Alaskan Cruise Journal: Day 3 - Ketchikan, Alaska 🦅
Nothing like the excitement of your first port of call on any ocean cruise, let alone arriving in Alaska. WOW, WOW, WOW is all one can say. Such a beautiful day.
This morning started early as we had to be at our excursion meeting spot at 6:45 a.m. Fortunately, since we picked up an hour during the night moving from Pacific to Alaska time we got a little extra sleep 💤. By the time I got up we were docked in Ketchikan. It was a bit of hazy/foggy morning to start but it was so cool to see the colorful buildings set in front of the green mountains 🏔 and bye the blue water.
We met our excursion group and drove about 25 minutes from the port over to a fishing area where we got our life jackets on and boarded a large motorized inflatable raft for the most part. We took about a 20 minute ride to Benton Island. Along with the way we got to see some majestic bald eagles 🦅 flying around as well as perched up in the trees. Such beautiful creatures.
Our boat driver told us a lot of facts along the way and we got to see some cool landscape and various islands and waterfalls. Once we got to Benton Island we got out of the boat onto the rocky shore where we met our hiking guide. She guided us along a 1-mile path through the rainforest of the Tongass National Forest. We learned about various trees 🌲, wildlife 🐻, and the unique ecosystem of the forest. After our hike they had some snacks waiting for us by a campfire overlooking the water. So fun!
We then boarded our boat and went back to the pier but via a different route to see some other views. We got to see a submarine sonar testing station. This was two floating structures out in the ocean where subs come to test the sonar after being dry docked or out on mission for an extended time. Its a unique place because the water’s salinity is really low compared to other parts of the ocean in the world and the channel depth is 3,000 feet and its relatively quiet out there.
We got to see more Eagles (even one flying by the boat with a fish in its talons), salmon jumping and sea planes flying overhead. Once we got back to the pier we headed back to port where we got to enjoy a couple of hours wandering around and doing a little shopping.
Some fun facts about Ketchikan that we learned today:
✔ Has the largest collection of standing totem poles in the world. Presently 80, all made of cedar.
✔ There is a church at the port that was built in 1904 and the only way to get to it at that time was by boat.
✔ They average 12-14’ of rain a year.
✔ The rainforest is temperate and ranges an average of 35 - 65 degrees a year with October being the wettest month and July being the driest.
✔ Due to its location and geography, supplies, cargo, etc. comes in twice a week: Tuesdays and Fridays. So Amazon Prime is about 2 weeks instead of 2 days.
✔ They have a Walmart but it isn’t allowed to sell fruits, veggies and other groceries. That was the condition in order for it to come here so it wouldn’t run the local grocers out of business.
✔ Salmon jump to help loosen the eggs and also get a lice-like organism off them.
✔ Clarence Strait is 3,000 feet deep and where the intercostal waters connect to the Pacific Ocean.
✔ They constantly have tectonic uplift which causes the mountains to continue to grow about 3mm a year.
This afternoon it was nice to spend some time on the balcony enjoying the cool air as we headed back out to sea. Supper was another fun evening. We are enjoying our stablemates and wait staff. We even ran into some of our new friends (and hopefully new clients) as we were leaving the dining room. We went to go check out the formal night photos…what a hoot! Tonight’s show was a comedy variety show and it was very funny.
Tomorrow will be a 12-hour stop in Juneau. So that’ll be fun to have time to do our excursion and plenty of time to explore around.