Wednesday Sept 3, 2008


Only 48 hours to go – and 96 hours’ worth of things to still do! Aarrgghh! But the excitement is mounting. All over the country, bags are being packed, and unpacked, and repacked again. Phonecalls are being made, lists are being consulted, tickets are being checked, departure forms are being filled out, money’s being counted, neighbours are being informed, mail’s being stopped, pets are being relocated, and people are lying awake in the wee small hours wondering …




But, come Friday afternoon, it won’t really matter, and what hasn’t got done won’t get done. Because our group of adventurous Kiwis will meet us (and our co-leaders, Roger & Shelagh Glynan) under the pink and green balloons at Auckland’s International Airport … and we’ll be up-up-and-away!



MIDLIFE MADNESS IN ALASKA & CANADA – that’s what we’ve got planned! And the elegant m/s Statendam will be waiting in Vancouver, ready to take us on the first leg of our North American journey – up the Alaskan coast, through the Inside Passage, to Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay.


There, at the top of the world, we’ll find atmospheric townships, fishing villages, thrilling histories, drop-dead-gorgeous scenery, icebergs and glaciers and wildlife galore. And we Kiwis are gonna get amongst it all – from the decks of our floating hotel. We’ll be going ashore and packing in as much sightseeing as possible … without getting bored or exhausted … and with heaps of time in-between to kick back and relax and have fun.


As we’ve said all along, we’re gonna have a BALL!



We’ll be together for 25 glorious days, and the highlights will just keep coming. Like what? Well, like these …

·        discovering Vancouver, Canada’s exquisite gateway to the Pacific

·        cruising the unspoiled ever-changing waterways of the Inside Passage

·        witnessing the giant crunching ice-cliffs of magical Glacier Bay

·        dropping in on Juneau, Alaska’s wildlife-rich capital city

·        riding a helicopter in the Klondike-goldrush town of Skagway

·        ogling at 3000-foot Deer Mountain in Ketchikan

·        travelling the Kicking Horse route aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Scenic Train

·        journeying to Kamloops through forested peaks and rushing river canyons

·        photographing the snow-capped sky-splitting Canadian Rockies

·        sampling the cowboy towns of Banff and Calgary

·        taking in the old French Quarter in Montreal

·        cruising the scenic St Lawrence River

·        exploring Quebec, North America’s only walled city

·        whale-watching in the deep blue waters of Saguenay Fjord

·        unwrapping historic Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island

·        oohing and aahing at the quaint fishing villages of Halifax, Nova Scotia

·        immersing ourselves in the breathtaking autumn colours of Bar Harbour

·        appreciating Boston Massachusetts, the cradle of American History


Anyway, Robyn and I still have things to do, places to go, people to see, stuff to pick up, stuff to drop off, grandkids to hug and last-minute items to cram into our already-full suitcases – so we’ve gotta run.


I’ll add many more blog entries once this journey’s actually underway … let you know what our fellow-travellers get up to … and include some award-winning pix. So don’t forget to stay tuned …  


Yours bloggedly – JOHN


P.S. Once we’re underway, if you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! And if you want a better look at the map and some of the photos here, just click on them and they’ll enlarge — magic!