Friday, June 18, 2010

Michael5000 Goes to Sea

Last week was the most nautical week of my life.

From the port of Seattle, one of the northernmost suburbs of the City of Roses, Mrs.5000 and I set sail on the Holland America cruise ship Oosterdam for a trip to Alaska.

This involved plenty of quality time with the in-laws5000, who were so generous as to bring us along to help celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Brother-in-law5000 can be seen second from left, being a bit of a card.

We got to experience the stark wonder of Glacier Bay National Park.

Of course, the actual experience of Glacier Bay National Park was a little more like this, but it's traditional to take vacation pictures as if no one else was around.

Seriously, it was pretty awesome.

Our little vessel let us unobtrusively sample the lifestyle of Alaska's state capital!

While in Juneau, we payed a surprise visit to occasional L&TM5K commenter Kadonkadonk, who was incredibly gracious about having strangers from blogland suddenly descend on her out of the blue, and gave us a fun tour of her workplace. And t-shirts!

Of course the contradictions inherent in cruise-ship life could sometimes, like the unlimited rich food, be a lot to digest.

But one could always retreat to the solace of one's private veranda.

And of course, wherever one goes there is always time for the needle arts.

Oosterdam, yo. It's the size of a large office block. And it's my new favorite boat.

[Geohashing aficionados will want to check out this report from a passive expedition during a storm at sea! It was a failed expedition, but that hardly matters.]


The Calico Cat said...

We are going on a cruise (to the Bahamas) in November & I too will bring a binding project.

We will be travelling steerage (inside cabin)...

(I'm saving up for the balcony/Alaska cruise though... One day...)

mrs.5000 said...

Hey, nice photos!

My favorite shipboard story: Dutch Dessert Night in a Force 10 gale! Mrs.5000 tears Michael5000 away from surveying his wind-lashed verandah and they lurch upstairs to Deck 9. Long tables of fancy cakes and pastries, all elaborately decorated, are flanked by ice sculptures and Alaskan-themed vignettes. Eight proud pastry chefs are being photographed with their creations. The dessert display is carefully assembled around the perimeter of the Lido Pool, which has become a classic wave tank with the rocking of the ship, eerily animate, its water leaping up out of the pool and across the deck, while beaded curtains of wind-driven rain drop from the telescoping sunroof. Yellow caution signs are out and men with mops are trying to contain the situation. Many intrepid guests have assembled and are waiting at round tables on either side of the deck. There is a noticeable absence of small plates or serving utensils, and none of the cakes are cut. It is 10:30 pm, and the waves outside the ship are 14-18 feet high. A few officers gravely survey the scene.

By 8:00 the next morning, every trace of dessert night is gone and chaise lounges once again ring the pool. Fans are drying out adjacent carpet. At one end of the pool area, t-shirts with Alaskan motifs and Holland America logos are being unloaded onto tables for a special sale.

Thom said...

Glacier bay looks stunning. I can only imagine the rush of emotions that a suprise Lord and Lady5000 visit must bring on!

Kritkrat said...

I made the blog! I made the blog!!! What a special day for me! :)

Ben said...

@mrs.5000: Did you end up getting any of those desserts?

A few summers ago we took a boat trip to the Tracy Arms glacier(s) near Juneau. It was very interesting and dramatic to watch the glaciers calve--huge chunks of ice falling off every few minutes. Unfortunately, this scene was made so dramatic due to global climate change. The glaciers are receding at a horrifying rate. Makes for good tourism NOW, though.

Jenners said...

I've gotta get Mr. Jenners convinced to go on an Alaskan cruise ... Glacier Bay looks amazing!! He is totally into cruising but tends to like the tropical locales!

mrs.5000 said...

@ Ben: No, we didn't get any of the desserts! I was a bit too woozy and tired to stick it out, and M5K had already visited the ice cream bar.

True and sad in general about glaciers and climate change. There are phases in the tidewater glacier cycle, though, where climate actually doesn't have much impact. If its terminus is sitting in deep water, that's a pretty volatile situation, and the glacier will be calving a lot and retreating rapidly no matter what. I heard this on the ship, but Wikipedia also backs it up.

fingerstothebone said...

I was going to ask about the desserts...

But anyhow, "Brother-in-law5000 can be seen second from left, being a bit of a card."

The first time around, I completely missed that there was a person on the 2nd row! I thought, OMG, Mrs5000 and bil-5000 look identical...are they twins?

gl. said...

that's awesome! i have long wanted to go on an alaskan cruise, but sven gets terribly seasick, so boats are really not a good vacation option for us.