Living With Cruise Ships (Part 2)

By , June 5, 2018

Now that I’ve offered some background information and review about the cruise ship situation in our region (see Living With Cruise Ships (Part 1)) I’m ready to start on Judy’s actual questions, beginning with:

“How often do the ships pass by your homestead cabin: every day, several ships?”

Cruise ships pass our homestead just about every day from mid-May to mid-September. Most of them head to Skagway, north of Haines, but some are Haines bound. Either way, they pass going north in the morning, and south in the evening. Usually, there are several, sometimes as many six or seven on the busiest days.

Sadly, a lot of the ships arrange for the upper Lynn Canal leg of their journey to occur in the early morning. After a full day in Juneau, they cruise very slowly up the fjord, to arrive near breakfast the next day, on what for these ships should only be a 4-hour journey.

Celebrity Millennium in Lynn Canal

The Celebrity Millennium works its way north (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

I say sadly, because this slow cruise often happens while the passengers are in bed, essentially sleeping through a breathtakingly beautiful voyage! While they sleep, they pass some of the most spectacular scenery Southeast Alaska offers. It’s a shame, really.

And, it causes some trouble for us. We occasionally hear these ships pass in the morning, but not often. We, who can sleep through brilliant sunrises in the wee hours of the morning, are rarely effected by passing ships at that same time.

But, it drives our cat, Spice, nuts!

She can’t seem to handle large ships passing in the night. She freaks out, running around the house, pestering sleepers, jumping on them and the bed. We’ve known her to sleep through earthquakes, but not a passing cruise ship!

If we’re up, then these ships slowly ghosting past create a beautiful, even soothing sight. If it’s dark enough, their lights shine across the water, sometimes lighting the very walls of the cabin! In the early sunrise, they glow. On a calm morning, with the birds singing in the forest, a cruise ship slipping past can gladden our hearts.

In the evening, this process reverses, although by then the cat’s fast asleep. Often, I’ll see them coming far up the fjord from the rocks where I fish for that day’s dinner. Magnified by distance, they seem impossibly large and misshapen.

Celebrity Millennium in Lynn Canal

A closer view of the Celebrity Millennium (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

The southern leg varies according to a lot of conditions, some of which we can’t discern. Sometimes, the ships will pass mid-fjord; sometimes they angle hard to the east, probably to pass near the sea lion haul out at Gran Point across from us. Sometimes they pass slowly, other times at seemingly high speed.

In past years, one ship, that habitually passed late on Sunday afternoons, may actually include us in the tour. A neighbor once told us that he had heard announcements over the public address system that sounded as if they were calling attention to our homes along the shore. Since then I tried hard to make out the announcements, but never made any sense of them.

Next post: waves of various types and intensities!

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy