29 Apr 2016

Skagway, Alaska and the Klondike Gold Rush







Cute sign in jewelry store window.





Skagway was beautiful today, but it was a rough, tough city during the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Gold was discovered in the Klondike region of the Yukon in NW Canada on August 16, 1896.


It was "just far enough away to be romantic and just close enough to be accessible".






From July, 1897 for about a year, over 100,000 dreamers traveled mainly from Seattle to Skagway hoping to get rich.





Canadian authorities required each person to bring a year's supply of food. Each hauled close to a ton of equipment, which for most had to be carried in stages by themselves.


Even though they only had to hike a route of about 40 miles over the pass they walked single-file and needed about 30 round trips to get all their belongings moved. The result was about 2,500 miles trekking over a 90 day period.


It is estimated that maybe 1% came back with more than they left with.


When gold was discovered in Nome in 1899, that was the end of the Klondike Gold Rush.




27 Apr 2016

Seward, AK 2016



Seward is all about nature. There are not too many places where in a couple hours you can enjoy the mountains, bald eagles, hundreds of seagulls, dozens of sea lions and a several whales.

Many humpback whales split their time between Maui and here. Frankly if that were the choice for me, I would just stay in Maui for another couple months.











26 Apr 2016

Kodiak, Alaska 2016







Today we had a very cool (literally and figuratively) small tour learning about the fishing industry. Instead of a normal guide we toured with visited several commercial fishermen.




Although there are only about 6,000 people who live here, they have the third largest fishing port catch (by value) in the U.S. They put up with 78 inches of rain a year, 68 inches of snow, terrible winds, and severe seas. It's a tough life.




Besides actually seeing how they fish, we learned about fish processing.




We learned about safety where in one generation it has transformed from one of the deadliest occupations to one of the safest.




As a side benefit we saw some sea lions enjoying themselves very near our ship.

17 Apr 2016

Otaku, Japan - Sake Winemaking



Today we were in far North Japan.

We visited a sake brewery to learn about its production. Even though sake is a Japanese rice wine, it is made in a brewery.

Normally in winemaking, grapes turn to wine by their naturally present sugar fermenting. Sake is brewed more like beer. With beer, starch is converted into sugars and then converted to alcohol.Like other rice wines, when sake is brewed, these conversions occur simultaneously.


Sake tends to be stronger than dinner wines and considerably stronger than beer.

Too bad it is night and dark out not allowing good photos. We are really rocking and rolling tonight. Waves are smashing onto our cabin windows and we are on the 11th floor. Wow-wee!!!

14 Apr 2016

Tokyo, Japan - Sumo Wrestling







Today we did something special by visiting an authentic Sumo Wrestling practice.

The sport is steeped in tradition and we were among a fortunate few who were allowed to visit and had to abide by many rules.

It was definitely worth it though – once.

Stripping away the hoopla, it is really just a shoving match between two almost naked fat guys. The first guy to step out of the ring or touch any part of his body (except souls of feet) in the ring loses.

Matches generally take less than a minute.