Monday, June 27, 2016

Catch me if you can or…


As we approached Ketchikan we were alongside the airport – one of the shortest runways that I have seen. At the bottom on the river was a floater plane docking area so I entertained myself taking pictures of landings and take offs.

sadly typical of many areas in Alaska

This stop we had to “dock” in the river itself as one of the docks had been damaged two weeks earlier when the local pilot rammed into it. We got the real story on how it happened from a local: as is the case throughout the Inside Passage, the ship’s captain is not allowed to pilot within National Parks nor dock at some cities, so the local pilot had boarded and was in command. Ketchikan has 4 docks and this particular cruise ship was coming in at an angle where clearance with a cruise ship docked was very little. Winds were blowing 80 mph (approx. 120 km/h) and starting to shove him into the other cruise ship so he chose to pick up speed and ram the dock instead of hitting the other ship – the best choice in a sticky situation. In any case it meant that we got to tender in to the city thus also seeing what the lifeboats were like. Later they were able to dock when another of the 4 of us left so we didn’t have to tender back out at the end of the day.

Approaching the Ketchikan docks

Tying up a floater plane

The airport just above Ketchikan is reached by ferry and has a very short runway!

Here my brother had organized another rental car and the area is so small that they simply brought our car to the dock! We first traveled the South Road to it’s end – some 12 miles, seeing a deer and visiting Rotary Beach with lots of driftwood and as tide was fairly low we also could tide pool – crabs of several kinds, mussels and other marine life. We then returned to town and took the North Road for another 19 miles! At its’ end was a Rain Forest – Settler’s Cove where we took a walk and skipped some rocks into the bay.

Deer crossed the road in front of us

The end of the road South

Bald Eagle on a log near the hatchery

Rotary Beach

"The" tunnel: one can go through it, around it and over it.

The end of the North Road

Water fall in the rain forest

One more stop was the Bight Totem park where they have reproduced a Clan house and approx. 20 old Tlingit and Haida totem polls.

Baby Bear totem pole at Bight

Back in the center of town we left the car at the dock as instructed and walked around searching desperately for food. Slim pickings and finally ended up in a bar cum restaurant all dark with lousy service. One positive – wifi – and I was finally able to check e-mails and post a blog!

Quickly hit a few souvenir stores on the way back to the boat then we were off for our last leg – no shore stops – to Vancouver, Canada along the Tongass Narrows. Weather again cleared up and warm.

Damaged Dock under repair

Floater planes parked outside houses

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