This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
COVER STORY


ALASKA


above water as we passed by. There were hundreds of barking Stellar sea lions sunning themselves on salt-sprayed rocks, dozens of whales offering a goodbye wave of the tail as a grand finale to a spectacular jump and species of sea birds galore, including flotillas of colourful, penguin-like puffins. All that and we’d not yet set foot on the Admiralty Dream. I always suggest taking the smallest vessel possible, when asked about cruising Alaska’s waterways. At the same time, I add that Alaska is of


A


lready we’d seen sea otters – with pods of the cartoon-like creatures floating on their backs with toes in the air – and curious harbour seals, poking their heads


– Up Close & Personal


Yvonne Horn discovers an alternative way to enjoy this amazing region, with the small-scale adventure of Alaskan Dream Cruises


such unimaginable magnificence that even those stepping aboard a multi-thousand-passenger ship come home extolling a sailing that has taken their breath away.


On this trip, my small vessel was one of two


operated by Allen Marine as Alaskan Dream Cruises. Although the operation is new, Allen Marine’s roots date back to 1970, when Bob and Betty Allen scraped together sufficient funds to launch a sightseeing day-excursion boat into the wildlife-rich waters of Sitka sound. The couple personally greeted those embarking on the tour. In Betty, they found a direct descendent of the Tlingits of Sitka’s Sheet’ka people and the great-great grand-daughter of one of the first Russians to arrive in what was to become the capital of Russian America. In Bob, who ventured into the far north following


World War II, they met the quintessential Alaskan of imagination, a man who’d worked on sternwheeler riverboats, run a trap-line by dog team, sluiced for gold, piloted bush planes and captained commer- cial fishing boats. Betty served Russian tea from a samovar while Bob ran the boat and provided commentary. Grand net that first year, $82. With vision, hard work and the exquisite timing that coincided with Alaska emerging as one of the world’s most popular cruising grounds, Allen Marine now operates more than 30 purpose-built excursion boats out of Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka.


WHEN TO GO


Alaska’s summer is June through August. Winter extends from October to April. Spring and autumn, May and September, are the state’s shoulder season.





Cruising during a shoulder season offers bargains, thinner crowds, and fewer bugs, along with seasonal advantages like birch forests erupting in brilliant fall colour. Fall disadvantages include declining amounts of warmth and sunlight; also, September can be one of the wettest months. May, however, can be one of the finest months to travel, usually with less rain than in the summer season. Shoulder season travellers, however, should be aware many attractions aren’t open in early May or late September.


Winter 2011-12 I WORLD OF CRUISING 25


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104