Day 4. We've had an interesting day (so far). Slept until about 8:00 and I got up and had breakfast at the Windjammer. It was really crowded and cold out on deck, so I decided to leave and I ran into Malissa on my way out. I suggested we go to the concierge lounge and she could get something to eat there, so we did that. The concierge's name was Rahul, and he was great. He really knows how to make everyone feel special and did everything he could to make sure we had a great cruise. While at the concierge lounge, we got some VIP tender tickets, but it turned out we didn't need them.
While we were sitting there, Malissa was reading up on Icy Strait Point and at the end of the brochure it said "There are no public phones or cellular phone service at Icy Strait Point. In case of emergency, dial 911." We couldn't figure out how you're suppose to dial 911 if there's no phone service…
After that we went back to our room to get what we needed for our excursion and headed down to the theater on deck 5 to leave the ship with our group. After sitting there for a little while, I realized I hadn't brought any money so I ran back to the room. Of course our rooms in the back of the ship and the theater is in the front and I was wearing a jacket, so by the time I got back I was really sweaty. Turns out I didn't have to rush though, because it was another 15 or 20 minutes before our group left the ship.
First, a note about Icy Strait Point. It's really a beautiful area with a small town of about 850 people. When the cannery closed in 2001, the people of the town got together and built a tourist industry. They have built a museum out of the old cannery, they have whale watching boats, saltwater salmon fishing, airplane rides over glacier bay, brown bear search, and (apparently) the longest zip line in the world (I haven't verified that). They've put in retail shops, a theater, and restaurants. It appears that everyone has pitched in, too. On the hike we were on, our guide told us that the 11th and 12th graders at their high school laid the planks on the trail we were hiking. The hike was over a marshy area that we really couldn't have traversed without the nice laid out trail. I really admire what they've done and wish the people of Icy Strait Point the best.
Another great thing about Icy Strait Point is that they only allow one ship in at a time. It wasn't near as crowded as you'd expect in a tourist port.
We went on the Spasski River Bear and Wildlife search. It was an excellent excursion. We saw a couple of Brown bears and I was really glad I'd taken my binoculars. They don't come too close, and even with binoculars they're really hard to see. It took us quite a while to see the first bear everybody else saw. Everybody was saying "there he is," "he just stood up," and we didn't see anything. Eventually we did, though. We also saw two bald eagles, but I couldn't get my camera turned on fast enough to get pictures. We saw a couple of eagle nests and on the trip back to the pier we saw a deer. Our tour guide, Donna, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone going to Icy Strait Point.
After our excursion, we went to some of the shops on the pier, then headed back to the ship for a late lunch.