Juneau in Alaska is going to be on your Alaska cruise itinerary and there is so much to see and do in the capital of Alaska. One of the highlights is the Mendenhall Glacier, it is something you do not want to miss, and it is located just a few minutes from the town centre it is easy to add to your day.
The other is whale watching as it is one of the most amazing things to see in Alaska and nothing beats seeing a whale in its natural habitat.
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Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau Alaska
I first went to Alaska in 2008 when I was still working onboard, and I was digging through my old photos and found a photo of the Mendenhall Glacier. It shows how times have changed as I took three photos of the glacier 2008! This time in 2018 I took loads! I think now we are photo crazy and want to get the perfect shot, back then I took a photo and moved on.
Here are the 2008 and 2018 photos and you can see the Mendenhall Glacier has changed. It is so interesting how much glaciers change over the years, while on my tour we stood in a spot that the glacier would have covered in the 1960s, which is not that long ago, and it has dramatically got smaller in just 50 years.
This time whilst cruising Alaska in Juneau, I went on a fantastic tour that had just 14 people on it. We went on a small high speed covered boat to go whale watching and then a trek around the Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding Tongass National Forest.
Whale Watching in Juneau Alaska
On the first part of the tour, we went whale watching and as you know from my previous blog posts, I love whale watching as it is different every time. You never know how many whales and what species you will see.
This time we went on a small high-speed cover boat, so it took no time at all to get out into the water and start spotting whales. Also, it was a small group, so it was much nicer!
We were very lucky and saw whales from the word go. We saw humpback whales that were spraying, showing their fins and the final masterpiece of flipping their tail.
The bonus was seeing the orcas (killer whales), there was a pack, mother and cubs and they were spraying, showing their fins and the babies were popping their heads out of the water.
The fins are different form humpback whales and orcas, so it is easy to tell the difference. The orcas have black tall pointy fins and patches of white. While humpbacks are grey and have smaller fins and they are more likely to show their tails.
The boat was great for taking photos as you could step outside or stay inside, as the guide opened the big wide windows.
The scenery was beautiful, we were surrounded by mountains, glaciers, small islands with millions of trees with the odd log cabin.
After being out for a few hours, we headed back to dry land and back on the minibus for a quick snack before we headed out on our trek by the Mendenhall Glacier.
Trekking Around Mendenhall Glacier
The second part of the tour was to see the Mendenhall Glacier and go for a short trek through the Tongass Forrest. We were guided along one of the short trekking routes and we saw the Mendenhall Glacier from different angles.
When we started walking through the forest there we indicators where the ice would have been up and the date. You could see how parts of the forest were newer than the rest as the glacier would have been there years ago.
The trek was very easy going, just wear walking shoes. The forest was nice to walk through it was so quiet and peaceful and the smell was fresh. Until we reach the salmon hatchery, it was smelly there!
The trek came to end, and we drove back to the cruise ship. The tour I went on was called ‘Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari’. I went through the cruise line tours, but the tour company was called Gastineau Guiding which is a locally owned and operated business in Juneau.
It was a photography tour and it is suitable for photo buffs to iPhone users! I used my iPhone (for Instagram shots) and my Panasonic Lumix camera for the blog as it has a great zoom and isn’t heavy to carry around on my travels.
More Tours To Do in Juneau Alaska
What to Wear in Juneau Alaska
This time I was there it was unusually warm, not hot, but a nice temperature. Jeans and tee and light jacket weather. Alaska is all about layers. As the day went on and the sun was going down it did get cooler and I had to put on my scarf and gloves.
- Light Weight Jacket
- Camera/Smart Phone
- Walking Shoes (waterproof)
- Wear Layers – Tess, sweaters, fleeces, jacket
- Portable phone charger & cable
- Water Bottle
Here are some cruising products from Amazon you may find useful on your next cruise. To see more, have look at my Amazon shop page click here.
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