Day Four: Ketchikan, AK

May 31st, 2017, Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan was founded in 1883, when a man named Snow built a salmon saltery. By the year 1900, when the town had a
population of 800, it officially became a town. Ketchikan is located on the
western coast of Revillgigedo Island, near the southernmost boundary of Alaska.
It is 679 miles north of Seattle, which is where the island gets most of their
supplies, and 235 miles south of Juneau. The 2.2 million acre Misty Fjords
Monument is 22 air miles east of Ketchikan. It is also the first port of call
for northbound cruise ships and State ferries.
Ketchikan has a population of 8142 people within city limits, but including the surrounding areas, the population
is 13,686 people. It is the seventh most populated city in Alaska. The
temperature tends to be around 60 degrees in the summer months, and Ketchikan
gets, on average, 152 inches of rain per year.
This morning the ship arrived at Ketchikan around six in the morning. I don’t know if I was just excited to
finally be in Alaska or if it was because the sun rises around four in the
morning, but I was wide awake at six am, and I woke Justin up and made him look
outside at the beautiful scenery.  He
probably wanted to kill me.
Ketchikan reminds me a lot of Isafjordur, Iceland. It’s probably because they were both carved out of
glaciers and they were both surrounded by snow-covered cliffs. Alaska is
definitely a lot greener than Isafjordur and has a lot more trees, but they both
have the same calm water and are surrounded by the same beautiful green-brown
cliffs on all sides. Alaska was also a lot cooler than Isafjordur was. Today it
was in the mid 50s and it rained on and off all day. We didn’t see sun at all,
but apparently the sun is a rare thing in Ketchikan since it’s surrounded by a
rainforest.
Justin and I went up to the buffet to get some breakfast and got our first look at Ketchikan. It looked like a
huge tourist trap to be honest, it had a lot of stores like Diamonds International,
that are just calling for you to spend money on sometimes gaudy jewelry and a
bunch of souvenir shops of all sorts. There were also a lot of fish
restaurants, which makes sense since Ketchikan is the “salmon capital of the
world,” though it wasn’t salmon season yet.
After breakfast, we went off the ship to explore. We bought ourselves a Christmas ornament that says Ketchikan,
AK, some magnets for our fridge, and I bought some postcards to send to
friends, though they probably won’t be sent till I’m back in Texas. Then we
explored the city on foot. There wasn’t really much to see, it was a very cute
town though. We saw a few Totems.
Ketchikan
is home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. There are more
than 80 varieties of totem poles that are displayed throughout the city.  Some of the poles are shout outs to the
tribal cultures of Alaskan natives, and others are commemorative poles that
celebrate important tribe members and family lineage. An estimated 19% of all
Ketchikan residents are of Tinglit, Haida, and/or Tshimshian Native Alaskan
descent. The word Ketchikan actually means “thundering wings of an eagle,” and
we did actually see some eagles.
We also ventured over to the salmon ladder, which is where you can watch fish in
action, but it wasn’t salmon season, so we didn’t see any fish action, we just
saw a pretty waterfall instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an excursion on a float plane alongside my dad to fly over Misty Fjords National Monument.
The monument was named for the weather… “misty”, and it definitely lived up to
its name. The entire area was covered in fog and mist, which gave it a gloomy
sort of look, but it was beautiful.
The seaplane was a tiny little plane; ours sat a total of eight people, including
the pilot. My dad sat next to the pilot, a couple sat in back of him, and
Justin and I sat in back of them. The fjords were breathtaking. They were foggy
and misty, but we saw tons of waterfalls, tall mountains, and lots of snow. The
guide actually told us that in a month, a lot of the snow covered areas we saw
would be melted and there would be bright blue glassine bays and crystalline
inlets. I actually think I preferred the snow though.  However, because the fjords were living up to
their name, a lot of my pictures look dark and dreary, which is sort of the
impression I got from the fjords. Yes, they are beautiful, but they’re
beautiful in a dark and dramatic way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the excursion, it was time to get back on the ship. One of the guides we met
today was telling Justin and I about how there are really good summer
opportunities for teachers in Alaska, it might be something worth exploring, I
think it’d be cool to spend some time in the summer [and it would also
literally be cool, which is way better than hot Texas] teaching in a place like
Alaska, which is so different from anywhere else we’ve lived.
After we got on the ship, the three of us [my dad, Justin, and I] grabbed some
pizza.  My mom didn’t go on the seaplane
excursion; she went on something based on the TV show “The deadliest catch”,
where they caught crabs.  Justin and I
went back to our cabin and watched on our balcony as the ship left Ketchikan
and headed down the inside passed towards Juneau.
The inside passage is really cool. The water is so peaceful; it’s been like sailing
on glass. We’ve spotted some wildlife. I saw an orca tail before it went under
water, I saw an eagle, and my dad said he saw a lot of other animals. It’s also
been raining on and off all day. The rain is sort of nice.
After awhile, Justin and I went to gym and worked out. We have to try to make up for
all the food we eat somehow. Then we went back to our cabin and just sat
outside and enjoyed the peacefulness. We’re also lucky because our balcony is
covered, so even when it’s raining, we can sit outside and enjoy nature.
Around 7:30, we went down to my parent’s cabin. My dad, Justin, and I watched for some
more animals before we went down to dinner. For dinner tonight I had a fruit
platter as an appetizer, and tandoori shrimp for a meal. The shrimp was delicious.
For dessert, I had a piece of cheesecake and some decaf tea. Dinner was fine
tonight, everyone was in good spirits, and my dad enjoyed telling stories of
his high school days.
Really
Really that was it for today. Alaska is absolutely freaking beautiful and one of the
most amazing places that I think I’ve ever been too, and we’re just one stop in
on our Alaskan cruise! It’s unlike any other place in the United States, and
I’m just really enjoying it, and especially enjoying the cold weather 😉
And that was Day four!

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