Paradise Almost Lost

It started with a tiny crystal starfish.

Trouble follows me around just to see how agitated I’ll get, I’m sure of it.

See, here’s the thing. John and I got a little too big for our britches.

We booked a once-in-a-lifetime seven day cruise to Alaska and decided to do it up right.

So, we booked a penthouse suite in “The Haven” section of the ship where only the privileged few are allowed to be. None out of the unwashed masses allowed, uh, uh.

One has to have special key card to use The Haven section and its included amenities, like:

  • a private bar that also serves appetizers,
  • a restaurant,
  • a lounge,
  • an observation lounge with comfortable seats and rows of candies, petit fours and other pastries, and coffee, tea, and juice set out on the counter should you find yourself a bit peckish during your observations of the gorgeous sights of Alaska,
  • a (fully covered by a glass roof) swimming and lounging area with a hot tub, and,
  • our own concierge who found seats for us at sold-out shows, magically got us a table at fully booked restaurants, and helped me with my internet woes which saved me from having to wait in the always long internet cafe line to speak to the manager on duty.
  • (Honestly, I did wait a few times thinking surely the manager of the internet cafe knew more about why my internet wasn’t working properly, or at all. Not so. I was greeted by a very uppity Gen-Xer who helped me not at all. I swear, he was rolling his eyes at me in his head every one of the three times he saw me in line. Well, I paid for the premium internet package, and was getting nothing or vveerrryy slow internet. He wouldn’t even check my settings to see if I’d messed anything up. He just made me feel frustrated AND stupid at the same time).
  • We even have a butler! Mansure brings us snacks every afternoon and will take care of anything that involves the room and get us anything we want. I’ve heard he’ll even iron and put your clothes away should that be your heart’s desire.
  • He doesn’t clean the room, though. That’s done twice a day by our room steward.

We’re aboard Norwegian’s newest ship-Joy. This is only her second outing, and the first one to Alaska.

Well, being too big for my britches, I decided to buy a pair of Swarovski crystal earrings to remember the cruise by. One is a tiny, crystal starfish, the other a tiny crystal, dangly crab.

First, I dropped the starfish and couldn’t find it, which made me go immediately into panic mode. I was sure I’d dropped it down the sink.

John found it on the floor, after which I promptly dropped the crab down the sink.


Then, I finished an entire blog post, not knowing that sometime during the night, I’d lost internet connectivity.

Two lines of that post were saved. It kept saying it was “saving to my browser.” Since I was blogging with my phone, I don’t know what that means. I still don’t.

Even the picture had disappeared.

It had taken me all night to write.

I went to our first expedition on zero hours of sleep since I had been struggling with the tech, thinking it was something I had done wrong, and was trying to fix all night.

God only knows what damage I’ve done to my phone while trying to”troubleshoot” issues.

Don’t get uppity, people. Karma will put you right back in your place.

The expeditions were nice, though. Our first one was a half day of salmon fishing in Ketchikan, AK.

We “caught” four! Unfortunately, this time of year is catch and release only, so the Captain was afraid to even let us hold them for a picture.

But, the weather in “the rain capital of Alaska” was beautiful, as was the boat. John and I sat on the top deck like royalty until it was time to reel in our fish.

There was only one other fisherman. He was very excited about fishing, so we let him reel in two of them. John and I got one each.

Then it was time to take the pontoon plane to fly through the “magical misty fjords.”

I, of course, was terrified. There wasn’t a barf bag or parachute in sight, although there was a very prominently displayed fire extinguisher (?).

At one point, the pilot landed on a pristine lake and invited us to stand on the pontoons and gaze at the lake from up close.

John was one of the first people off the plane. I was only horrified that the window I had been looking intently out of was also a door that seemed to open quite easily when another daring soul pushed on it to get outside.

A door. What if I had leaned into it during the flight? I shudder to think.

The door was on my clumsy side, and the steps were narrow. My fat, overdressed self was not about to try to get down a skinny ladder of steps and onto a pontoon.

I was quite satisfied sitting, belted in my seat, with the door open. I got a good, clear look, thank you very much.

I’m happy to report that most of the other passengers in the plane felt the same way I did and stayed put, belted in their seats.

Although the fjords were quite beautiful, and although we had a safe, smooth flight, my terror wasn’t unjustifiable.

We found out the next day that one of the planes from the airline that flew us on this expedition collided with a bigger plane, killing four people.

And this happened at about the same time of day, on the same day, our trip went out.

It was a clear day with visibility for miles. It had to be pilot error.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

My heart goes out to the families of those killed in this accident. I am truly sorry for your loss.

We didn’t hear about it until after our helicopter icefield expedition the next day in Juneau, or my anxiety may have prevented us from going.

Then we would have missed landing on a glacier, walking on an ice field, watching a young man get down on one knee and proposing (she said “yes”!), and seeing John drink glacier water.

Yes he did. Scooped it up out of a crack in the ice and drank it down.

Who knows what virus he’s carrying around inside his body now?

And that’s the way my mind works. Worst possibility first.

Do me a favor and try your best not to think that way. It prevents you from the possibility of seeing or doing something amazing.

The day after that in Icy Strait Point/Hoonah, we first went halibut fishing with Captain Chris of Tok River Outfitters.

Not only did John catch two halibut (which we released because we weren’t going to eat them), Captain Chris pointed out a Mama whale and her calf, a male whale, a colony of sea otters, some floating on their backs with their babies on their chests, some sea lions and a seal.

Captain Chris regaled us with stories and explanations. I highly recommend him if you’re in the area and want a fishing trip or a whale watching tour.

The very next expedition was with Captain Billy who showed us the whale calf playing, got us a good close up with the sea lions who were now on a buoy, and cruised the coastline until he found us a black bear to peruse at our leisure, safely in his boat and far away from danger.

Captain Billy is a proud member of the Native American Tlingket nation. He’s a Shark, which is where he got the name of his company, Wooshkeetaan Tours.

He also does whale watching and fishing tours, although we had booked him for the whale watching. I’d recommend him, too.

John and I had a good day with the two Captains. Both were knowledgeable, pleasant to talk to, and fun to be around.

But, thank God, today was a sea day. My poor little body was worn out, and I was exhausted.

Did I tell you that while in Juneau, we couldn’t find the stop for the shuttle back to the ship from downtown, and John refused to stop and ask anybody where it was? And we ended up walking like 300 miles back to the ship?

We freaking walked right past a big building that had “Information” slapped up on it, but on he stalked past it, like he was possessed.

The man made me walk my fat, unexercised body up hills and over dales until we finally made it back.

He even had the gall at one point to ask me if I could walk faster.

My heart was skipping and I was breathing too hard to answer, but I gave him the dirtiest look I could muster at the time.

Then we had the two expeditions starting early the next day. It’s a pure testament to my stubborn perseverance that I made it through the day.

Everything on me hurt. I had to literally crawl into Captain Billy’s truck at the end of the day.

So today, I slept until noon, then we ate lunch, then I started writing this, and we ate dinner.

Bingo, bango-done.

Our expedition for tomorrow in Victoria, British Columbia was supposed to be zip lining, but it was cancelled.

Frankly, John and I are relieved. We’ll (I’ll) sleep in again, take the shuttle into Victoria late, see a few short sights, have lunch, take the shuttle back to the ship and then just chill.

Still gotta pack, though.


Seriously though, it’s been a fantastic vacation. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

You guys are the best.


Fight the good fight. Face your fears. Keep walking even when every fiber of your being is telling you to stop.

I care for you all.

And I need you.







I am a freelance writer who makes words beautiful, exciting, persuasive, concise and alive, if a little loopy sometimes. I was born in S. Korea on an army base, and traveled the world from the age of 10 months into the present day, so I know a lot about many different topics. I've spent the last 22 years (and counting) raising three children into responsible young adults, and that is no mean feat. I've been writing for as long as I can remember: fiction, non-fiction, creative writing, poetry, creative non-fiction and all that falls in between. I'm a great researcher. I am also easy to work with. If you've got a topic that needs to be written about, I can write it. I've been married for 26 years to the same man, and that's a whole topic unto itself! If you need a freelance blogger or writer, hire me. I won't let you down. Contact:,, Instagram: @vickypoutas,, Facebook:

2 thoughts to “Paradise Almost Lost”

  1. A good read, Vicky. It makes me want to take the same vacation as you and John. (Tell him I said hello.) However, not only am I fat, I am still lame after a short period of walking. So, I will live vicariously through your exploits. lol. When you get home, give Tsuki a good massage from me.

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