay, where a jet-powered catamaran took us out on an Alaskan-style wildlife safari. These deep, glacial, beautiful waterways are home to seals, sea-lions, bald eagles … and hungry humpback whales. And we wasted no time spotting their tell-tale spouting.

Before you knew it, we were right amongst them – lolling lazily on the surface, their nostrils gaping behind their heads and their signature humps showing proudly, then diving oh-so-graciously for food, their huge tail-flukes waving wetly in the air.

I don’t know what these monstrous, majestic mammals (longer than a bus and 5 metres wide across the tail) thought of us, rushing eagerly from one side of the boat to the other, searching, shouting, pointing, and aiming our binoculars and cameras in all directions at once, but we humans were utterly captivated by them.

It was magic. Pure magic. These graceful humpbacks had travelled all the way from their breeding grounds in Hawaii to their feeding grounds here in Alaska. And they kept coming up for air close enough to our boat (I kid you not) that we could spot the barnacles on their giant tails and smell the fishy stink on their spouting breath!

You’re gonna be green with envy when you see our pix. So here they are. And, if I sign off quickly, I can still have that early night …

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TOMORROW: The adventure continues as our Mad Midlife Kiwis ride gold-rush trains and helicopters in Skagway. Whatever you do, don’t change channels!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your ‘COMMENTS’! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want to receive future blogs hot-off-the-press in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription!

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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. Oh man … what an amazing amazing experience – I bet you were all BUZZING big time.
    This definitely looks like a ‘must do’ trip. Glad you are all having such a blast while we are working hard back here ha ha. AB’s did great against the Springbok and we are 7 to 1 against Oracle in the America’s cup as of today. I have decided I am a candidate for ‘heart attacks’ during the respective races … I don’t think my heart could go any faster in fear and excitement. Love ya xx

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