June 2008 Alaskan Cruise:
(Double left click to enlarge pictures)

Wednesday, May 29:
  Jim has a disketomy on L5 vertebra :::: overnight stay at North Florida Regional Hospital.
THANK YOU Doctor Eric Scott for finding a place in your busy schedule to repair my spine,  making it possible
to take this trip!  Shands Hospital 'jerked' me around 4 weeks before you came to my rescue

Wednesday, June 5:
   Jim, Gail and Kelly leave Gainesville (7 days after Jim's surgery) headed for Orlando.   We have reservations
at the Airport Best Western Motel ... They allow 7 day free parking and provide transportation
To MCO,  Orlando International Airport,  where we think we have tickets for a 7:30am direct flight to Seattle.

Thursday, June 6:
  We are met curbside at MCO,  Southwest Airlines provides a wheel-chair and express check-in.
Kelly pushes me to the departure gate where I go first in line to pick from any seat on the airplane.
Flight 1726 does,  indeed,  go directly to Seattle but only after a one and one half hour stop in Chicago.
In Seattle we meet Jim and Sharon Neelands,  two very old friends and fellow Gainesvillians, 
our travel companions for the cruise.  Gail and Sharon were room-mates at UF back in the 60's.

Friday, June 7:
  Raining,  again,  in the hills of Seattle.  Wet,  foggy,  gray ... Nice place to ride a BMW F650 scooter.
We board Holland American Lines ship ms Amstersdam.  Departing Seattle around 4:00 pm en route Juneau,  Alaska.

Saturday, June 8:
  At sea.  The girls are moderatly seasick.  I'm fine for now.  That changes!
The food,  as expected,  is do die for.   All too soon, I am to learn how close I am to hitting the nail on the head.

Sunday June 9:
  Juneau,  Alalska,  We arrive around noon. The girls go dog sleding.  Jim, Sharon and I go
to the Mendenhall Glacier and then whale watching aboard a 74 foot tour boat.
Click this link or view my website home page to see  Jim Neelands video   of a whale swimming right beside our tour boat!
Downtown Juneau is like being in Daytona,  T-shirts and jewelry ... leave main street and EVERYTHING changes. The
mountain scenery takes your breath away. We depart Juneau around 10:00pm and it's still broad day light. Wierd.

Monday, June 10:
  The Amstersdam steams to Glacier Bay and into a 26 mile fjord called Tracy Arm.
The journey is through a canyon of bare rock. The panorama of 7,000-foot mountain peaks and nearly vertical
rock cliffs is astounding.   Waterfalls are everywhere,  Icebergs in all shapes and sizes float by.
Our Nature Guide said she has been making this trip for 6 seasons (3 trips per season) and had never seen a day like today.
Got kinda spirtual for me,  I thought of my life-time buddy Leroy Cole.  We left home and joined the Navy
June 10, 1958 ... 50 years ago,  to the day.   Leroys gone now,
Cancer ... He was an out-of-doors kinda guy and sure would have appreciated being here just as much as I.

Tuesday, June 11:
  Sitka, Alaska, They tell me I was there.   Sometime,  right after Dinner,  I began to feel
very very very NOT allright.    We were at sea,  steaming for Sitka.  I remember,  once,  looking out the stateroom patio door
seeing fog and part of a mountain.  I had managed to find the "Norwalk virus" bug.  I'll spare description...
The next thing I remember is we were docked in...

Wednesday, June 12:
  Ketchikan, Alaska, 

The Rest of this story to be filled in when I get time!

Thursday, June 12:
  Victoria, British Columbia, 

Friday, June 13:
  Seattle, Washington, 

Poor, Poor Pitiful Jim Sunny Seattle Washington Space Needle Seattle Jim and Jim find Beer Our Stateroom
Juneau, Alaska Jim and Sharon Neelands Dog Sled Ride Gail's New Friend
A Juneau Mountain Another Juneau Mountain Mendenhall Glacier ICEBERG! Dinner for 7
Tracy Arm Tracy Arm Tracy Arm Tracy Arm
Tracy Arm Twin Sawyer Glacier Twin Sawyer Glacier Twin Sawyer Glacie SunSet 11:30 PM
Ketchikan Crab Feast Ketchikan Crab Feast Sitka? - Ketchikan? Time Flys

© Jim Cook                                                 June 25, 2008