We're sitting in a lounge a deck below our roomette waiting for the ferry to move off into the Auke Bay and head up the coast towards Whittier. This morning has already been a busy one - a walk through the state museum and a partially self-guided tour through the state capitol building took up most of it. Juneau has been rainy and foggy, with the mist lifting only a little to show the nearest evergreen-encrusted hills. The Travelodge's van driver told us she'd been born and raised here until she turned thirteen, and, as she put it, her mother got tired of the rain and moved them to Hawaii. Dan says the skies will be blue tomorrow, but by then, we'll be far from Juneau, halfway to our ferry's destination.
The ship has begun a slow turn away from the dock, and it seems most of the passengers are watching it from here. Everyone has settled in to varying degrees, whether it's people in their appointed cabins with private baths, those like us on the "sun deck", with our 2-berth rooms and our communal bathrooms (yes, I said 2 - Dan plans to snooze elsewhere on the boat or sack out on the floor of the room), or the folks on the solarium deck claiming a lounge chair or pitching a tent secured onto the deck floor with duct tape. TVs in the lounges show where we are on our journey and how fast we're traveling. There's a cafe, a bar, a gift shop, a video arcade, a movie theater, a vehicle deck, and a dining area in addition to the lounges. It's the Super 8 of cruises, I guess. Dan thought there'd be more people on board, but I guess the lure of a Norwegian Cruise Line package is too great for too many.
We're excited. We're really excited.
The keynote speaker at this year's Rising Tide will be human rights journalist and Mother Jones' correspondent on the Gulf oil disaster at "The Rights Stuff", Mac McClelland. All the more reason to register for the conference, especially before the cost goes up on August 1st. Get it going, 'cause it's going to be a good year.
Need more on Ms. McClelland? Check some of Alex Woodward's interview with her at The Gambit's Blog of New Orleans, some extra outtakes from this article addressing the media blackout concerning the events in the Gulf. Contrary to what Jeffrey thinks, though, I don't think we'll be having to bail her out anytime soon.