Tuesday morning was our first time in port for this cruise!!
When we woke up Tuesday morning (early) the ship was slowly slowly coming into park, getting into position to be parked for the day …
The early morning sun was peeking over the mountains to the east, and the whole of the town was illuminated with this gorgeous light.
These first 2 photos were taken from our balcony … where we could overlook the bits of neighborhood just outside the city center … and imagine how fantastic it would be to live surrounded by trees and mountains like this.
(only in the summer, of course. Snow might kill me )
Due to all the napping on Monday we were awake, ready, breakfasted and off the ship by 8am!
Princess ships dock a little bit outside of town …. so we spent some time walking into Ketchikan-proper, along the shore, bought some postcards and discussed how we wanted to spend the day …
Ketchikan doesn’t really have a lot of big, obvious sites to see, so we were pretty open to the possibilities.
Once we were a bit into town, we stumbled upon this small (non-flashy) booth advertising a couple-hour-long wildlife tour – from Northern Tours of Alaska.
After talking to the nice (sales) girl about it, it seemed like a fun, reasonably priced way to see Ketchikan and the surrounding area.
The town is fairly small and there is only so much we can do without a tour of some kind ….
So we hopped in a 13-passenger van and saw the town!
Our tour guide – Kurt – is a lifetime Ketchikan local … Except when he graduated from high school, looked around and said “been there, done that” and moved to Seattle for awhile to find a wife! haha! (true story)….
Our first stop on the tour was Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park
Kurt (in the center of the image below) told us all about the totem poles – their history and their meaning – as well as about the master carver who still works on-site (now in his 80s, I think) ….
There was a totem pole (3 photos up) with a carving of a (short) Abraham Lincoln at the very top (the ‘shame’ position) ….
The carving of Lincoln was being ‘shamed’ because 1) no inanimate objects can be portrayed on a totem pole and 2) the people being shamed and being represented were brought to Alaska on a ship called Lincoln.
Creative, those Tlingits.
Our next stop was also well outside town.
Kurt brought us to the mouth of a river where salmon spawn…. and bears, seals and bald eagles hang out to eat.
It was a bit early in the season for real spawning, but we saw probably 20 eagles or so … and a seal (along with salmon).
I know it may seem silly to be so excited about seeing so many bald eagles, but after growing up in Los Angeles where big birds are few and far between, it’s pretty amazing…
This photo below is a seal …. hanging out in this little harbor, grabbing some salmon (presumably).
I know it’s hard to tell that’s a seal from the photo … but if you scroll down …
Here’s a close up: Clearly a seal….
No bears, though.
Our last stop outside of town was this gorgeous waterfall …
It was *literally* right off the main road (the long highway along the coast line)… a small turn-off on the island-side next to a pile of rocks about 5′ high…
The rocks were super easy to climb up and at the top you see this:
Kurt said this is a location his family comes to in the summer for a picnic on the rocks and a dip in the pool below …
After our tour … Kurt dropped us off in town at historic Creek Street…
(which will be blogged next week)
This was a great (great) way to kick off our Alaska visit… I would definitely recommend Northern Tours of Alaska if you are headed to Ketchikan!