We left Vancouver, BC late in the afternoon, traveled overnight and spent a full leisurely day at sea traveling about 800 nautical miles along the path a large cruise ship must take. I believe there is a more direct path that smaller boats can take that cuts the distance to a little over 500 nautical miles. We arrived at our first port of call, Ketchikan Alaska sometime during the night and were able to debark the ship as soon as we finished breakfast.
Ketchikan is actually located on an island. In the earliest days in was an Indian fishing camp. In the early 1900's fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan.
The potable water supply for Ketchikan and much of Alaska for matter is provided by the snow melts from the mountain peaks. In Ketchikan the purity of this water combined with several reservoirs has allowed the water to remain unfiltered. This waterfall in a wildlife preserve whose name I cannot recall is one of the main water supply feeds for Ketchikan .
We followed some online advice and did not pre-purchase any tours or port activities for most of stops. We were pleasantly surprised to find as promised several different ground tour companies waiting to accommodate us.
Since we had a relatively short period of time, only 6 hours in port we did not try to cram every activity available into the allotted time. We also tend to avoid the more commercial enterprises. So our day may seem boring to you. There are plenty of more intense activities you might enjoy small plane rides, boat rides and tours, motorcycle tours, jeep trips to some remote areas and zip line or two to do if that is your type of thing.
One thing we did not manage to work in that I think we would have enjoyed in the Ketchikan version of the red bus tour. In Ketchikan the bus is powered by 2 horse power, as in live horses to pull the covered cart around the historical areas of the city.
From our pre trip readings we determined that the rich native heritage was the 'do not miss' part of the Ketchikan experience and has settled on a guided tour to see some of the natural beauty and native heritage. I'm sure that all the tour operators offer good tours but because of the variety offered in a single package, we chose to use Sourdough tours.
We toured the preserve mentioned above, saw some nesting eagles and visited the totem pole collection. These 2 photos of the totem park and a closer view of one of the shorter ones does not do them justice. They are truly amazing to see in person. They are however rather difficult to capture as an image.
Then we returned to the downtown area and spent the rest of or shore time taking a self guided walking tour around the restored 'old town' area which is mostly built on piers projecting out over the bay. I am only going to provide one picture of that since I feel you need to go experience this place for yourself and take some pictures of your own.
That's the end of day 3; more adventures tomorrow.
Alaskan Cruise -- A Day in Vancouver
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