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We’ve done a fair number of excursions and organized tours as we’ve traveled, and here’s a few things to keep in mind when booking any tour, excursion or ‘adventure’ so as to control your expectations:
* It’s extremely hard to take a group of people anywhere to do anything that’s overly exciting or adventuresome, as people can be so difficult. The larger the group, the simpler the tour will be.
* The lower the price the less impressive the tour. Make sure that your expectations fall under the price tag.
* If there are several legs to the tour, then be prepared to spend time on the bus built in 1957

Here’s an example of what I mean by keeping your expectations low or at least realistic:

My best friend, Margaret and I were planning an Alaskan cruise together trying to take the opinions and wishes of all four of us into consideration as we set out to pick our excursions. It was my friend’s turn to choose what we were going to be doing in Juneau and she was very excited. She picked a whale watching excursion that involved seeing whales as well as a trip to Mendenhall Glacier.

At dinner the night after the Whale Experience, I asked Margaret what her favorite part of the day had been and she replied, “The Glacier. Definitely.”

I was surprised at her answer as it had been the whales that she had been so excited about.

Here’s what happened:
We took an enjoyable and informative bus ride with Richard the Comedian at the helm to where we met Captain Larry in his Can’t-Miss-It-Purple boat called the ‘Orca Odyssey’.

The tour description claimed that we would see:
* Sea lions, bald eagles and glaciers…..Which we did
* Mendenhall Glacier with a hike out to the glacier and waterfall to see them up close….Which we did
* Whales……Which we did!
We learned all about Humpback Whales and were told that we would probably only see one as they were solitary creatures. They winter in Hawaii where they have their calves and then migrate back to Alaska in spring where there is food. Not only did we see the expected solitary humpback, but we also saw a 2nd female with a baby! This, we were told, is rare in nature so it was a real treat to get to watch the 3 of them!

We also learned that whales have a progression that goes like this:
-First they BLOW and we see the spout
-Second they SURFACE exposing their backs
-Third they show off with the great TAIL SHOT
-Lastly they DIVE for about 20 minuets
And then the whole progression starts again……………………………

But Margaret was not impressed. Here’s why:

She imagined:
* Multiple Whales……. Which didn’t happen as Humpbacks are generally solitary
* Getting to see them up close swimming alongside the boat…….which doesn’t happen as Alaskan State Law requires all boats to stay at least 1000’ from any whale
* Seeing them fairly constantly…which didn’t happen due to the 20 minuet order-of-events that they have
* Seeing more of them as they jumped out of the water all around us……which…well… is really more of a dolphin thing

What is the moral of the story?

If your expectations are high (or unrealistic) you will mostly likely be disappointed, but keep your expectations low and you will probably be pleasantly surprised!

Sometime that advice can work for the rest of your life!

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  1. It’s true we didn’t see whales like I had dreamed but the 50 or more bald eagles just hanging out in a field on our way to the purple boat pegged my excitement level because we weren’t told about them before hand really so they were a happy surprise!

    • Ah! I don’t remember you talking about… that I will have to do a Blog on Happy surprises!!!

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