Cruise through Alaska, June 2001

For Ketchikan, Alaska, we had excursions planned again. Alicia was headed to a canoe ride with Gladys. Jim was to fish for big game (or whatever fish is called). And I was to ride yet another mountain bike. We should have known that there was going to be a problem with Ketchikan when we were informed that we would have to tender into the "city." Oh, the stories....

-Ketchikan, Alaska: Day Five -
"Even Alaska has Rednecks"

First of all, "tendering"- when you can't dock close because another ship is already there or your boat is to big for the rinky dink docks- sucks.

The lines to get off the boat are pretty long, anyway. Add to that the inability to just waltz off at you leisure, and especially by the last day, it gets pretty annoying.

Another piece of advice is to book an excursion early in the day with the cruise line. This earns you the right to be one of the first off the boat. Wouldn't want to keep folks waiting onshore would we? We did book early excursions, and were not in line long enough to make it any more memorable, or forgettable, than Ketchikan itself.

So, to the excursions we went- me to a bike ride with a tour of a "salmon hatchery," and Alicia to a ride in an authentic Indian canoe.


The tender boat above.

Our ship as seen from the dock.

The bike riding part was much more vigorous than in Skagway. Our road was more busy, and our guides were not as professional. The "salmon hatchery" is in quotes 'cause we saw no actual salmon. You see, we were a few weeks early for the salmon to return home, so the place was deader 'n a post office at 4:01 PM

The cruise line should really set you expectations better by letting you know when there will be no fish.

A huge waterfall that we stopped by while on the bike ride.

I did get some pretty cool pictures, though. This is a sound that is so deep, they've had migrating whales come in to feed. I thought that was pretty cool.

I knew we were in trouble when I saw the sign to the right. Any town that calls itself their state's "first city" is struggling for something to give it's residents pride.
And these residents need some work. I know it was a pretty day and you were excited and all, but you keep from cat calling to my wife? Hmm? Please?

To the right is Ketchikan's unofficial rain gauge. The guides told us that if you can't see this mountain, it's raining. If you can see it, it's gonna rain. (In my favorite redneck accent) "Hey ma-yun, that's funny."
Also pictured is the boat that actually docked at Ketchikan. This is a view of the thriving metropolis from the decks of our boat.
Once Alicia and I finally hooked back up, we were able to walk along the town's main drag.

And, the main drag is where the tourists are on parade for the townsfolk- A hard working bunch that just needs to blow off some steam on one of three pretty days a year. The best way to do that? Again the redneck voice: "Hey, mah-yun, let's go yell at some cruisers from the safety of our cars.. Yeah, that'd be a blast! Wooohoo!! Yeehaw!"

We did eat in Ketchikan at a restaurant recommended by locals as being really nice. It's at the top of this hill on the side of a mountain from the main part of town. To get there, you have to take an elevator like thing up the hill. That's pretty neat, and the view is also pretty good. It's one of those places where you pay for atmosphere rather than quality food, I think. Above is a picture of Alicia outside the restaurant by one of a few totem poles. What it means that one is sticking it's lounge out at you I have no idea. We did get to call Granma from the payphone, here. It was her first call from Alaska. We also sent her two more post cards- One of glacier bay and one of Ketchikan. I called the office and checked voice mail Hell, there was nothing else to do but get back to the boat.

Once back on the boat, we stuck around and took pictures of Ketchikan at sunset. We felt lucky to be back on the boat before dark in Ketchikan.
Once back on the boat, we finally met up with Jim and Gladys to get their perspective on the excursions.

Jim was livid. As it turns out, he was on the only boat that had caught no fish. It was a sore subject that we avoided for the rest of the trip.

I just thought this was a pretty cool picture with all of the sailboat masts. It seems almost like a foreign country compared to home where the nearest coast is better than 300 miles away.

As we departed Ketchikan for a full day at sea, we watched the setting sun from our balcony. The pier to the left is the last view of Ketchikan that we took.

By sunset, it was time to have dinner. We may have dressed up again on this night, but we elected to take no pictures. We were a little disappointed in the day and the dinner, so it was time for bed.

You may think I am being hard on Ketchikan, and that's probably a fair assessment of an unfair position the city is in for cruisers. You see, once you see the wonders and beauty of the Hubbard Glacier, Alaska's equivalent of Mayberry and her town drunks just doesn't turn your crank. Sorry, Ketchikan.

On the next page, I'll tell you some things that I didn't know about your last night and day of being on a cruise.

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At sea &Vancouver