northern lights

Aug 1st, 2001, 10:21 AM
  #1  
lynn
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northern lights

if we sail in 13th September next year - how likely are we to see the northern lights? will the weather be half way decent and what will the wildlife veiwing be like then - whales especially? cheers.
 
Aug 1st, 2001, 04:16 PM
  #2  
Sally
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I'm going to Iceland and hope to see the Northern Lights. I believe it will be helpful if you tell us where you are going on your cruise?
 
Aug 1st, 2001, 10:33 PM
  #3  
Paul Therault
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Hi Lynn,

They are around in the summer and fall in the Northern Hemisphere but are not spectacular and due to the long daylight hours you will more than likely not see them.

Best to travel in winter and stay up all night. But then again you may be lucky and see them early evening.

Paul
 
Aug 1st, 2001, 10:46 PM
  #4  
Paul Therault
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Hi Lynn,

Forgot about your wildlife.

You have a very good chance of seeing Whales, Orcas and Humbacks. Better chance at the end of Sept. through Dec.

Sea Lions are plentiful along with Harbor Seals and Otters. You have an average chance of seeing a Propoise.

The Puffins start leaving the first week of September but you should see many Murres, Auklets, Murrelets and Commorants.

Bears will be plentiful but fat chance of seeing one on a cruise ship up close.

You will have an average chance of seeing a Bald Eagle or two.

Anything else you wish to see?

Paul
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 10:15 AM
  #5  
lynn
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Thanks for your replys Paul - I forgot to say it is the Inside Passage, Alaska - 13th Sept next year. We are coming from UK and it's our first ever cruise so we are really excited and are wondering about all kinds of things? For instance, sailing on Infinity - when we embark, will we be allowed back off the ship to spend some more time in Vancouver exploring? Maybe someone can help us with the weather question now it's clear where we are going. I've heard the weather is unpredictable, but is there a chance that it may be really bad and we won't see anything at all or would that type of weather be later?
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 03:06 PM
  #6  
Sally
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Now that I know it is Alaska you are thinking about I can share my personal experience. I went in May and was told that the Northern lights are only seen if you are farther North and Inland (Fairbanks). I've personally never heard of anyone seeing them on a cruise. In May the high was in the forties and many people came unprepared and were forced to purchase the expensive jackets onboard. Check WorldClimate.com for the averages then bring appropiate clothing for the coldest temps. We saw whales, lots of sea lions, seals, etc. And Bald Eagles were a common site, especially over the cannery, there were at least 30 at one time. Make sure you ask your guide if you will be passing anywhere where they gather in order to have your camera ready. When I did my research it appeared Sept was the best time to see bears. We were told that in that month they are out near rivers pulling out the salmon and don't disperse just for us. Some on my ship saw them from the ship as an announcement would be made when one could be seen. You must have binocculors tho. Most ships allow you to disembark after boarding the first day. I would highly suggest going a day or two early in order to go to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
 
Aug 3rd, 2001, 09:46 PM
  #7  
Paul Therault
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Hi Lynn,

If you get to the ship early you can certainly leave and explore Vancouver. It is a beautiful city. I particularly like walking around Gastown and if you have time also visit Stanley Park. Buses and trolleys will take you anywhere at reasonable prices.

The weather in Vancouver is usually very nice. It will be a big change from Britain.

Enjoy,

Paul
 
Aug 4th, 2001, 07:53 AM
  #8  
John
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Lynn, as far as the northern lights are concerned, understand that Juneau is at the same latitude as parts of Caithness, and given the weather in the North of Scotland or Orkney/Shetland compared to Southeast Alaska, your chances are better at seeing the aurora in Scotland than in SE Alaska. Mid-winter is the best time, so plan a Hogmanay visit and look for the northern lights, the Gaelic name for which I was told once translates as the "dancing men." (Cool if true).
 
Aug 7th, 2001, 11:31 AM
  #9  
tommy
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I saw the northern lights in mid August 1999 from the deck of the ship as we sailed btw Juneau and Glacier Bay. Saw them again in Denali Park approx. one week later. Having never seen them before, I personally thought they were spectacular.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 05:49 AM
  #10  
Pat
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We did the Inside Passage last August. Mornings on deck were cold. The morning we were in the park viewing the glaciers, we wore Polarfleece jackets, hats, and thin gloves until midday. We were lucky and had no rain for the trip, but we heard this was unusual. So, make sure you take rain gear.

Have fun,
Pat
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #11  
lynn
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Tommy - if you are still reading this post - what time of night was it when you saw the N.Lights? We read somewhere midnight is a good time. Also, if the lights are spotted is it popular enough to be announced? Thanks.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 12:53 PM
  #12  
tommy
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lynn,
I was travelling on a cruise line called Cruise West. This line uses small ships in comparison to the other larger cruise lines, and I am not sure what the policy is on other lines. On this ship, however, before leaving port, the passengers were advised to sign a list on the bulletin board if we wanted to be wakened if the northern lights were spotted. I did sign up, howver I was still awake and in the lounge when they were spotted, which if i remember correctly was around 1 AM. The captain saw them and notified the cruise director. Because of the relatively small number of passengers on the ship, the staff was able to call the cabins of those who signed the list. Not sure if that is practical or done on the large ships.
 

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