Haines – Alaska Cruise 2017 – Part 1

Note: this is a long post. If you just want the photos, go to the bottom and check out the gallery sans the witty, incisive, profound, and irreverent banter.

This is the first post documenting our September 12, 2017, visit to Haines, Alaska, a long-delayed continuation of my documentation of our 2017 Alaska Cruise. Previous posts relating to this  cruise can be found HERE.

There’s a gallery at the end of this first post and a SmugMug gallery HERE. Photos in SmugMug can be viewed full-size. Note that the SmugMug gallery will contain all the photos from Haines; those from this post (Part 1) will be in there when the post goes live and those of the next post(s) (Part(s) 2(3,4,n+1)) I’ll add as those posts go live.

You can click on the photos in the body of the post to see a larger-but-less-than-full-size-version. If there’s a panorama, I’ll link the full-size files but be warned . . . they’re typically huge. Huger than people have ever seen before. Don’t click on those links unless you’re enjoying a biggly Interweb connection. Also, if you have biggly Interweb but you’re reading this on a phone — which is sad; VERY SAD — I wouldn’t bother with the full-size photos because they are HUGE; huger than anyone else’s huge photos. 

September 12, 2017, had me shoot a total of 734 photos (straight-up photos, no HDR bracketing) and a few videos. Readers should be thankful I pared those down to a shade over 35% of the total. Even at 259, most people’s eyes will glaze over and either briefly scan one or two or skip the lot and go investigate the mysterious Project 313

Note: the Haines photos were post-processed at different times and — depending on my mood and the subject matter and the lighting and the camera — make use of various post-processing techniques resulting in inconsistent appearances. Take them as they are. 

Note 2: Disclosure: a few photos have been digitally altered to add a few things. Nothing that substantially changes the content of said photos; it’s just something I wanted to try and it will only be evident to a few people.

I should probably do a brief introduction . . . 

First off, here’s the Princess Patter for the 12th of September of 2017.  For them who don’t click on links or don’t remember previous posts, we were scheduled to dock at Skagway. For them interested, HERE one can find my photos from my previous visit to Skagway from a 2012 cruise aboard the Star Princess

The Haines Notice explaining why we were changing ports. Here’s the original Skagway description.

Notice the mention of the White Pass railway excursion; we had booked that excursion (something we still want to do and probably will in a future cruise) but the notice had us cancel because of the idea of a ferry ride not being overly attractive. Both Melisa and I can get motion sickness and our worry was that the 45 minutes ferry boat ride (on a smallish boat) might trigger nausea and make the rest of the day miserable. Also, it would’ve required us getting up at 5:30 in the morning and that was not especially appealing. 

Here’s a map of the whole area, including the previous stops (Disappointment Bay at Yakutat Bay and Glacier Bay NP) and the next planned stop Haines and showing the additional distance to Skagway. The picture below can be clicked for a much larger version (4.4MB).

This is the Haines Port Guide describing the attractions of the area and what little other information a visitor might find useful. 

Right, that be enough background stuff to bore even the staunchest readers to tears. Many — I’m sure — have already tuned out and left. 

~ ~ ~ ~ here we go ~ ~ ~ ~

Wait . . . one more thing; 90%+ of these photos are from the Nikon P900. Nine photos (the first nine) are from the Nikon D7000. The rest are from the Samsung Note 8 Samsung Note II. Keep that in mind in case you’re considering whether using a point-and-shoot camera suffices to document your travels. 

This was our first view of Haines. Standing on our balcony, I surveyed the surrounding view. 

Notice something? Yup; the water be pretty calm. I think the ferry ride would have been just fine. Of course, we made our decision based on the previous day’s conditions. There is a small measure of regret to have missed the excursion which was — per some people we heard from — quite beautiful both in scenery and weather. 

Then again, we got to see Haines (ships don’t stop here often) and we have something to look forward to on our next cruise to the area. 

Before I continue, a quick note to photographers or people interested in these things. 

Above, you can see two photos of Haines . . . here are the same photos from the P900.

The exaggerated saturation is due to me compensating for the poor light-gathering ability of the P900 but also because the early-morning light was a bit difficult for the P900 to handle.  

Be it a wise decision or not, I processed many of the subsequent photos the same way so as to overcome the bland and gray look of the photos right out of the camera until the sun broke through the clouds. 

Anyway, this was the view on the other side of the ship. That would be (remnants of) Fort Seward, the subject of the next post . . . 

Here’s one of the boats taking passengers to Skagway . . . 

Here’s how the boat actually looked from the ship . . . 

Gotta love that zoom . . . 

After a good breakfast and donning warm clothing, we got off the boat . . . 

Here be one of them panoramas I mentioned . . . 

It don’t look much different from the previous photo but click HERE for the full-size photo (8081 by 3085 pixels, 8 MB).

Anyway, as we got off the boat we were met by volunteers who answered questions about the small town as well as provided maps. A few words about Haines . . . it has a vacation planner guide (HERE) which contains maps and lots of information. 

There’s a PDF online for the 2017-Downtown Walking Tour. We also got handed a flyer for the Fort Seward Walking Tour a well as a brochure on the Fort Seward Sculpture Garden.

The PDF is a bit difficult to read, so here are pictures of the brochure:

I include all that so that I can reference it as I show photos of the place. 

Anyway, the first thing we did when we got off the ship was to walk toward “downtown”. On the way, we passed by Rusty, one of the sculptures mentioned in the brochure, in a display titled “Rusty’s got the Blues”

Nikon P900 photo

Here’s the Note 8 Note II version . . . 

Samsung Note 8 Note II

 And, here’s the write-up on sled dogs. 

I should probably add some music to help pass the time as people (few people) read this stuff.

As we headed off toward downtown Haines, I took the opportunity — as I often did during our various port stops — to look back at the boat. 

Nikon P900
Samsung Note 8 Note II

The light really helped set the scene. Striking was the word that came to mind. As I mentioned, one can often see quite a lot zooming in on subjects with the P900.

Even more so if one bothers to examine photos in SmugMug. 

There are some who insist cruise ships are monstrosities . . . I look at these photos and I’m forced to disagree. But, then, it’s in my nature to do so when I know I’m right. 

This is where we saw one of only two eagles we saw during this trip and I was once again happy to have the P900 zoom at hand.

One other thing we noticed . . . er . . . one of many other things we noticed were . . . 

. . . these.

As we walked along we spotted literally hundreds making their way hither and fro. We were careful to not step on any of them . . . but not so other passengers who — oblivious to the presence of woolly worms — contributed to the demise of many. 

. . . and some wonder why I despise so many humans . . . 

The above was of interest mostly because of the dog . . . which — I was pleased to see — was on a leash. So often I see off-leash dogs riding in the bed of some assh . . . er . . .  riding in the pickup bed of some rear orifice of a person. I always cringe at the sight. 

Interestingly, I never cringe when I see people ride in the back of pickup trucks. On the contrary, I spur the drivers to speed and make sudden and violent maneuvers. Unless it’s kids . . . although, having rear orifices for parents almost certainly guarantee they’ll not have a great life and will likely follow in their parent’s footsteps. Yes; I get more and more judgmental because there’s more and more stuff to be judgmental about. I sure hope I don’t run out of my judgmental juice as I believe I’ll need mucho grande quantities going forward in life. 

One more look back at the ship, this time with a long zoom . . . 

As we passed the marina, I saw this contraption . . . 

What is it, you ask? Well, ask and ye shall receive . . . information.

I’m a sucker for old machines and their exposed workings. 

Soon enough, we were in the town proper . . . 

I was almost tempted to see just how good their espressos were but the ship was in the background, watching . . . and reminding me I had a coffee card and an appointment with the International Cafe when I got back aboard.

When I first saw this next sight I assumed it had something to do with fishing; a buoy of some kind, perhaps. Surely it wasn’t what it looked like . . . 

Nope; I think they are exactly what they look like . . . 

I mean, I understand . . . long and dark winters . . . what else is there to do? 

Except, you know, it was the end of Summer. I dread imagining the size of the pile come next May or June. 

Downtown has a lot of murals in what are not that many buildings.

Also, very crowded, what with the ship in port . . . 

. . . not. I stood in the middle of one of the intersections along the main road through downtown and was in no danger (despite someone warning me to be careful) of getting run over by anything on wheels. 

This next photo is a multi-shot panorama of a mural stitched together for your viewing pleasure.

If you want to see the full-size version but don’t want to go to SmugMug, click HERE. Be aware that it’s a 22070 by 2966 pixels and 11 MB file. Don’t open unless you have decent internet and can spare the data transfer. 

Even the local grocery store had a mural . . . and a few people milling about.

The long panorama mural was on the side of this building . . . 

. . . and this building . . . 

. . . prevented me from getting the panorama of the mural on the other side.

And people wonder why I’m so anti-pseudo-scientific beliefs and outright quackery. 

A bit further down the street was The  Hammer Museum . . . 

No, I didn’t go inside both because I didn’t realize it was a museum and because even if I had, I wouldn’t have paid $5 for the privilege of stepping foot in it. Besides, I only liked some of his music . . . and the pants.

Across the street was the Sheldon Museum which I also passed on since it’s admission price was even steeper ($10).

I mean, I like the first few seasons of The Big Bang but they eventually turned Sheldon into an unlikable character; I see no reason to celebrate him with a museum.

I liked the totem, though. Here’s a vertical panorama (vertorama?) composed of multiple photos stitched together.

Again, click HERE for the full-size version (3127 by 9876 pixels, 10MB).

Photographers occasionally speak about White Balance. No, it’s not a racial thing . . . here, let me give you an example of what happens when you mess with the WB. 

Again, click HERE for the full-size version (3127 by 9876 pixels, 10MB).

For them who want even more detail (no one I know of but you never know) here’s a (zoomed in) panorama created with multiple zoomed-in photos. 


Again, click HERE for the full-size version (3028 by 20910 pixels, 13MB).

A number of eating places were open but seeing as the ship had a great buffet, we passed on the chance. We contemplated visiting the bakery but, again, lots of great desserts choices on the boat.

Instead, I concentrated on some of the textures and artworks strewn in front of the museum and a bit down the street. 

I’d sure like to have that rock. 

If interested in a macro of the crystalline structure, here you go . . . 

You just know I’ll eventually do something with those photos, like, maybe, passing them through Topaz Impression plugin. 

If you’re interested in the organic and more dynamic connection between the small evergreen tree and the rock, here you go . . . 

I didn’t see the spider that built the web; I think its name is Al something or other. Too bad, that. 

There were some carvings on the lawn . . . I can’t speak to the mastery of the stonework but they did offer me an opportunity to press and release the shutter a few times.

I assume those carved lines are meant to convey the idea of a mustache . . . to me, they held a closer resemblance to gills and without knowing more about local lore, I can’t say which is the more accurate assumption. 

This seal appeared attached to the rock . . . 

Not sure what was going on in this next sculpture but I’m sure Evangelicals would object to it and try to pass some law banning it. 

I was more interested in the bark than the statue . . . 

Yup; another couple of photos that will receive future artistic treatments.

We had arrived at the end of the main road so I got me a few more shots before making the return trip to the boat. 

Did I mention I like rust?

I mean, not on anything I own, but it does have a certain attraction when found in the wild. 

It certainly looks as if it was important sometime in the past; I mean, it had a gauge and everything. 

On the way back, I took another photo of Rusty . . . he still held the pose, so I figure he deserved the shot. 

We went back onto the boat because the weather had warmed and we were a bit overdressed (and we wanted a snack). We would only linger a little bit and then head out to explore Fort Seward and the artwork therein but those are photos for the next post. 

Here’s a randomized gallery of all the above photos:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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