August 18, 2013
Ketchikan – boat trip to see eagles, totems, lighthouse
We got up early this morning to find the usual – gray, rainy weather. Joel thankfully was feeling a little better and figured he’d brave going out for our excursion, even though it was an early one. Would our luck with weather hold up for yet another day? This was our last excursion so we only needed one more clear morning.
I booked the excursions so long ago that I had forgotten what was going to happen today – something about totems and eagles, just a short trip because we only had a few hours on this stop. We did well and arrived at the meeting place at 7:30 only to found out that no one was there because the actual time was 8AM. No matter though. It all came together eventually and we hopped on the bus headed for the boat. Another boat trip, eh?
Our driver told us a bit about Ketchikan on the way, unfortunately without a lot of enthusiasm or flare. We did learn that the town mainly runs on tourism and fishing, and there are three fish canneries that have been in operation for a long time. There are also named streets that are nothing more than wooden stairs and pathways up to houses on the side of the hills and mountains.
Luck was with us again. By the time we arrived at the marina the weather had cleared and the sun was peaking through the clouds. We boarded a nice boat with an attentive crew and went out in search of eagles. It was only a few minutes before we spotted the first one. Many more sightings followed and a number of nests were pointed out. We also saw the totems, some harbor seals, the promised lighthouse, and learned quite a bit about the history of the area and some of the homes that we passed. We had seen many eagles when we lived in Kansas and Florida but I’m still always thrilled to see them, and the scenery was beautiful so we were glad we hadn’t skipped this excursion.
Our weather luck didn’t hold all morning though, and a light rain started up again. There were inside spaces in the boat but I managed to get somewhat wet going outside for photos. It could have been much worse though because it was raining hard by the time we were back on the ship. We looked out on the dock a bit later and there was a long line of people outside waiting to get back on board. We were wet and cold enough, and happy to be back indoors instead of out in that line.
After warming up and getting some lunch, we went to a very interesting lecture by Michelle, the ship naturalist that had been making all the informative announcements about the area and the whales. She told us a lot about the whales, orcas, porpoises and other life that lives in these waters. She really put the whales in perspective when she stretched a rope across the stage equivalent to the length of a humpback, and unfolded a piece of material that was a life size cutout of a tail. It took up most of the stage! You don’t always realize how huge they are when you look at them at a distance from a large boat.
After the talk, we decided to go to the upper deck and watch the world go by for awhile. We were heading to open water which was rougher and the boat was rolling and pitching some, and it seems to bother less when you can see out over the water. Since the rest of the day and most of tomorrow was on the ship as we made our way to Victoria, it was time to relax, read, sort photos, and enjoy the down time.