20 August 2018
We were woken at 06:00 with an announcement from the compere to let us know that there were loads of whales around the boat. I headed straight out onto our balcony to the most beautiful scenery, before quickly realising it was bloody cold and windy and I probably needed some proper clothes! I hurried in to collect my dressing gown and went back outside to look. I could see some blowholes in the distance and after a while, I came back in to wake Ian and drag him outside. Together we watched the whales splash their tails out of the sea, teasing the tourists with spurts of water and glimpses of their shiny bodies. We watched for nearly an hour before I was pretty much frozen solid and had to clamber back into bed to warm up, while Ian went to the gym for an hour.
Cornelia woke at around 08:00, but having not been to sleep until late again last night, I was concerned that this wouldn’t be sufficient to get her through the day in good spirits. My concern was justified as she was whingey and rude and was a complete brat all morning. For example, she had said yesterday that she wanted to stay with us instead of going to kids’ club but typically, as we were leaving the ship, she decided she now wanted to go to the club after all and threw another horrible tantrum. Sigh… I suppose that’s what happens when she stays awake until nearly midnight!
Anyway, tantrums aside, we walked off the boat into Juneau in perfect weather – we are so lucky! Downtown is literally a few minutes away from the port, and we immediately went to buy tickets for the cable car, only to discover that my credit card was missing. Ian ran back to the ship, to check the pockets of my jeans (I had changed into my walking trousers at the last minute) and about half an hour later returned with it. Phew! In the meantime, Cornelia had found a stick and named it “Sticky” and was having all sorts of imaginary adventures with “her”. When Ian came back, and once those tickets had been bought, we wandered downtown, browsing various stores before selecting a little cafe for lunch. We all had toasties (variations on “grilled cheese” as they’re called here) but once again, Cornelia made a horrible fuss over goodness knows what! I tried being understanding but eventually it was just too much, so we wrapped up her toastie and left the diner. Grrrrr!
We made it back to the cable car station, only to discover the queue was now enormous! Always the way!! Anyway, we joined it, and Cornelia agreed to snuggle into Ian’s shoulders and try to take a nap. She couldn’t, of course, but at least the quiet rest seemed to have just calmed her down a bit.
Half an hour later, we were heading the 1800 feet up Mt Roberts to the drop off point, from where we hiked the trail up to Father Brown’s Cross, about a mile away. Despite a few “moments” Cornelia walked all the way up, earning her oat bar at the top! We stopped on the way up at a viewing deck and to our amazement, there was a marmot right there chomping away on some grass! We spent ages watching him/her munch away! Very cute!
When we reached Father Brown’s Cross, I suggested to Ian that he might like to continue on up to summit the mountain, a further 2.5 miles up, and I would take an irritable Cornelia back down the cable car and we would see him back on board. I think we all needed a break from each other by then! Off he went, and I plonked Bugsy up on my shoulders and began the trek back down to the cable car station. When we arrived, the queue was really long, and having waited for about half an hour, listening to the teenage boy behind me moaning at the idea passed to him by his mother that they maybe they should walk down the mountain (he didn’t want to get mud on his trainers!!!!), I decided to set an example and promptly returned Bugsy to my shoulders and began the steep descent.
There was a young couple in front of us that I tried to keep pace with so that I could see when any difficult or complicated sections came up. I called out to them when one such section came up, and to be fair, they answered but didn’t stop to offer any help, so I took Cornelia off my shoulders and we jumped down the hard parts together, as the couple in front disappeared further into the woods. No matter… it wasn’t as hard as the signs at the top had suggested, and although it took an hour and a half to walk the 2.5 miles, it was a good workout for me! Cornelia walked nearly a mile of that in total too, and we played games, calling out to the birds and then tried to be as silent as possible so we could listen to the forest noises. We passed a couple of runners going up and going down – it would’ve been a great trail to run!
Once we came out of the woods, we followed the road back to the town centre and stopped in for a quick visit at the fudge shop and tanzanite store… luckily Ian had the credit card, so I was limited to cash only. Until I realised that I had my U.K. credit card with me and could buy a pretty pair of tanzanite earrings to go with my ring…! Cornelia was given a couple of freebies too – a bear charm (that will actually go on my charm bracelet, I think) and a whale tail pendant. I should mention here that she has been absolutely brilliant all afternoon – funny, happy, adventurous – all the things she normally is. I wonder if she’s a bit sick and tired of being with both of us all the time, especially as we can parent quite differently.
She had earned herself a refuelling snack of a chocolate krispie (or Ketchikan Krunch as it was called in the shop), and she ate the lot before we’d even made it back to the ship.
It was already 19:00, and with no sign of Ian, Cornelia and I had a quick change of clothes and went off to dinner together. Again, she was just good as gold and really great company. She enjoyed a plateful of macaroni cheese, chips, turkey and a bit of cauliflower. In fact, it was a bit of a beige-looking plate of food, but she enjoyed it all, followed by a bowl of watermelon and a bite of my strawberry cake. I enjoyed a delicious plateful of spicy butter chicken and rice, and a beer, whilst beginning to worry slightly about Ian! He had sent me a message at about 18:30 to say he was back at the cable car with a 40 minute wait ahead. But Cornelia and I had almost finished our meals before he finally messaged again to say he was back, shortly after 20:00. Phew!!! Apparently, it was so hot that the cable car had been stopped to allow it time to cool down, and they were only operating it at half capacity. He had thought he was going to have to let it down the mountain (taking the same route that Bugsy and I had earlier) but thankfully, he managed the cable car and was back at the ship long before the 21:00 cut off.
Anyway, we left him to enjoy his supper in peace, and Cornelia and I went back to the cabin, where I managed to get her into bed with teeth brushed etc by about 20:30 AND she fell straight to sleep! By the time Ian had returned, all was calm and peaceful in D110!