Where does one begin?  All kinds of adjectives come to mind to describe the Alaska I experienced…majestic, grand, regal, splendid, impressive, magnificent, cold, wet, sunny, massive, beautiful, balanced, miraculous, ever changing, wild, towering, monumental, stately, commanding, imposing, and awe inspiring are just a few.

Kim Heacox an award-winning author and photographer from National Geographic described Alaska as “the Africa of America”!  What a perfect description.  It says it all.

I have recommended and planned trips for my clients over the years to Alaska knowing it is a grand destination and I have never had a client return disappointed.  Everyone has always loved Alaska and enjoyed their vacation whether it was a land package or a cruise package.   I was perfectly happy they were happy and thought about traveling there one day but it is a big world with so much to see… it was not on the top of my bucket list.  The opportunity came up to experience small ship sailing with a Lindblad Expeditions and I jumped on it.

I just returned from Alaska where I spent 7 glorious days cruising on the Lindblad National Geographic Expedition ship the Sea Lion.  This is a small-ship expedition Alaska Cruise that takes you where others can’t, with the experts who know Alaska best. What a splendid time.  Each day was so exciting and I have to say each day truly exceeded my expectations.

The allure and fascination that came over me as we explored the inside passage of Southeast Alaska changed me.  I loved learning the history of Glacier Bay National Park the crown jewel of Southeast Alaska with its fascinating bay and ever changing ice flow. This park is literally untouched by humans with no roads, no trails just wilderness for miles and miles. It excited me to know wilderness actually still exists in our country.  Thank you to all who were responsible to recognize the need to preserve this beautiful land.  No photographs or words can really describe its grandeur.  Lindblad knows Alaska well. Their first trip to Alaska was in 1982 and they have been traveling there ever since.  The experienced cruise ship captain and passionate Expedition team took us to hidden coves and narrow channels.   The naturalist on board would gather us up and we would take off with our cameras on the zodiacs to see what was around the next bend or small cove.  They were our eyes and ears throughout the trip they pointed out and explained all that Alaska has to offer. It made the trip exciting and enjoyable and by the end of the trip we felt as though they were our friends.  We saw whales, sea lions, harbor seals, black tail deer, brown bear, black bear, river and sea otters, squirrels, wood peckers, wrens, hummingbirds, warblers, puffins, countless ducks, galls, terns and of course the dozens of unforgettable bald eagles!  Everyday we were delighted with sightings of different creatures. We explored little villages like Elfin Cove and Petersburg and we hiked through rich moss covered forests that gave way to lovely marshes teaming with life on unoccupied islands.  It was thrilling kayaking through tidewater lagoons and ice filled glacier fiords with canyon walls so high and steep you could not see the top.   The stillness of the icebergs as they floated by with the tides and the call of the artic terns that had flown all the way from Antarctica really moved me.  The smell of the fresh air of the sea, the moist and mossy smell of the forest will be engrained in my mind forever.

The crew of the ship catered to our every need without all the glitz and glamour of a traditional large ship.  We ate like kings with fresh food of the region and slept like babies in our very comfortable accommodations. Meeting others on board was easy and we had the opportunity to learn and share our stories of what we had experience at the end of the day.

I have only touched on some of the highlights of the trip.  We saw and experienced so much more.  Alaska is calling me back ..I didn’t get my fill.  There is so much more to see and experience.  I just touched a small but very beautiful part of Alaska…. “The Africa of America”.

Lindblad believes in giving back. In Alaska, Lindblad works with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) and the Alaska Whale Foundation (AWF). Their work with AWF assists with research projects on humpback whale communication and behavior, which is shared with guests through the research team’s visit to the ships.

Feel free to make a contribution to one of these organizations and help to preserve this beautiful place for our children and their children for years to come.