Alaska Magazine 2011 Cruise Contest Announced

Winner shocked, wowed by late-day phone call

The clocked ticked away into late afternoon on Feb. 1, the day the Alaska magazine Cruise Ship Contest winner was to be announced, when a downcast John Stuart turned to his wife, Pat, and said he guessed he wasn't the winner.

He wasn't, but she was. When the phone rang and it was an Alaska extension, they rushed to the phone and learned from Alaska magazine's Katie Johnston that soon they would be aboard InnerSea Discoveries cruise line and returning to the state for the second time—a second trip of a lifetime.

Native-Colorado born Pat was ecstatic. "My first thought was nonbelief because I had forgotten I entered," she said." My husband entered a lot, I was kinda in shock."

They learned of the contest through a notice in the magazine, which they subscribe to because they dreamed of returning to the Great Land. "We knew of it through emails, as well. My husband gets your emails regularly, too. He had (the entry button) on his desktop on his computer. The icon reminded him to enter every day."

Their first trip to Alaska, in 1997, was through a popular cruise line. They found a perfect trip for them: one week on shore and one cruising the inside passage.

"It was wonderful, very nice," said Pat. "It was above and beyond what we imagined. It was everything we hoped for. Lots of fun."

John was not disappointed he didn't win, even though he entered daily. As Pat hung up the phone, an excited John said, "At least I reminded you a few times to enter, I'm good for something I guess," she laughed.

They both love Alaska for its natural beauty, the wildlife, the people and culture and its uniqueness. "It's so out of the ordinary from what we know of here in the Lower 48," she said. "There's a hugeness, openness to it. It's majestic.

"What amazes me is to win after all the people who have entered," she said. (Total entries were 203,666). "It blows my mind I was lucky enough to get picked. Like my husband says, you can't win until you enter."

They hope to see whales, eagles, bears, puffins, sea lions and other natural inhabitants of the animal and marine world. "I'd like to just enjoy the experience of it," she said. "Just put the camera away and not worry about trying to get a picture because it just doesn't work.

"I'm excited and thank you for choosing me," she said. "I'm just thrilled. Really excited to get back up there and see more of the country."

Alaska magazine will next sponsor its annual fishing contest for two to Southeast Alaska. The contest runs March 15 through April 30. Visit www.alaskamagazine.com and enter daily for a chance to win. One fabulous stop will be Sportsman Cove Lodge on Prince of Wales Island.

If you dream of Alaska, let us be your first choice for all the beauty and simple splendor of Life on the Last Frontier. Subscribe today and let your mind go free 10 times a year.

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