Steamboat Tour — Juneau


Did you know that Juneau has a steamboat tour?  If you saw that, what kind of vessel would you expect?

Ursula and I would thinking along the lines of a paddle wheeler.  Boy, were we in for a shock.  The engine has three cylinders and generates a whopping ten horsepower.  The chugging noise that it makes is charming, but I couldn’t help but glance every now and again at the pressure gauge attached to the boiler just feet away from me.  And once again we dodged float planes at regular intervals.

Nevertheless, it was an experience I would heartily recommend for everyone.  Not only is the crew dressed in period costume, the tour guide was very knowledgeable and imparted a lot of fun historical anecdotes about Juneau and the gold rush days.

Here’s a taste of that tour:

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Steamboat Tour — Juneau

  1. Sandra

    Love it. You and Ursula find the neatest things to do. Bet you all felt like “the little boat that chugs along” next to the cruise ships. Was your cruise ship in the pictures? Such clear pictures!

  2. rogparish

    The boat reminds me of The African Queen!

  3. rogparish

    Juneau has a very nice public library on the second floor of a building right on the cruise line dock.

  4. It’s the top floor of a public parking garage. The wife and I hit it to snag WiFi signals and check our eMail.

  5. That’s a nice little steamer, Doug. I’m sure my Dad would have gotten a kick out of that one – he’s a naval architect by trade. Any idea how old she is?

    I wouldn’t worry about safety BTW. Regulations for passenger carrying vessels, from tour boat to cruise liner, are very strict.

    Anyway, I hope you and Ursula enjoy your cruise.

  6. Thank you, Cora.

    I asked the operator rather incredulously, “Where the heck to you get spare parts for that engine?

    His reply, “Parts? It’s still being manufactured in Australia. We own this and another boat with the same type engine.”

    So, to answer your question, I believe their fairly new, and still being made.

    • Interesting. Based on the general appearance and on other boats I have seen, I would have expected this boat to be approximately eighty to a hundred years old.

  7. Any sailor who’s ever read the book or the script or seen the movie will be offended at a comparison to the African Queen, which was a scruffy, neglected wreck, guaranteed to give a Bristol surveyor a thrombosis on the spot!

    You make me nostalgic for Alaska, Doug. I went there repeatedly over 13 years while I researched “IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race in the World”. It’s different in the winter!

  8. I’d love to go up there in the winter, Andre, just on the off chance of seeing the aurora borealis if for nothing else.

    One of the spots we drove by on the way to the hotel in Juneau was the ceremonial starting point for the Iditarod race (for those who don’t know, the official “restarting” point is in Willow, Alaska, and before 2008 it was in Wasilla).

    You should write a book set aboard a cruise ship sometime. It’s a much more hospitable environment. I know I certainly enjoyed researching for The Globe—especially on that 54-day excursion that I used as the intended “route” for the fictional Globe on her fateful journey of death.

    • Oh, and you’re right about the African Queen comparison. The owner/pilot took offense to anyone who made that comparison to his beloved water craft.