Juneau

Junea is the current capital of Alaska. For many, Juneau has it all; fine arts, glaciers, whales, and an enormous range of outside activities including fishing, rafting, walking, and skiing. Junea is just an hour from wilderness and solitude. But there is a price to be paid for this paradise of fresh air and nature. Junea can be reached only by sea or air, making it an expensive proposition. This means the population has stayed relatively low, but it is boosted by up to 10,000 visitors a day who arrive on the cruise ships.

Junea City itself is quite small, with some interesting streets. To the right is Carrol Way - this is a proper street in Juneau, but is really just some steps up to a street above.

Juneau Whales

The main sights in the city are:

City Hall - this has a great mural showing the Tlingit story of creation (Tlingit are the original people of Alaska)

Patsy Ann Statue - a bull terrier who famously greeted ships in athe 1930s is remembered by this statue

City Museum - the Junea-Douglas museum

Mount Roberts Tram - this great tram ride takes you to the top of the 1800 foot high Mount Roberts

Russian Orthodox Church - the Saint Nicholas church was built in Siberia in 1894 and taken apart and shipped to Alaska

The Red Dog Saloon in the centre of the city is still a lively venue with a resident ragtime pianist and DJ. It is maintained in the orinigianl style and is another gtreat place to sample the Alaskan Amber. This is a very popular and therefore busy place. One claim to fame is that Wyatt Earp checked in his pistol in June, 1900 and did not reclaim it before leaving in something of a hurry - today the gun takes pride of place over the bar of the Red Dog Saloon.

Junea is an excellent place for whale watching, and you will be able to arrange a trip out on a wildlife quest where you will be guaranteed to see a variety of wildlife. Of course there is never a guarantee of a whale sighting but there's a pretty good chance and the people who run the tours are very experienced in finding them.

You will travel in a specially built catameran, perfectly equipped for these waters. The inside is warm and dry with good visibility, and of course on the outer and upper decks you can have a clear view of the sea. Think of a typical ferry (like the Staten Island ferry but smaller) and you will have a good idea of the type of boat.

The crew will take you out into the Inside Passage, where the search will begin.

Humpback whales are between 25 and 35 tons, 14 meters long and thrive in these waters. They feed by straining water through their comb like teeth (baleen) which catches small fish. They need to eat a ton of food a day. Orca whales (killer whales) are much smaller at 4-8 tons. They are to be found in oceans across the world but we think you will be very lucky indeed if you see one of these. Sea lions are plentiful, and because it is in their nature to gather and socialise you will almost certainly see some of these on a 'haul out'. Other wildlife is also in abundance here so look out for porpoises, sea lions and bald eagles as well.

Now for us the most exciting wildlife here are bears, and the black bears of the Mendenhall glacier are just around the corner - read about them on the next page.


Juneau Alaska Juneau Alaska The Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska Wyatt Earp Gun at red Dog Saloon, Junea, Alaska Juneau Sealions, Juneau, Alaska Juneau Whales, Junea, Alaska

The Mendenhall Glacier

The Mendenhall Glacier

Make sure your trip takes you to the magnificent site of the Mendenhall Glacier. This is an incredibly accessible glacier, and you will be able to see this up close, along with huge ice-blocks that float in the sea. More...