Articles tagged with: Alaska

Hay House Cruise to Alaska


Trip Report: Alaska Cruise with Hay House

by Curt and Mary Remington

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Alaska Cruise and Port Details

We boarded the ship to Alaska with anticipation, knowing this cruise could be a key turning point in our lives. Hay House (see ad to the right), a major book publisher, reserved the entire 1,380 passenger ship, the MS Amsterdam. Part of this group, myself included, signed up for a writer’s workshop with a contest for a book deal. As you may know from my blogs, I’ve been writing a book on meditation. You may also  know that my wife and I are in regular communication with the spiritual realm. The book idea, Hay House as a publisher, and signing up for this cruise were all ideas strongly encouraged by advanced spirits. They didn’t exactly promise I’d get the book deal out of this cruise, but they did strongly allude to the possibility. That’s close enough to get me excited.CurtFamily

Mary, my wife and a talented clairvoyant, eagerly signed up for another on-board program, featuring eight keynote speakers: Wayne Dyer, Brian Weiss, Sonia Choquette, Gregg Braden, Caroline Myss, Iyanla Vanzant, John Holland and Cheryl Richardson. Mary wrote the last section of this blog, describing her experience.

Heather, one of our teenage daughters, had some mixed feelings about the cruise. She looked forward to fun activities, great food and a chance to shop, while maybe feeling apprehensive about a cruiseship full of psychics and spiritually enlightened people. We all found the fellow passengers to be very warm, friendly, open-minded and quite normal.

ziplineAs an added bonus for all three of us, these seminars were taking place on a Holland America ship that would be cruising past the rugged islands and coasts of British Columbia and Alaska, visiting places like Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria, British Columbia. While boating in Washington’s San Juan Islands, close to home, I’ve often dreamt of continuing north to these places. In fact, I have an earlier manuscript about The Passage. That link will take you to a chapter that was published in a canoe magazine, while Goat Hunt will take you to a chapter about a man facing aging and his mortality.

For the first day, the ship, Holland America’s Amsterdam, made mountainpasssmooth, steady progress through the open Pacific and waves which would’ve tossed my 23′ boat around violently. Along with Hay House programs, the ship offered a whole variety of activities like working out, shopping, gambling and of course eating.

The second morning, the Amsterdam cruised up sunny Gastineau Channel, with views of fishing boats and snow-capped peaks, arriving in Juneau at 11 am. Although it’s the capital of Alaska, Juneau can only be reached by air or sea, unless you have a dog sled and are very adventurous. The downtown cruise dock area is lined with tourist shops and surprising bargains, like an Alaska t-shirt for $4.99 or a small bag of quartz for $2.99. For someone with more expensive tastes, there’s also perfume, watches, electronics, furs and artwork. There are even free items stores give away, just to get you in the door.

We left the shopping behind, as a jet boat brought us across to Douglas Island and a ”rain-forest canopy and zip line adventure.” The thrill comes as you launch yourself off a tree-platform, hanging from a climbing harness and pulleys, then slide “zip” on cables as much as 180 feet above the ground. Approaching the next platform at over 30 mph, you reach up and grab the cable, stopping your zip just before crashing into the tree. The course has ten cable sections, covering 6,000 feet of cable, along with treetop suspension bridges, finishing with a rappel to the ground.

cruiseOnce back in Juneau, we boarded the Mt Roberts Tramway. It departs from the dock area, carrying passengers 1800 feet above downtown, to a visitor’s center. Mt Roberts has a network of hiking trails, with spectacular views of Juneau, Gastineau Channel and the surrounding mountains.

After a few miles of hiking, Heather returned to the ship, tired from the day’s adventures. Mary and I had just enough energy left to drink a cold Alaskan beer at Hangar on the Wharf Pub and Grill, a renovated seaplane hangar. Beyond Mary and the beer, you can see the Amsterdam towering over the red jet boat from our zipline tour. As we made our way back to the ship, three floatplanes descended to the channel and pulled up to the dock in front of the bar.

Day four, the ship made slow progress through fog and small icebergs in Yakutat Bay. Early afternoon, the fog lifted, revealing the jagged peaks of Fairweather Mountains along with Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. It extends 76 miles from its source, with a ”calving face” stretching for six miles across the bay. The glacier appears very blue, since the ice absorbs other wavelengths of light. At the steepest part of the face, large chunks of ice rumbled, then cracked off, sending up immense plumes of spray.

Sitka is a beautiful town and an important part of Alaskan history. The port was originally settled by Tlingit planenatives. Through negotiations and fighting, control passed between the Tlingits and Russians a few times, with Sitka becoming the Russian capital of Alaska in 1808. The US bought Alaska in 1867 and kept Sitka the capital until 1906.

After taking a tender (lifeboat) to shore, we picked up our reserved mountain bikes. This turned out to be a great way to see a lot, with limited time. We managed a trail to an alpine lake, an eagle center, historic park, Bishop’s mansion tour, lunch and still fit in some downtown shopping. Who needs to rest while on vacation?

Ketchikan is the rainiest city in the US, with 152 inches of “liquid sunshine” a year. Sure enough, it rained. The local weather forecast joke goes, “If you can’t see Deer Mountain, it’s raining. If you can see it, it’s about to rain.” Our original plan to hike up Deer Mountain didn’t make much sense, because if you can’t see Deer Mountain, you probably can’t see much from the mountain either. We settled on a walk around town and exploring the marina. Creek St, an old red-light district, has very quaint shops with some true bargains, like fleece jackets for $20.

boattwoDowntown Victoria, British Columbia is spectacularly scenic and has a long list of things for tourists to do. This city is close enough to home that we’ve visited regularly. The harbor has float planes, yachts and tourist tugs, along with views of the Empress Hotel, Parliament Building and the distant Olympic Mountains. Having seen most other sights, we walked the harbor and visited the Royal Canadian Wax Museum, which you can see just above the old yacht’s stern.

Writer’s Workshop

Between all the adventures and sightseeing, I did manage to attend the on-board writer’s workshop, learning powerful techniques for writing and for improving and marketing my book project, Simple Meditation: Connecting With Spirit and Finding Your Life’s Purpose. As I mentioned earlier, my book proposal will be entered in a contest (winner picked in December) for a deal with Hay House, the publisher highly recommended by my spiritual contacts. Along with the quality of the book, publishers also look at the number of contacts writers have, so please sign up for my new Facebook fan page. You might help ensure the success of my book, get more people meditating, and improve the quality of life on the planet Earth. Thanks!

As you may have noticed, I was so enthused about Hay House that I signed up as an advertiser. Clicking onfloatingbuildings any of the Hay House banners will take you to the appropriate page of their website where you can find enlightening books, cd’s and cards. Buying and reading some might dramatically improve your life.

The night before the cruise, we went to see Wayne Dyer speak in Seattle. My daughter, Heather, was so moved by his talk that she asked if she could listen to all the speakers on the cruise. We signed her up, so she and Mary attended them together. Heather enjoyed and learned a great deal from all eight speakers. Unfortunately, I missed these, so Mary wrote the rest of this blog, describing the talks she attended.

Mary’s Write-Up of Hay House Program

When I look back on this life changing and inspirational experience, it will be remembered with great reverence and gratitude. I am grateful to our spirit guide “Chief” who, without a doubt, was the guiding light that inspired my husband and I to go. I would also like to extend my greatest appreciation to all of the Hay House authors who have inspired me and touched my soul forever. They have devoted their lives to such worthy and healing causes, which is surely having a ripple affect throughout our planet. Although I couldn’t possibly sum up all of the invaluable information I absorbed during the seminars, I would like to share some of my thoughts and say “thank you” to each author.

Wayne Dyer

How can I begin? I would consider him one of the greatest inspirational teachers of this generation. My husband, Curt, has been a big advocate of his for many years, since he read “Your Erroneous Zones.” He has promoted this book to the whole family, from time to time, for various reasons. If you had a problem, it was always “go read Your Erroneous Zones”. He read it as a teen ,at a time when he was searching for answers, and it changed his life. I have

great admiration for Wayne Dyer. From all of the turmoil in his childhood, he found a way to transform his life into something with great meaning and purpose. He had a vision and he followed it and continues to follow it. He truly motivates and inspires everyone he touches.

Caroline Myss

What a smart, tough, no excuses approach to heal your life. She tells it like it is and teaches us to take a hard look at ourselves, stop blaming others and stop trying to find a reason for what’s gone wrong in our lives. She emphasized forgiveness, gratitude and being of service. This was my first con tact with Caroline Myss and will definitely not be my last. I feel that my life’s purpose is in healing and I’m like a sponge for any information about it. Thank you Caroline for your inspiring words.

Brian Weiss

He’s definitely good at what he does. He had the entire audience in a state of hypnosis in a flash with his caaaalm, soooothing voice and description of beautiful, peaceful places. Who wouldn’t want to go there? I’m a strong believer in re-incarnation and know that healing can come from discovering events or trauma in our past lives, that keep us stuck or unhappy in our present lives. Brian Weiss is well respected, and his revolutionary techniques are revered world wide. He’s certainly an advocate of meditation, which I think is a healing and powerful practice that we should all adopt.

Sonia Choquette

Sonia is a gifted psychic with a colorful, creative and energetic personality, and she knows how to have fun! Sonia teaches us how to wake up our spirit and our sixth or psychic sense. We need to listen to our higher self, which has important information that we cannot get from our conscious mind. She also stresses the importance of connecting with the creator, our spirit guides and angels who help guide us on our path. To help us let go of our inhibitions and wake up our spirit, a little dancing didn’t hurt either. Very fun!

Gregg Braden

Gregg’s talk was a mix of science, history and spirituality that was fascinating. It was interesting to learn that we’ve had cycles throughout history and these cycles or patterns repeat themselves. Most importantly, the choices we make as a species, can have a big impact on these cycles. The Mayan predictions about the end of time in 2012 have many people questioning, is it true and, if so, what can we do to change it. Getting in touch with our inner spirit, letting go of fear, helping others and healing the planet are some of the things we can do now. Gregg’s vision of our future left me very encouraged and hopeful

Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla is a vibrant, free spirited, crazy kind of woman and I loved her! Starting with some Hallelujah’s, some movin’ and swayin‘, connecting with ourselves as spirit and having great gratitude for life was a wonderful way to start the day. What a beautiful soul she is. She is a minister of God and seems very devoted to helping us get beyond our past and find our purpose. Again, this was my first experience with Iyanla, and I left feeling truly empowered.

John Holland

John is a gifted psychic medium who connects with the audience in a unique and compassionate way. He is very dedicated to what he does and delivers such healing messages from the spirit world to those that are grieving. It is so wonderful to see the audience reaction, knowing that their loved ones are still around and want to communicate with them. Tears of happiness pour from them and they’re surrounded with comfort and peace. It brought me to tears to watch. I’m finishing my clairvoyant training this fall, and I know how good it feels to be able to help people in this way. The healing goes both ways and it’s very rewarding.

Cheryl Richardson

I really connected with what Cheryl Richardson had to say, because I too, am the general manager of my universe. I am constantly busying myself and doing doing doing for everyone else, leaving what I want for last. Often, this time in the day never comes. Cheryl teaches us to make our own selves a top priority, which is something I don’t often do. My own family recognizes that in me, more than I do. This was a big wake up call for me. I need to get to know me! Wow! What a concept! I’m reading Cheryl’s book “Stand Up For Your Life” and I’ve scheduled a solo vision quest for myself in early August so I can get started getting to know me and my purpose in life. Thanks Cheryl!


In conclusion, I would also like to say a great big thanks to Louise Hay and all of the staff and help that made the Alaska cruise possible. I’ve had a very tough past year with one of my daughters, and this was just what the doctor ordered to nourish my soul. I feel that I can get back on track and move forward again. Thanks to all of you! Mary Remington

An Excerpt From The Passage

The Passage

by Curt Remington

A chartered yacht, en route from Alaska to Seattle, struck a rock and sank, leaving seven people stranded in a remote part of British Columbia. Jenny, one of the passengers, and Trent, the yacht’s captain, set out for help in a hand-carved cedar canoe. A catastrophe that they’re not aware of has left almost no boat traffic in the Inside Passage.

Whitecaps with Canadian Peaks in the Background

Whitecaps with Canadian Peaks in the Background

Jenny dropped another log on the fire, sat back down on the picnic table’s seat and watched flames engulf the new piece of wood, dancing and flickering as it too caught fire. This camp, at Safety Cove, sat only nine miles south of their previous night’s camp, but it was the last resting-place for miles. Trent had explained that it’s a well-known shelter for mariners waiting to cross Queen Charlotte Sound or recovering from having crossed it. Once past Queen Charlotte Sound, they’d be in the more protected waters between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia coast.

Upon arrival at Safety Cove they had found an empty twenty-foot Boston Whaler, sitting cockeyed on the sand and mud flats, just out of reach of the high tide. Public mooring buoys in the middle of the cove sat empty, as did a shed on a bluff overlooking the cove.

Their campsite, on the south side of the bay, was one Trent had stopped at on a number of earlier trips. It was much brighter than their previous night’s site, since many of the trees had been thinned out. A wooden picnic table and concrete firepit made the site relatively comfortable.

In spite of the pleasant surroundings, Jenny couldn’t stop worrying about the lack of people and boats. What’s going on out there?

Walking back into camp with an armload of firewood, Trent barely noticed her as he dropped the wood and sat next to her on the picnic table bench. He stirred the fire with a piece of wood then dropped it in.

“What’s up?” Jenny asked. His concerned expression wasn’t helping her worries any.

He looked up slowly. “Just stirring the fire.”

“I mean what are you so deep in thought about? You’re worried too, aren’t you?”

“Probably just tired.” Trent feigned a yawn, but his face looked strained.

Jenny laid her head against his chest, closed her eyes and let the bright colors from the fire flicker before her eyes. They both stared into the fire for some time then talked quietly until dusk.

In the middle of the night, Jenny was awakened by Trent crawling out of their double sleeping bag. “What’s up?” Jenny asked, watching as Trent unzipped the tent and crawled halfway out the door, in his underwear.

“Checking the weather.”

“I can hear it’s raining. Why are you doing this in the middle of the night?”

“Actually it’s three am, and I’m more interested in what the wind is doing.”

“How’s it look?” she asked.

“There’s less movement in the trees tonight. I’d rather wait for calmer weather, but we can’t afford much more time. What do you want to do?”

“I’m game whenever you are.”

“Let’s do it then.” Trent crawled over to his bag and started pulling clothes out.

“Do we really have to get up this early?”

“The wind’ll get worse by afternoon. We need all the morning we can get. If you’ve got a solid stomach, eat a good breakfast too. There may not be much time to eat later.”

After a hurried breakfast, they loaded their cedar canoe and walked slowly through the dark camp again, looking carefully for anything they might have missed.

The water on the bay was smooth as glass, as they paddled out toward the mouth. Once out into the passage, there was only a minor chop, less than a foot high. They closely followed the steep, rocky shoreline of Calvert Island, which made navigating in the dark much easier.

Trent had told her it was roughly seven miles to Cape Calvert and the start of the big waters. By the time they reached it, the first light of dawn was starting to glow in the east. As they got closer to the end of Calvert Island, standing three hundred feet high, the size of the waves gradually increased. Soon Jenny spotted the undiminished waves that rolled past the island’s point. Oh my God! He did have reason to be worried. The waves were long, so they weren’t that steep, but they looked roughly eight feet high from trough to top, and they undoubtedly would get bigger as the wind picked up. Most of Jenny’s boating had been on Lake Washington or the Puget Sound. It wasn’t like this.

“Trent, do you have any Dramamine?” she asked, only half kidding. She hadn’t been seasick since she was a kid but had heard anyone can get it if conditions are bad enough.


Entering the big waves, Trent kept the bow aimed nearly straight into them. At the peak of the first wave, the bow was lifted out of the water, until the wave swept farther back and it dropped down, with a splash. Paddling through the next few waves, Trent gradually turned the canoe more to the south, sliding crosswise down the backside of a wave, then paddling hard to climb the next. As they reached the crest, they would turn the canoe into the wave, avoiding getting knocked over sideways by the crest. Along with the waves, a stiff breeze blew out of the west, carrying the damp smell of the sea.

After the first fifteen minutes, Jenny wondered how she could tolerate a whole day of the roller coaster motion, climbing up and riding down these waves. She glanced back and saw Trent paddling with a determined look on his face, showing no sign of apprehension. He smiled at her, in a forced manner. Jenny turned back around and paddled an efficient steady pace, remembering she had to keep it up for many hours.

Half an hour later, Jenny began to feel dizzy. She breathed deeply and tried to ignore it. A few minutes after that, she started sweating profusely. She pulled off her wool sweater but felt little relief. Soon the back of her throat began to tingle. Although she wanted to think otherwise, the signs were clear. Seasickness was setting in. She turned around again and saw the same determined look on Trent’s face.

Fresh air was supposed to help, but air doesn’t get much fresher than what she was already breathing. Looking out at the distant horizon was also supposed to help, but she couldn’t see it most of the time. What she could see were walls of water in constant motion, listing and rolling, rolling and rising, sinking and splashing, crashing and churning. She closed her eyes, but then her head reeled with dizziness. Fifteen minutes later, the inevitable nausea started to settle in.

Jenny turned around to face Trent. “I’m not feeling well.”

“You do look pale. Honey, I’m sorry. I just don’t have anything that would help. You want to head back?”

“I know we can’t. We’ve got to do this sometime. I’ll just have to tough it out.”

Jenny continued paddling, but quit thinking about the canoe, the ocean and the waves. She tried to imagine herself walking peacefully up the inlet trail with Trent, toward the mountains. It calmed her for a moment, then the trail started heaving and rocking. As nonchalantly as possible, Jenny leaned over the side and vomited, painfully aware of the stomach acid passing through her nostrils. She leaned over and vomited again, then she leaned over once more and blew hard through her nose, pushing out the remnants there.

“Jenny, take a break,” Trent yelled. “I can handle it myself awhile.”

She nodded, not wanting to face him, then set her paddle down and slumped down into the bottom of the canoe. Jenny sat there for fifteen minutes, then realized resting wasn’t making her feel any better, and sitting on the bottom of the canoe was probably making her feel worse. She also realized Trent wasn’t likely to make it across the Sound by himself, so she climbed back into her seat, picked up her paddle and resumed the tedious stroke, stroke, stroke.

The hours dragged on, and Jenny pushed herself to keep paddling, knowing that even with two of them, it would be hard to make it across to Vancouver Island. As Trent had predicted, the wind picked up as the day wore on. Much of their energy was expended, just bucking the wind and waves. Whitecaps had also formed, adding spray to the rain and stinging their eyes. Along with paddling, Trent would pause to bail with his pot, after each half dozen waves.

By late afternoon, Jenny’s arms ached more than she had known possible, and she began to wonder if her attempts at paddling were really doing much good. Waves of nausea still flooded over her, and now her arms felt like lead weights. Open sores on her hands stung each time salty spray reached them, and the rain kept coming down.

As the daylight started to dim, it became apparent they’d never make it to Vancouver Island. The wind and waves had pushed them off course to the east, so the steep, rocky mainland shore was close enough to hear the breakers pounding into the rocks. When Jenny looked over at the force of those waves, smashing and sending up plumes of spray, it scared her enough to paddle harder than she thought possible.

“Jenny,” Trent shouted. “There’s an inlet along here somewhere, in about a mile, if I remember right. It’s going to be tough to get into, but it’s our best chance.”

He means our only chance. She turned and nodded, feeling too weak to shout.

Half an hour later, the inlet came into sight, and it was a frightening sight. As the waves rolled into the shallower water of the inlet, they slowed down and piled up into tall, steep breakers that curled over, then smashed down hard. She realized that was a better alternative than approaching the steep, rock shoreline to the left of the inlet, where being smashed against the rocks would be inevitable. On the right side of the inlet was a large island that rose more gently from the water but still had a rocky, boulder-strewn shore that the waves pounded against.

Soon, they were even with the inlet, facing the rollers which the canoe climbed up and over.

“Jenny, why don’t you rest a few minutes. I’ll watch for a let-up in the waves, then turn the canoe around and we’ll paddle hard for the inlet.”

Jenny knew the waves never really let-up, but some series of waves were smaller than others. That was the best they could hope for. Turning around, she saw Trent was alternately paddling, to keep them in place, and bailing with the pot he kept under his seat. Trent set the pot down and started swinging the canoe around with powerful sweep strokes. Jenny dug her paddle in, using draw strokes to help turn more quickly.

“Let’s go,” he yelled, and they paddled forcefully forward.

Jenny could see another large wave right behind them, which carried them considerably before sliding underneath them. It was followed by another big wave. Jenny paddled hard, riding the front of the wave. She hadn’t realized a canoe could go so fast. A hundred feet ahead, she could see waves curling over and breaking.

“Let this one go,” Trent shouted.

Jenny held her paddle up and felt the stern of the canoe rise steeply behind her, until she had to grab the gunwales to keep from sliding out of her seat. She glanced back and watched the crest reach the middle of the canoe, washing great quantities of water over the side. Trent swore, threw down his paddle, and bailed frantically for only seconds.

“This is it. Let’s go,” he shouted, picking his paddle back up and driving the canoe forward. Jenny paddled as hard as she could, temporarily forgetting all her pain. They gained momentum, but the first smaller wave passed under them. She could feel the canoe surge forward as Trent stroked.

With the canoe tipped down, Jenny’s feet were covered with six inches of water. Another of the smaller waves passed under them, lifting the stern high and washing more water into the canoe. The small waves seemed to come in a series of three, so the next one was their last chance to ride it past the breaking point.

Again, she paddled as hard as she could, gaining more momentum as they rode the front of the wave. The wave was so steep and slow now, that it had no intention of sliding under them. They rode the front of the wave like a surfer, with Trent ruddering to keep them straight.

Glancing back, she saw a wall of water towering over them. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and braced for the impact. As the water hit, she was knocked out of her seat and onto the floor, covered and driven down by a mass of frothy water. One hand stayed tightly clenched around the paddle, while the other searched through the churning water for the seat. She knew she had to stay with the canoe. Seconds later her head came to the surface, and she wiped the saltwater out of her eyes. The canoe bobbed up, thanks to the buoyancy in the cedar and the gear lashed to the crossbars.

“Keep paddling,” Trent yelled, to be heard over the roaring breakers.

“Are you okay?” would’ve been nice. Jenny climbed back into her underwater seat, sitting waist deep in the water, and stroked, momentarily wondering why they were paddling a sunken canoe. Then, she glanced back and saw a larger wall of water building up behind them. Wedging her legs against the sides of the canoe, she pulled her paddle through the water again and again. The immense wave broke behind them, carrying them forward in a torrent of foam. She kept paddling, knowing that wave would be followed by another and another.

“Nice job,” Trent yelled. “We made it through the breakers in one piece.”

Their situation wasn’t great, but Jenny realized they could’ve been caught in the midst of the breakers and pounded to pieces. Now, on top of being sick and exhausted, she was also cold and wet. Although she felt miserable, she was thankful to be alive.

When they reached the rocky shore, Jenny sat on a boulder with her head down, listening to Trent moving slowly and steadily back and forth with loads of gear. By the time he had the gear hauled inland, Jenny realized her seasickness had diminished some.

“I suppose it’s too wet and windy for a fire?” Jenny asked, feeling deeply chilled from the cold water.

“Unfortunately, I think you’re right.”

They soon had the tent set up and the sleeping bags thrown inside. Trent also grabbed the smoked venison and a canteen, then followed Jenny into the tent. Jenny quickly stripped all her wet clothes off and climbed into the sleeping bags, moving against Trent and shivering. He didn’t feel much warmer than she did, and the sleeping bags felt damp.

She stared at the damp ceiling of the tent, knowing that in the next few days, they would have to face the waves again. Maybe the seas would diminish. The shelter of Hope Island was within a half-day’s paddle. The town of Port Hardy, and help, wasn’t far beyond that, but first they had to make it through the breakers. Jenny rolled over and tucked the sleeping bag around her shoulders. Exhaustion soon outweighed her anxieties, and she fell fast asleep.