Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jumping All Around in Juneau

Juneau, capital of Alaska, third largest city in the state. Reachable only by plane or boat/ferry. Population about 31,000 people. Liquid sunshine amount (rain) about 150 inches a year. In Juneau an Alaskan can be a native, the bar and hotel or the locally brewed beer. You can see salmon swimming up the channels, rivers and creeks or whales in the Inside Passage. And of course, they have jewelry stores. Lots of jewelry stores.

Our planned excursion for the town of Juneau consisted of a trip to the Alaska state museum, the Macauley Fish Hatchery, the Green Angel Gardens and the Mendenhall Glacier.

The Alaska State Museum's exterior was unprepossessing to say the least. Inside however was a different story with an extensive collection of the various cultures of native Alaskans clothing, tools, examples of their habitat and lifestyles along with displays of native animals, artwork and history of the area. Our allotted time for our visit was 45 minutes which in no way allowed us to fully explore this small but well-laid out museum.

An odd tidbit given to us by our bus driver. There is a statue at the Juneau Federal Building of several pelicans diving (into water presumably). There are no pelicans in the state of Alaska. What happened is that Alaska commissioned the artist to create a statue of eagles for the Federal Building while at the same time Florida commissioned a statue of pelicans. The pelican statue was installed before the mistake was realized and Florida was happy with their eagle statue (because there ARE eagles in Florida) so Alaska was stuck. So Juneau has the only pelicans in Alaska.

Our second stop was to the Macauley Fish Hatchery also know as the Douglas Island Pink and Chum Co. Here we were given a brief informational talk on the life cycle of the salmon and how the company raises the salmon fry from eggs they milk from the adult salmon that return to the freshwater area. The salmon have to be gradually exposed to salt water from their fresh water beginnings but they retain the memory of the fresh water and return to it as adults ready to spawn. Once the company has milked the salmon of their eggs and milt the salmon will die and those salmon are then shipped to other companies for processing and distribution. There is of course a lot more to the whole life cycle of the salmon but this company is a non-profit organization created for maintaining the salmon population and educational purposes.

Gathering the salmon once they've worked their way into the tank from the fish ladder in the fresh water inlet by the hatchery.
The fish are herded into the tarp which is then raised out of the water so the salmon can be dumped into plastic bins.
After milking the females for eggs and the males for their milt, the fish are packed into ice filled containers to be shipped off.

The tourist shot.
Inside the visitor center are several aquariums with various forms of salt water anemones, star fish, local fish, crabs and other critters. There's also an area where you can touch some of the star fish and hermit crabs. The star fish is rough like sandpaper.
Naturally there was a gift shop where smoked salmon, salmon dip and other forms of canned salmon were available for purchase. Onward....

Next up was the visit to Green Angel Gardens. I realize there were a lot of great reviews in the link listed above but quite frankly I was disappointed because all the wildflowers were past the point of blooming and the flowers and plants were simply identified on our sheets of information by group instead of individually pointing out which plant was which. The tour was self-guided and the owners only spoke to us at the end of our walk, pointing out areas of Alaska on a large wall map and giving a little bit of information about the general area. We were treated to a cup of hot cinnamon spice tea and a warm muffin and then we boarded our bus for our next destination. The gardens may well have been beautiful in the spring but I wasn't impressed by what I saw, other than the fact that there were rain forest type plants growing wild in Alaska.

Bl*gger is once again refusing to upload my pictures so I will finish this tomorrow.
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1 comment:

SkippyMom said...

Love the pics' - and you wouldn't catch me dead in that cold water even with the rubber suits they are wearing - those are some hearty young men.

You and Denny are so cute in the pic' - but I think you got the better body in the deal.

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