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Riverboat Discovery tours
Taking a tour on the Riverboat Discovery is a Must-do for every Fairbanks visitor in summer. Actually, there are three of these boats with Riverboat Discovery I being the smallest and Riverboat Discovery III being the largest boat. There is a port-like dock with a Saloon for lunch or dinner and a store for ticket sale and souvenirs at the Chena River. The large two boats dock here for river tours which are really informative. You will learn about dog mushing and see the late Susan Butcher‘s dog yard. You will see Senator Murkowski‘s house where President Ronald Reagan spent a night. Part of the tour is also a visit of an Indian village, a fish wheel, a float plane starting and landing on the Chena, and a demonstration how to pin-bone a salmon with just 2 cuts by an ulu.
Salsa and tequila tasting cruise
One of the riverboat tours is different. All tables and chairs are brought on land. Only a long table is left for a Mexican buffet and two short tables for tequila and Margarita tasting. Once all passengers have boarded and eaten their food, the boat sails with loud salsa music down the Chena towards the Tanana River. Passengers dance to the music on all decks. Well not all passengers, some passenger take care of the tequila tickets of the dancing passengers.
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Of course, like any cruise, this annual dance cruise asks for dress-up. Since the best space is on the top deck which is open, the weather determined the outfits. When it is humid outside, there will be a lot of mosquitoes. Thus, you will see many women wearing jeans with glamour long sleeve tops. When it is warm and sunny, they opt for party dresses of all kinds. You can find tips what to wear on a river Saturday Nite dance cruise in the post at the link.
Looking at my outfit in the first photo of this post guess what the weather was like. When ever I am on vacation, it rains. LOL.
Mixing of the Chena and Tanana looks like pouring milk in coffee
Besides dancing my favorite part of the salsa cruise is when the boat reaches the Tanana River. The Tanana River is glacier-fed. Consequently, her water is milky from silt. On the contrary, the Chena is rain-fed meaning that the water is crystal clear. At the point where the Chena flows into the Tanana you can see the mixing of the waters as the water colors are different. One can see how they mix, the eddies of various size and the change in color due to the mixing process.
Another interesting thing is that the water table of the Tanana is higher than that of the Chena. This means some water of the Tanana flows upstream into the Chena while it actually flows down the gradient from the higher to the lower water table. You can imaging that watching this play of nature is my favorite part of the tour. It is just fascinating.
Are you planning a cruise vacation to Alaska or elsewhere? Then you may like to read about what to pack for a dance cruise.
Do you like river tours? Do you like wine or other drinks tasting events? Have you been on a cruise? What did you wear? Let me know, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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