Leaving Detroit on Friday, we pushed back from the gate and sat there for 10 or 15 minutes before the pilot said there was a minor mechanical problem (something with an air conditioning valve) and they would need to return to the gate. Before returning to the gate, a woman up front somewhere started having shortness of breath so they had to call out the paramedics too. After an hour, we finally got in the air headed to Minneapolis.
They announced as we landed that our next flight—taking us to Anchorage—was being held at gate C-9, the opposite end of the airport from our arrival gate (F-something). We sprinted about 1/4 of the way before realizing that the destination gate was probably three full miles away, so Melissa got a guy driving some electric car thing to drive us there. We got there a mere five minutes after the original scheduled departure and—lo and behold—there was no plane at the gate. Our connection was running an hour late, and we’d just zoomed across a huge airport for no reason.
The good news was that we had time for lunch.
So we finally got on the plane for the nearly six-hour flight (argh!) which proceeded without event. In Anchorage we got directly on a Holland America bus (the last one, waiting just for our late flight) for the two-and-a-half hour drive to Seward to board the ship. The guy there had no idea he was supposed to accept my passport receipt in lieu of a passport, but after a discussion with his manager we boarded the M.S. Volendam without further incident and all is well. Provided I can get back into the United States at the end of the journey (where we pass through Vancouver, Canada) it will have gone off without any serious hitch.
But, boy were we tired when we arrived. We left our apartment at 4:30 a.m. EDT, and arrived on the ship at about 6:15pm ADT (10:15pm EDT)—thirteen and a half hours later—after a journey on three planes and a bus, all with cramped, uncomfortable seats.
A quick dinner at the informal buffet, the required evacuation drill, and the delivery of our luggage to our room (which was also among the last batch scanned and loaded on the ship) finished by 10:00 p.m. ADT (2:00 a.m. EDT), we finally went to sleep for a blessed ten hours.
I am writing this entry the next morning (Saturday) though the ship is at-sea so I won’t be able to post until tomorrow when we arrive in Icy Strait Point. We’ll be at the Hubbard Glacier in the mean time, so I’ll add a little more after we finish there.
We have arrived now at Icy Strait Point, and there is a cell phone signal (though not a particularly strong one). The cruising yesterday was great, even though we didn’t get even half as close to the Hubbard Glacier as last time. That’s okay; Melissa has a much bigger lens on her camera this time!We had a wonderful crab leg dinner in the restaurant on-board, since we missed the fancy dinner the first night since we were so darn tired.
Of note, I got a voicemail today from FedEx. The Department of State sent my passport, but neglected to include our apartment number so a harried FedEx guy called urgently requesting that we tell him what it is so they can deliver it before our trip. ~Sigh~