August 2017 was crazy busy! I was on THREE different cruise ships and had scheduled dogsitting, travel agent meetings, and a full-on bedroom purge/rearrranging in between. I was all over the place this month and my body never knew what time of day it was. With so much back-and-forth travel, you can bet I had plenty of mishaps! (It is me afterall).
I experienced delayed flights and sickness, but the worst of all was coming across the most infuriating crew member (see the Lows section if you want your feminist blood to boil). August wasn’t all stressful though. I also got to hike to an incredible spot and spend a cruise contract with some of my favorite people!
Juneau — 2 days
Skagway — 2 days
Ketchikan — 1 day
Whittier/Anchorage — 1 day
Glacier Bay National Park — 1 day
College Fjord and Tracy Arm Fjord were also visited, each for a few hours of scenic cruising.
San Francisco — 4 days
Sacramento — 9 days
Seattle — 2 days
Victoria, B.C. — 1 day
Nagasaki — 3 days
Excuse me while I spasm and shriek, but — THE MENDENHALL GLACIER ICE CAVES, Y’ALL! On August 1st, my boss, coworker, and I hiked here for the second time of my life. The first time was a few years ago. I had written a post about the hike and how the ice caves are melting, but the difference within just a few years was astonishing. And not in a good way. But just to be back there, in this absolutely surreal blue bubble world, was pretty freaking magical. I’ve since updated that blog post if you’re curious about the hike!
I was on a ship at the end of June all the way through the first week of this month. I had made some awesome friends on this contract and it was pretty sad to be leaving them all. But near the end, we all went to the crew FANTASEA disco, followed by a cabin party in my room. I dressed up as a fairy with a huge paper flower (creating costumes when you can’t run out to the store is quite the challenge!) and we danced all night. *Starts singing “And we danced all night, to the beeest song everrrr”* *I hate myself for even knowing that song*
The rare solar eclipse was this month! I was home when it happened, but my roommate and I hadn’t had the time or chance to pick up a pair of those fancy solar eclipse glasses. They were sold out everywhere! So we YouTubed how to DIY a pair and wound up making these extra-janky cereal box contraptions and headed to the river nearby to view it. Our version was hysterically sucky. Luckily though, there was a nice couple who let us take a quick view of the eclipse with their fancy glasses. It was so much cooler with those!
At the end of the month I boarded the newest ship in the fleet in Nagasaki, and joined two of my best ship friends there! We had a good team, many who I’ve worked with on previous contracts. It was only 5 days long, but it was so nice to hang with such a stellar crew on the most gorgeous ship of all! It was a Chinese charter cruise and barely any of our kids spoke English, but the culture shock was refreshing in a way. Plus, we accidentally launched a paper rocket straight into a chubby kids gut! BAHAHA Oops.
Right before leaving my apartment to travel to another ship, I suddenly felt sick. It came out of nowhere. Nausea, weakness, my face going pale and getting hot. I went back to bed for a bit and woke up feeling fine. All the traveling must’ve caught up with me, or my body was fighting something off. It didn’t help that a homeless woman decided to drop trough and pee about 20 feet away from me that same day in San Francisco while I was Snapchatting. Cue the nausea again!
So on my second ship of the month, I found a bird out on the crew deck. It looked pretty stressed and it wasn’t willing to move. I called the Environmental Officer onboard and his reaction was unimpressive. He was passive about it, saying he knew this already and that the bird has been there for a few days now. I asked what would happen to it since I’m a wildlife biologist and was curious about wildlife protocol on the ship. He told me that nobody ever came to bring the bird ashore when we were last docked. I get that there’s probably a plan in play for these kinds of things, but the fact that someone simply forgot to take action with the plan just pissed me off. If I had known about the bird beforehand, I would’ve dealt with it myself!
I had a crap day of travel from Seattle to SF to Sacramento. Delayed flights, wasted money, getting lost, and chaotic Lyft/Uber rides — I was pretty done with the day. I sat next to a few women, my age, on my Megabus heading home. One of the women put her hand through the bus seats from behind me, holding a beer. She asked me and the girl I was sitting by if we needed a drink. “You have no idea.” We all drank a beer together and talked about adventures and cracked jokes. It was one of the worst days of travel, but by far the best bus ride!
Alright, it’s time for my rant on the most infuriating man I’ve ever met. Another crew member onboard, except in a much higher position despite being so young (maybe that’s where some of his ego came from). First, I’d like to say that I always give people the benefit of the doubt and second and third chances and that I tend to forgive easily. But this guy’s personality and his comments were unforgivable. It started with a few of us talking about how long our flights to get to the ship were and what Asian airlines we flew with. He immediately threw in “So does that mean all the pilots were slanty-eyed?” Excuse me while I try to put my jaw back together. You did NAWT just say that, and in front of a few Asian staff.
(Continued) He asked a couple brand-new-to-ship-life Chinese girls if they could understand him well enough, and that if he talked fast during our meeting if they’d be able to keep up. They said yes so he practiced it by saying (so fast that even us native English speakers could barely understand) “SoIfITalkThisFastAndYouSayYouCanUnderstandMeIWantYouToPutYourHandsUpInTheAirRightNow…..” And of course they didn’t, they just nodded and tentatively said yes. So he scoffed and said “Oook, I guess I’ll have to speak slower then.” He embarrassed them without them even realizing it and all it did was make himself look like a total dick. Completely unnecessary behavior. There were so many other excruciating moments, but I’ll leave it at these. I should also say that the thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are mine only and may not reflect those of the companies.
You’re about to roll your eyes if you’ve been keeping up with my Retrospects posts. That’s because any time I do an Alaskan cruise contract, I mention this place here all the time.
Gold star to anyone who guessed Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau (I’m not sorry!). I’ve already talked about how great the crab bisque is, but this visit was extra special. My manager, my coworker, and I had just spent all day hiking to the ice caves. We capped off our epic adventure with a full-on celebratory spread here! The bisque, the buns, king crab cakes, king crab legs, and rosé! Thank God for crew discounts.
While back home in Sacramento, a friend of mine took me out to The Shady Lady Saloon for a “welcome home drink”. This bar is a modern speakeasy complete with red velvet, dark wood, taxidermy wall decor, and live music. They make delicious craft cocktails with fresh ingredients. Some of the bartenders even make their own bitters and have added their own drink creations to the menu! I tried an Old Fashioned for the first time, but I loved my friend’s seasonal Spring Fling drink with lavender.
On the last night of my third and final Alaskan summer ship, I got a pub crawl tour in Victoria, BC. I visited three different pubs with the passengers where we sampled 8 flights of beer and 1 cider, and some snacks. The most memorable being my very first poutine! Poutine is a Canadian comfort food, usually of fries with gravy and cheese curds on top. Don’t miss the one at the Penny Farthing Public House!
Thanks to Instagram, I’ve discovered a lot of great foodie spots, especially in San Francisco. That’s how I decided to walk to STEEP Creamery & Tea before heading to the airport. STEEP was the first place in SF to offer rolled ice cream, a Thai-inspired pan-frozen dessert. They also make excellent boba tea without additional crap like sprinkles or syrups. I got the UjiMatcha rolled ice cream with strawberries and red bean toppings.
Continuing the matcha train (who else is obsessed?), I tried a matcha scone in the Nagasaki airport Starbucks, and it was yummayyy.
Best Wildlife Shot
On my last Alaskan ship of the summer, we were sailing into Vancouver, passing by islands and small channels of water. The naturalist onboard was on the loudspeakers talking about the wildlife and the landmarks we were passing. I got super wistful in this moment because I realized that it was all about to end. I’d have to wait another year before I could cruise through Alaska again. Longtime readers know how attached to this place I am. The feeling didn’t last very long, because a ginormous Stellar Sea Lion popped up close to the ship and played in our waves! SUCH a good send off.
Most Popular Instagram Shot
“Hi. I’m Joy and I like long walks in ice caves.” I tried something a little different in this photo’s caption. I shared a few funny and personal things about myself and asked my followers to share their own facts about themselves in the comments. It was so much fun getting to know you all that way!
Retrospects : April 2017 — Read on for an overview of my July 2017 destinations and adventures. Also included are my highs, lows, most memorable food, and more!
Retrospects : May 2017 — Read on for an overview of my July 2017 destinations and adventures. Also included are my highs, lows, most memorable food, and more!
Featured Travel & Outdoor Product
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I am a wizard! I somehow managed to snag tickets to both the Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream for next month, and for the same day! They were each sold out so quickly and I was so nervous of missing out, because I was in line boarding an 11 hour flight while waiting in a virtual queue online for the tickets! Right as the announcement came to turn airplane mode on, I finalized them! I also bought a ticket to America’s First-Ever Matcha Festival for Sept 10th!
Next month also holds an East Coast vacation to see my boyfriend for his birthday and to visit a bunch of friends. It’ll be 4 1/2 months of long distance by the time I get to see him, so I was beyond thrilled for September to come.
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