Cruising to Alaska - My Family Travels

This August, my family and I took a seven-day cruise to Alaska. Now I know what you’re thinking, we went to Alaska to see wildlife, glaciers, and snow in the middle of August. Are you nuts? We really went to gain fifteen pounds on cruise food and throw rubber chickens in buckets. 

I mean, who can resist prime cuts of beef and cake every day for a week?  Throwing rubber chickens is an Alaskan original with a Southern twist. Ever since the first people started traveling in dog sleds to Alaska, they have needed games to play. One popular Alaskan game was the snowball ball toss into an upside-down igloo.

Around 1863, folks in Georgia heard about this game and decided to play it, but there was a problem, what the heck were an igloo and a snowball? After some Internet research on igloos and snowballs, the Georgians replaced the igloos and snowballs with KFC buckets and rubber chickens. The Chicken Toss was born!

The Chicken Toss on the cruise ship was quite simple: throw two big rubber chickens into the metal flowerpot and throw one little rubber chicken into a small 1863 replica KFC bucket. Being experienced in chicken tossing, I knew to throw the feather-light, boneless chickens by their rubbery legs for the most accurate throw. With precise accuracy, I threw each chicken into its correct target better than any Civil War soldiers ever could. After winning many Dam Dollars, which were fake dollars you could redeem at the end of the week for prizes, I packed up and headed out to eat some real chickens at the dinner table.

Later that week, my family and I boarded a smaller boat to look for sea otters and other wildlife out in the ocean. The most exciting part of this excursion was spotting a group of orca whales, since I had never seen any before and noticed how big they were. The whales never came all the way out of the water, but we did see their backs and back fins when they dove under for more fish. After whale watching, the boat cruised on to an island with more wildlife.Since the sea was calmer than normal that day, we were able to visit a special island out on the ocean. Traveling at a sustained twenty-five knots so we could spend more time observing the animals, standing up on the boat was a challenge, especially for the people on the top deck.

With coffee and small children being sucked off the deck at an alarming rate, we held tightly to the handrails and tried to stay on our feet. Out at the island, we saw eagles, starfish, assorted seabirds, and a whole flock of puffins in the caves inside the island. Though I had seen eagles before at the zoo, I had never seen puffins.

Leaving the puffins behind, our boat headed out to a cove nearby to find some sea otters. At the cove, we saw a group of about seventy sea otters, floating on their backs in the water and swimming around. Being the tourist friendly type, they allowed the boat to get very close and let the people take many photos of them. After signing numerous legal documents so people could upload videos of them on YouTube, the otters went back to their homes and waited for the next boat of otter-crazed tourists.

Nights onboard were also fun, along with eating too much at dinner, there was a show every night. My favorite show of the week featured a magician who was a world champion of magic. It was a great show, and the first magic show I had ever attended. His most famous trick, which he has performed on various late night talk shows, was his cups and balls trick.

He performed the trick for us, and no one could guess how he did it. It was a neat trick. At the end of the cruise, they set out various clothing and prizes to redeem with your Dam Dollars. I got a nice sweater, and t-shirt, and a coffee mug, even though I never ever drink coffee.

A few weeks after the cruise, my grandfather and I created a DVD about the cruise. We included a slideshow of photos he took, plus the video I shot and added some background music. Finally, I created a Star Wars-like credits to the DVD. Then we burned the DVD, and everybody enjoyed it.

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