Cruise West’s Alaska Experience

Within more than half a million square miles lies a world so vast, so rich, that even with repeated visits you will never grasp its scope.  Alaska.  Known as the Great Land, it is a place of extremes.  Majestic mountains.  Thundering glaciers.  Picturesque ports.  Ancient cultures.  Towering rainforests.  Sweeping tundra.

Cruise West’s small ships share Alaska’s secrets with you.  Four unique voyages in the coastal waterways of Southeast Alaska offer unique insights and rare experiences. Your journey will take you away from crowds to the grandness of the special places around you, the hidden fjords, the secret coves, the Native villages and the enchanting ports.

Your choices of itinerary are as wide as the Alaskan sky and Cruise West’s small ships take you to more of Alaska than any other cruise line.  From 4-day to 11-day cruises, there’s an itinerary that’s just right for your dreams.

Two exciting routes explore Alaska’s Inside Passage with routes from Seattle to Juneau, and round trip Juneau, all exploring the charming ports and scenic waterways of the legendary Inside Passage.  Lush evergreen forests, snow capped mountains, calving glaciers, breaching whales and gatherings of bald eagles invite you to one of the last great wild places on earth.

With more permits than any other cruise line, our Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve cruises offer you an unending panorama of wildlife, fjords and the wilderness heart of Alaska, allowing you to discover the real Alaska, accompanied by an onboard National Park Service Ranger and a Native Cultural Interpreter.

Beautiful Prince William Sound is the home of mammoth glaciers, colonies of seabirds, a myriad of wildlife like humpbacks, orcas, grays, otters, seals and sea lions.  This spectacular region of meandering shorelines studded with hidden islands and enfolded fjords is a hidden treasure where few roads reach and even fewer cruise lines go.  Here is a pristine landscape the world has come to treasure.

Alaska’s glorious coastlines stretch for more than 6,000 miles.  Yet these enchanted waterways only reveal part of its beauty because Alaska’s interior is also filled with surprises.  To complete your Alaska voyage, come to the heartland.  Discover mountain ranges, vast landscapes that are home to moose, caribou, grizzlies and wolves.  From the enormous wilderness of Denali National Park to the serene peace of remote, rustic lodges, when you add a land tour to your cruise, you’ll capture even more of the unsurpassed beauty that is Alaska.

Come with Cruise West on the trip of a lifetime to experience the realization of something you’ve dreamed about, planned for and looked forward to.  Seeing Alaska by small-ship will get you closer let you see more and show you personally what Alaska truly means.

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Click the image to enlarge

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JOIN THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

I’m passing this on to those of you that may want to consider participating in this weekends “Count for Fun, Count for the Future”. As I prepared this post my 4 Brown Eagles are presently hovering overhead. I have named the parents Rodan and Priscilla and I still need to figure out and name their 2 children who are about 4 years old now.

New York, NY and Ithaca, NY—Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to join tens of thousands of everyday bird watchers for the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2009.


A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation. Participants count birds and report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org.


“The Great Backyard Bird Count benefits both birds and people. It’s a great example of citizen science: Anyone who can identify even a few species can contribute to the body of knowledge that is used to inform conservation efforts to protect birds and biodiversity,” said Audubon Education VP, Judy Braus. “Families, teachers, children and all those who take part in GBBC get a chance to improve their observation skills, enjoy nature, and have a great time counting for fun, counting for the future.”

Anyone can take part, from novice bird watchers to experts, by counting birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and reporting their sightings online at www.birdcount.org. Participants can also explore what birds others are finding in their backyards—whether in their own neighborhood or thousands of miles away. Additional online resources include tips to help identify birds, a photo gallery, and special materials for educators.


The data these “citizen scientists” collect helps researchers understand bird population trends, information that is critical for effective conservation. Their efforts enable everyone to see what would otherwise be impossible: a comprehensive picture of where birds are in late winter and how their numbers and distribution compare with previous years. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists.


“The GBBC has become a vital link in the arsenal of continent-wide bird-monitoring projects,” said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director, John Fitzpatrick. “With more than a decade of data now in hand, the GBBC has documented the fine-grained details of late-winter bird distributions better than any project in history, including some truly striking changes just over the past decade.”

Each year, in addition to entering their tallies, participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest. Many are featured in the popular online gallery. Participants in the 2009 count are also invited to upload their bird videos to YouTube; some will also be featured on the GBBC web site. Visit www.birdcount.org to learn more.

Businesses,  schools, nature clubs, Scout troops, and other community organizations interested in the GBBC can contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473), or Audubon at citizenscience@audubon.org or (202) 861-2242, Ext 3050.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by support from Wild Birds Unlimited.


I hope that you enjoy this activity as much as I will.  If you have the time and space, why not plan to invite some your favorite birds into your backyard this year. Select the appropriate bird houses and place them in your yard.

I am sure they will give you many hours of pleasure and possibly help you eliminate some annoying insects that you are not fond of.

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