Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our Honeymoon

The newlyweds took a week off to recover from the wedding festivities before heading off to Alaska on June 10 aboard the beautiful Dawn Princess. John was not that excited about going to Alaska (said it was too cold), but Gilly had been talking about going there for what seems like forever. It turned out to be a fantastic 10 day experience with great food and service aboard the ship and beautiful scenery. Our favorite part of any cruise is being at sea, and fortunately it's a long way from San Francisco to Alaska so we had almost 3 days on aboard before reaching Sitka. Although we brought along plenty of alcohol and mixers, we realized that we forgot bloody mary mix so we needed to find a store in Sitka to satisfy our morning cravings. I guess they don't do bloody mary's there because the only thing we could find was small cans of spicy V-8 juice which worked out just fine. Problem solved

Our next stop was Juneau where the fun really began as we did a "Zip Line" adventure. We'd never heard of zip line until our friends Bill and Carol Blackburn told us how much fun they'd had doing this on a recent trip to Kauai. A zip line basically consists of cables strung between trees and you go "Zipping" along from tree to tree after being fitted with a body harness that's attached to rollers running on the cables. A simple concept that we're told started in the Costa Rican jungle where supplies were moved by zip lines over small valleys. Then someone got the bright idea that riding on the cable would be more fun than moving supplies. We did a total of nine zips with the longest almost 900 feet and at times we were 180 feet off the ground. We're told that you can reach speeds up to 35 mph. We had two guides and 6 other people in our group and all of them had a blast. The tour also included a jet boat ride to the zip line venue as well as going across two suspension bridges and repelling to the ground from the last tree. We then enjoyed our only dinner off the ship at a local watering hole in Juneau and spent the whole meal reliving our earlier experience.

Our next stop was Skagway where we wondered from bar to bar. Gilly could not stay out of the many jewelry stores that populate all of these small towns catering to tourists. She ended up with very nice whale's tale earrings and pendant which fortunately satisfied her need for further shopping. Skagway is a nice clean little town and we very much enjoyed our brief stay.

At 5:00 am the morning after leaving Skagway, we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord, it was an amazing experience to see the skill involved in maneuvering a huge ship through a relatively narrow fjord filled with some rather large icebergs.

Because the ship is required to visit a foreign port before returning to San Francisco, our last very brief stop was in Victoria, BC. We had a lovely walk into town bought some post cards for the grandkids and headed back to the ship. Victoria has grown considerably since our last visit but still retains a charm that we both enjoy. Our Canadian friends Doug and Teresa are building a home on one of the Gulf Islands which is not far from Victoria so we hope to spend more time there when we're away from Mexico.

Our trip down the coast was delightful with a bit of sunshine, the wind behind us and the ship doing a steady 20 knots. We didn't want to get off but alas it was time to return to the real world and continue the preparations for our own voyage south to warmer digs.

Our June 2 Wedding

There were many people who thought it would never happen, but all of them were proven wrong when we got married on an overcast day in June. The outdoor ceremony and indoor reception all took place at Encinal Yacht Club where we've enjoyed so many good times with our boating friends. It was the perfect venue to say our vows and then celebrate the joy both of us felt on this very special day. The actual wedding party itself might have been the world's smallest considering the number of people attending, but John's son, Nick, and Gilly's long time very good friend, JoAnne, were the perfect people for us. Having John's daughter, Hillary, do a very special reading made sure there were few dry eyes on that overcast day.

We were a bit overwhelmed by the number of people attending and the distance some of them travelled to reach Alameda. Without them it would not have been the same very festive event that it turned out to be despite the gloomy weather. Actually our photographer said the weather made for great picture taking so even that was in our favor. Many people have told us they shed tears of joy during the ceremony so it's good to know that we were not the only ones with laughter bringing on tears.

Gilly's lady friends were so very helpful in decorating the dinner tables and building the beautiful arbor under which we were married as well as decorating Destiny for the occasion. Without their help EYC would not have been the same perfect wedding venue. Several of our boating friends brought their boats to the club complete with decorative signal flags. The club staff and new chef provided outstanding service and a great meal for all to enjoy. The band was so outstanding that most everyone was up dancing away as soon as the bride and groom were finally finished with the traditional first dance.

We are truly blessed to have so many good friends and it was wonderful for us to be able to share our wedding day with most all of them. Hillary put it in the right perspective two months before the wedding when she said to John, "Dad, this is a once in a life time experience when you and Gilly can bring together family and friends from all walks of your lives to celebrate with you. When people get to be your age (that hurt a little) they rarely, if ever, get the chance to do this. You and Gilly will cherish this day forever." Not that we ever really doubted it, but it turns out that she was absolutely right. We had a fantastic time and there's nothing better than having been able to share it with those people that mean the most to us.

Our photographer posted all our wedding photos on her website - there are a lot of pictures in 14 separate galleries. You can look at them on: www.hansenimages.net/weddings/330004