Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dutch Harbor, Unalaska

Dutch Harbor is actually on Amarak Island, sister city and island respectively to Unalaska and Unalaska Island. It is located in the Aleutian Islands and is the only natural deep-water port in the Aleutians. The ship traversed the Bering Sea to reach this port. I've always thought that it would be interesting to go to the Aleutian Islands, and I can say that I've been there & sailed on the Bering Sea, but the harbor area, which is all I saw, did not impress me. The morning we arrived, the temperatures were at the freezing level, and there were multiple types of precipitation occurring. People waited in long lines for taxis into town. I was not inspired to take any photographs here.

I took a short walk outside and then opted to return to the ship, as the burning of my freezing ears was too much to take. However, during my short time outside I spotted two new birds to add to my list: golden eagle and harlequin ducks, both male and female. Apparently the harlequin ducks breed in the area. There were also many bald eagles flying around. I don't know if the time of year has anything to do with how many eagles are visible, but this was a complete contrast to my Inside Passage cruise in September, 1988, where the only real eagle I saw was very late in the trip and very far away. The only reason I was certain it was an eagle is that the white tail was very clear.

Friends who went into town said it was nicer that Petropavlovsk, but not much. Apparently the point of visiting this port was reprovisioning of the ship. It is disappointing to go to a place that seems as exotic and unusual as the Aleutian Islands and find virtually nothing there except to be able to say "been there, done that".

Apart from being on a "sick" ship (thank you, Noro virus), where all the sports activities, the pool and hot tubs, and even the spa were shut down until the end of the cruise, at least in terms of ports the cruise did get better. I personally had no problem with most of the activity restrictions, but many people were complaining about them. The one I had trouble with is that the dance hosts were not allowed to dance with other passengers except if no touching was involved. Given that they do mostly or only ballroom dancing, this was problematic. Having had the virus on a previous cruise, I was grateful that I was able to maintain my health throughout the cruise.

Next port of call is Kodiak Island, Alaska.

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