Alaskan adventure - A magical journey by boat from Sitka to Juneau

Alaskan adventure - A ma

September 26, 2009 20:55
2 minute read.
alaska 248 88

alaska 248 88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


It's hard to believe that Sitka was once the capital of Alaska, the largest state in the US. An intimate collection of mainly wooden houses, half a dozen shops, two small hotels, a miniature Russian Orthodox cathedral and a tiny harbor, it doesn't seem much bigger than Motza Illit near Jerusalem, where we live. We wheel our luggage down to the boat, a mere 250 meters from our hotel, before going aboard. The M/V Sea Bird takes 60 passengers, plus half that number of crew and staff through Alaska's inner passages from Sitka to Juneau, today's capital. Organized with total competence by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic magazine, the trip will take us from Glacier Bay in the north to Petersburg in the south. We will see only a small fraction of the enormous area of Alaska, but a fraction rich in plant and animal life. On March 30, 1867, US secretary of state William H. Seward bought Alaska from Russia for a mere $7.2 million. Incredibly, Americans laughed at the deal, terming it "Seward's Folly." It would take almost a century until the vast territory became a full-fledged state. The mind boggles at the thought of Alaska being part of the Soviet Union during the Cold War years, but back to our expedition. Whether hiking in rubber boots through the temperate rain forest, watching a brown bear pouncing on hapless salmon preparing to jump a waterfall, kayaking through the ice flows or getting up close and intimate with sea lions and humpback whales, the cruise is an action adventure that will stay in the memory. The overwhelming feeling is one of humility, for this is nature on a grand scale: towering mountains, vast blue-white glaciers "calving" huge chunks of ice that thunder into the sea, gigantic whales blowing and diving. It leaves you with a feeling of the insignificance of humankind on this enormous globe of ours. The weather alternates between cold and mild, windy and calm, rainy and damp. The contrast between this cool, spacious, vegetation-rich, laid-back northern territory and our own hot, tiny, overcrowded, nervous country could not be more complete. Alaska, we are told, is suffering from drought after the driest summer in decades. The two Israeli members of the expedition could only smile wryly at this information. If only we could magically transport a thousandth of a thousandth of these unlimited waters to our parched country. When not paddling our kayak, clinging to a zodiac rubber dinghy, tramping through the forests or peering incredulously through your binoculars, we are listening to the well-informed and articulate guides. It is a learning experience as well as a vigorous encounter with the elements, a pleasing combination of mental and physical exertion which was challenging, but never excessive. It remains only to add that the cabins were small, but perfectly designed, the food was of the highest standard, our fellow travelers were charming and interesting, the crew members competent and friendly and we had all the ingredients of a marvelous vacation. The writer, a former Jerusalem Post staffer, is a Jerusalem-based author.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

El Al
August 16, 2014
The Travel Adviser: For El Al, mission accomplished