We booked a whale watch excursion privately with Glacier Winds. Shawn and Teresa are both native Alaskans and have lived in Hoonah for many years, Shawn, the captain, grew up there. We saw a large number of humpback whales - some even came so close we could smell their terrible breath, despite our attempts to remain at a distance! No breeching, but lots of great whale tail photos and close encounters with the large, majestic humpbacks. We also saw a number of small deer, eagles and a large eagles nest, along with Dall's porpoise and sea lions. Everything was very well organized with clear instructions and communications in advance. A great experience and a real highlight!
We took the blue shuttle from the dock to Mendenhall Glacier - it was very easy and inexpensive - $14 return ( we got a group discount of $2 p/p as there were 6 of us)it leaves both the dock and the glacier on the hour and half hour. It took about 15 minutes to get to the glacier. We spent about 2 hours exploring, hiking and viewing the glacier and visitor centre. It was a sunny day and the glacier is stunning to see.
Returning to Juneau downtown, we took the tram up Mt Roberts and were treated to fantastic views of the whole valley. This would not be great on an overcast day! We also hiked a bit around at the top of Mt Roberts, seeing lovely wildflowers and interesting First Nations carvings in trees along the trail. It is a bit pricey for the short trip, but the views were worth it and being out in Alaskan nature can't be beat.
We walked around downtown and were basically overwhelmed by all the jewelry and souvenir stores. I am not sure who is buying all those diamonds, but there were a LOT of shops. We enjoyed a quick visit to the Sate Museum, which has a good collection, and headed back to the ship.
We picked up a map from the Visitor's Center and followed the walking tour of downtown. Highlights were the Totem Heritage Center, which has a good collection of poles ( we are very familiar with West Coast art, as we live at the coast), and we enjoyed Creek Street, including Dolly's House. It was expensive for what it offered, but interesting, and a fascinating view of women's history in Alaska.
We saw many spawning salmon in the creek and at the fish ladder. We also took the funicular (outside elevator) up from Creek Street, which was fun, and enjoyed an Alaskan Amber in the lounge int he hotelat the top!This is owned an operated by a local First Nation.
The downtown walk provided a good overview of the area and took about 3.5 hours with lots of stops.