Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alaska Cruise Day 5: Glacier Bay!

The cruise ship itinerary listed this day as a Sea Day. A Sea Day is when the ship doesn't dock at any port. The other Sea Days on this cruise were only of the ship moving fast through the ocean to get to one of the ports. However, this Sea Day is different.

We made the journey up the Glacier Bay to visit the impressive Johns Hopkins Glacier. Along the way, we saw dolphins, whales, cliff dwelling goats, and eagles, all from our cabin patio.

Before arriving, everyone was asked to keep as quiet as possible, so as to not disturb the glacier. Once at the glacier, the port side of the ship was first to view it. Of course everyone was on deck, watching and waiting for the slightest signs of calving.

The moment reminded me of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the book Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In that book, there's a restaraunt at the literal end of the Universe. People from all over the Universe would go to this restaraunt at the end of time to watch the last bit of the Universe fade into nothing. It felt kind of like that on the cruise ship. People from all over the World go on this cruise to the end of Glacier Bay to watch one of the World's remaining glaciers slowly melt away. I actually was hoping for global warming to work just a little faster so I could see more dramatic scenes of ice breaking off and crashing into the water.

There was a solo seal swimming around in the cold bay water at the root of the glacier. I assume the little guy was busy hunting for food amongst the chunks of ice floating in the water.

The ship then slowly and quietly rotated around so that the starboard side also got a view. Allie's parents relaxed on their patio at this time, along with me and Allie in our own patio next door.

Once we left the glacier, the cruise ship went on a tour around other portions of Glacier Bay. At one point, off in the distance, I saw one glacier with a massive calving of ice crashing into the bay!

The ship later headed south. Allie and I relaxed in the spa at the front of the ship. Several of the reclined chairs faced foward so we could kick back and watch the ocean pass by. We saw more dolphins and some sort of fish that was jumping out of the water.

Seeing Glacier Bay was my main purpose for this trip. Cruise ships are really the only way to see this amazing place for the average person (unless you happen to have your own boat and know how to navigate the World's seas).

Please see the full Alaska Cruise article list.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Senseless Sunday: skin deep lunacy

  • The next leap year where Feburaury does not have a full moon is 25721.

  • The current definition of the term "Blue Moon" dates back to March 1946, in which Sky and Telescope magizine mistakenly misinterpreted the definition of the term from 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac. "Blue Moon" originally referred to the third Full Moon in a season which has four Full Moons2.

  • Atheists outnumber all but nine organized religions in the World.

  • The skin of a polar bear is black. Though the fur appears white, it's actually clear.

  • More often, you will use more gas making a left turn than making a right turn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm feeding Twitter with Mass Pike

The hashtag #masspike has some interesting tweets about the portion of I-90 that runs through Massachusetts, called Mass Pike.  So, since I'm driving on a section of Mass Pike on most days, I've started posting a semi-daily tweet attached to that hashtag which covers some experiences I've have while on that toll freeway.  The fact that I have something to complain about practically everyday should say something about a large minority of poor drivers that frequent this stretch of road. 

People swerving excessivly (worse than drunks, in my opinion) are quite common.  Even worse is when a big rig is actively swerving into adjacent lanes without the intent of changing lanes.  More than once, I've seen hapless cars have to veer, literally avoiding dangerous accidents.

Many drivers treat the road as their own ash tray, flinging cigarette butts out to bounce into the cars behind them.  Many butts have a well inflamed cherry.  Rather unsafe.

I'm sure many people aren't all that clear on the concept of what a lane is.  It seems a dashed line in the middle of the road is an invitation to drive on top of the line down the middle.  This is a particular problem with freeway exits.  A problem with freeway entrances is the opposite. If there is only one lane, lane splitting is employed.  See, here I thought lane splitting was only legal in California with a motorcycle and a car.  Massachusetts, it's illegal, so why not just completely break the law by lane splitting a big rig with another big rig!

These daily events aren't limited to Mass Pike, and they aren't even the half of what goings on.  So, keep an eye on the #masspike hashtag on Twitter to see what your missing.