It’s 7AM, and I’m sailing on Auke bay, in Juneau Alaska. The water erupts with a spout of sea foam (and snot, our guide gleefully tells us) from a 60-foot humpback whale. Apparently, it’s a Momma whale because soon after that, a smaller fin juts out of the sea and waves at us as if to say, “What’s up, Vox Audio-you amazing Grammy-nominated acapella group that managed score a gig as Alaska entertainment on a Cruise! Have a great show!” This is the kind of stuff you live for as a traveling entertainment guy. Our shows have taken us from the tallest buildings in Dubai, to the fanciest casinos in Macau and even to, um…Oklahoma. Now wherever we do a show we get a feel for the place whether it’s the mom and pop place with the best fried chicken ever, or Gordon Ramsay’s beef wellington. (Yeah, we eat a lot on these trips too.) So here is everything I think you need to know about ALASKA!
What the heck do I WEAR?!
Now, when you think Alaska, you think “Ice Ice, Baby,” but if you’re traveling during the summer months it’s time to think: “It’s getting hot in here, (so hot) so take off all your clothes.” Layers are key. Our first day in Juneau got up to 80 degrees! I’ll save my Global Warming theories for Leo DiCaprio, but suffice it to say, you can’t go wrong with jeans, Thursday boots, and a camel-colored leather jacket that inspires a nickname like “Skagway J.” Pack some rain gear because guess what? Alaska is a natural rainforest! Also bring a real freakin’ camera. Cell phones are decent, but they aren’t gonna capture that whale tale with any decent clarity.
Here is cell phone footage of a humpback whale:
What the heck do I DRINK?!
Beer is awesome in Alaska. Alaskan Amber Ale and Summer Ale can be found on tap basically anywhere. The Skagway brewery is a little clean cut compared to the historic gold rush brothels like the Red Dog or Red Onion, but they brew a beer with pine needles that is crisp and clean as the mountain air. If like me, caffeine is your drug of choice, I highly recommend “Raven’s Brew” coffee. It’s basically Alaska’s answer to Starbucks and the Dead Man’s brew with the skeleton on the label is strong enough to wake the dead, which you’ll need because most of your adventures will start early in Alaska.
What the heck do I EAT?!
Salmon. Get it grilled on a wooden plank at Twisted Fish in Juneau. There’s a tent set up called Woady’s, in Skagway just off the beaten path. There you can get the biggest king crab leg you’ve ever seen for 16 bucks. If you are lucky enough to hit Icy Point, gather up your courage to zip line down the mountain (one of the highest zips in the world) by getting a crab bloody mary from the lady on the dock. Yeah, there’s a huge king crab leg in there.
What the heck do I DO?!
But the best thing to do is hike a glacier, get lowered into a crevasse, and drink glacier water. Because then you’ll be able to say, “I once hiked a glacier, pick-axed my way out of a crevasse, and drank glacier water. Nothing is cooler than that.
First off, congrats on the gig. Secondly, why would you even ask that?! It’s Alaska! It’s breath-taking and beautiful! Stop reading this right now and go hike a glacier! Be like Jack London or Gary Paulson! Breathe the most amazing air you’ve ever inhaled! Look at nature and know that God exists!
But also drink lots of water and use a nice moisturizer with SPF for the face, because you’re an entertainer for God’s sake and you gotta protect the money-maker. Put a nice lip balm in your jacket. (I go with Keil’s mint.) Also sleep is crucial in our business and the sun likes to stay out almost freaking always in Alaska, so close those curtains before you go to sleep.