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We pass plenty of sea birds, porpoises and sea lions.

The further into the fjord we go, the more frequent the icebergs become and soon we are crunching our way slowly through them, making our way towards the glacier.

A book on board our boat lists the wildlife in Tracy Arm - seals, sea lions, whales, porpoises, mountain goats, bears, bald eagles, arctic terns.

A couple of hours later, we've seen them all, in the wild; pods of whales, white goats on a hill and even a black bear on the shore.

On many day trips, I meet cruise ship passengers and their eyes always go wide with envy when they learn I am here for a few days.

A short ferry trip brings us to Haines, where there's rafting and bears to be watched - and we see the same scenery that the cruises do.

"Their main behaviour is feeding; they do it for 21 hours a day," says our guide Luke, adding that whales can take in 15,000 gallons of water with each gulp.

There's a loud whoosh, followed by a spout of vapour shooting high into the air.

Something black and glistening carves through the water, and up comes a huge tail, rising high above the surface.

The following morning, Juneau's waterfront is buzzing with groups meeting for whale watches, helicopter tours, hikes and glacier trips.

A row of booths sells more day trips - flightseeing, float planes, fishing, dog sledding, kayaking and even gold panning.