NOT the Indian Ocean

Tracy Arms, Sawyer Glaciers

My husband Doug and I departed Montevideo, Uruguay on 29 May 2015 to make a travel dream come true. Although we lived in the Pacific Northwest for years and had visited Alaska many times, we had never cruised the Inside Passage of Alaska. So now that we live a few thousand miles away, near the tip of South America, we decided to make it happen.

Our roundtrip cruise ship left Seattle, Washington at 3:54 PM on Sunday, May 31st 2015 to begin a 7-Day Inside Passage cruise to Alaska. It was all it was promised to be. A luxurious stateroom with a large picture window view of the sea, remarkable service, numerous gourmet dining opportunities, a spacious mid-size ship, and many ‘good life’ days. I even lost 2 kilos by walking daily rounds of the ship’s deck during the journey.

On 02 June we entered Tracy Arm, a fjord near Juneau Alaska. At Stephens Passage, we took a sharp right turn into the Boundary Ranges wilderness area. After a narrow, twisting fjord, with waterfalls at every turn, we saw close-up views of the majestic Sawyer Glaciers and calving icebergs in the jade-colored inland sea. A chorus of “Ooh, Ah, and WOW!” from others on deck filled the air. The breathtaking awesome scenery–reminded me of wooly mammoths and the Ice Age. What a treat to know Alaska protects its unique ecosystem of animals and plants living in the glaciated valley.

We docked in Juneau, the capital of Alaska at 6:42 AM on 03 June. Our ship tethered itself to the dock and lowered a bridge so passengers could walk directly off and into the port of call. I had flown into Juneau many time to teach computer classes. No roads lead to Juneau so it can only be reached by plane or boat. Squeezed between the Gastineau Channel and Coast Mountains, it’s a charming town with its bounty of forests, mountains, and the massive Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau Ice fields at its back door. The Tongass National Forest stretches away to the northeast. Daylight is bountiful as are wilderness adventures around the area.

Selfie with Totem

We arrived in Sitka at 7:21 AM, 04 June and the ship anchored off shore. Passengers were “tendered” to shore on small tender boats–a five minute ride to the dock. Facing the Pacific Ocean, on Baranof Island, Sitka was once the capital of Russian America. Nestled at the foot of magnificent glacial carved mountains, Sitka is located on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Its colorful past is a blend of native Tlingit culture and Russian history. In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7,200,000.

On 05 June we docked in ‘Misty’ Ketchikan, the rainiest town in southeast Alaska. True to its name, it rained all day. Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan clutches the shores of the Tongass Narrows. Stairways are weathered and many shops and houses are built out over the water. Like good tourists, we visited Creek Street, walked up and down wooden stairs and walkways, saw colorful and unique totems, and purchased fudge galore and a handmade native Indian dream catcher.

It was calm seas most of our journey. Only one night of turbulence as we returned and entered the open Pacific Ocean heading to Victoria, British Columbia. The ship’s dining room was almost empty that evening because diners couldn’t weave their way along corridors because of rolling, high seas. By the time we finished sipping our last glass of wine, the waves had subsided and the sea grew calmer. The ocean rocked us to sleep that night

We docked in Victoria on 06 June at 6:15 PM and walked through beautiful downtown neighborhoods, exploring the capital city of British Columbia. Exhilarating scenery surprised me around every corner with cool shops, double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal flower gardens, historical buildings, the ocean, mountain views, and bike trails all along the sidewalks. Wonderful city!

We returned to the ship at midnight and departed for an overnight to Seattle, Washington. Doug and I are still ambivalent about this cruising-for-the-sake-of-cruising thing. As Doug said the last night, “it’s hard to imagine we only got on this boat a month ago.” I comforted him by saying, “Be glad this is not the Indian Ocean in monsoon season.”

Back to writing “Sandalwood Sanity and Diego Garcia” –my journey of discovery while crossing the wild Indian Ocean in monsoon season in 1975.

Miami is Fun!


The Miami International Book Fair 2014 was great fun! Even in the rain. Not only did I receive a gold medal, BEST Non-Fiction — Travel, for The Lullaby Illusion; I also met other authors and readers, and made several new friends at the Readers Favorite 2014 Awards ceremony in Miami on 22 Nov 2014.

Susan Joyce receives a Gold medal for The Lullaby Illusion.
Susan Joyce receives a Gold medal for The Lullaby Illusion.

My husband, Doug DuBosque, traveled with me. We normally explore new cities aboard a sightseeing tour bus but with no time to spare we instead examined the cosmopolitan city loop by Tri-Rail and rode the Metro to and from our hotel. Riding high above the city streets, we saw iconic buildings and monuments. Quite impressive!

We enjoyed two delightful days visiting with Doug’s sister and her daughter (Joanne and Amanda). From their hotel room, we had an awesome view of the river and bay. Through fits of laughter, we ordered an Uber to take us to South Beach for lunch. This cool new concept of a ride sharing service in a private car was nice to experience.

As we strolled alongside the palm trees and beach, we saw the whackiest and best characters that South Beach has to offer and a variety of colored buildings; reflecting the rich history of American, European, and Caribbean influences.

Awaiting our bus back to the hotel, we took a selfie of the four of us in the pouring rain to remind that Miami is fun; rain or shine.


Citizen of the World by Susan Joyce


In 1968, at age 23, I left Los Angeles with my husband. Although I had attended college part-time for a few semesters while working full-time, I had many more semesters to go. And I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I decided to quit my job, take a year off, see the world, and then decide on a career. Felt sort of like dancing to the theme song from The Wizard of Oz. “Off to see the wizard,” I sang as I prepared for my adventure. Off to see the unknown. Why? Because, because. Why not? Best decision I ever made.

We sold our possessions, purchased tickets and several sheaths of American Express Travelers Cheques, packed clothes, books, and cameras. I stashed my passport and travel journal in my purse, and said tearful goodbyes to family and friends. Continue reading “Citizen of the World by Susan Joyce”