IT was a holiday they had always wanted to do, even if it meant packing clothes for the cold of Alaska and the heat of Hawaii.
But Adrian and Dot Sumner of Shepparton, managed to fit it all in as they flew to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria Island in Canada.
They had four days there, time enough to explore and go whale watching. At first they were to chase the whales in a zodiac but as the weather closed in they swapped to a covered boat and just as well because it poured down, but that didn’t stop the whales from putting on a great display.
It was a pod of about 20 Orca or killer whales and Adrian and Dot managed to get right up close as the whales leapt from the water.
Back on Victoria Island, they headed to the Butchart Gardens. This time the weather was with them as they strolled through the many different types of gardens.
The Butchart Gardens was originally a cement quarry. At the end of its days Mrs Butchart took over and with lots of help, transformed the quarry into a world-renowned tourist attraction.
Next, Adrian and Dot took the ferry to Vancouver from where they hired a car and set off on a self-drive tour of the Rocky Mountains.
Their first stop was at Whistler, the famous ski resort, but it was Summer and the mountain bikes had taken over. From there, they went on to Kamloops and then on to Jasper with its famous national park.
The weather stayed with them and the scenery was just spectacular. To add to the beauty of the mountains, as they arrived at Banff it was snowing, draping the mountain in a cloak of white.
Adrian and Dot decided to leave the mountains and drive to Seattle in America. They saw the space needle, the spectacular Chihuly Glass Museum and then onto the Boeing plant.
Cameras are banned and not even a mobile phone can be taken on the tour, but you get to see the massive planes being assembled. An incredible sight.
It was then back to Vancouver to join their cruise ship to sail the inside passage of Alaska. They were on the Holland America Oosterdam and what a wonderful ship.
Dot says the atmosphere was great, the food was excellent and the entertainment was also excellent. They were there for seven days and nights.
They cruised Glacier Bay and watched as slabs of ice carved from the face of the glacier fell into the bay. The weather was perfect but it was cold and those extra warm clothes came in handy on deck and ashore.
They saw lots of whales while sailing and at Skagway they took the Yukon White Pass Railway trip up over the mountains as the old miners of yesteryear did. It’s a climb of over 914m with breathtaking views along the way.
At Juneau, they took a helicopter flight up onto the Mendenhall Glacier and went on a guided walk along the top of the ancient glacier, and as Adrian says with global warming the glaciers seem to be melting fast.
At Ketchikan they took part in a wildlife adventure visiting Herring Cove to see the black bears as they fed on salmon from a stream.
Their ship now sailed back to Vancouver from where they caught a flight to Hawaii. Dot says it was like fire and ice, one day you are rugged up for Alaska next you are in Hawaii and it was hot.
They were there for four days and decided to island hop by plane. They visited active volcanoes issuing a trail of smoke, went on guided tours, saw the Arizona Memorial and the battleship Missouri. They also saw manta rays and took a helicopter flight over the Waimea Canyon, which is said to rival the Grand Canyon.
It had been a busy few weeks fitting it all in but Adrian and Dot just loved their time on tour, however, all good things must come to an end. Now back in Shepparton, they have some great memories and some incredible photos.
Adrian and Dot would like to thank Lauren from Lyn McNaught Travel in Mooroopna for arranging everything.
Until next time,