Dismal fog and rain greeted the new morning, the cruise ship a little tippy and drunk. We had an early breakfast, eager to set foot on dry land again. In the distance, Ketchikan beckoned in what we hoped was fading mist.
We were too early for the 10:00 a.m. disembarking. A small group paced a narrow hallway, faces placid but feet itchy to move on. Soon the line became a throng, hallway, and stairway congested with humanity taking off layers as crowding and body heat rose. It worked like traffic at a standstill where cars in the exit ramp manage to squeeze in front of drivers who are already frazzled from waiting but can’t help edging forward, all but honking horns for something to do.
As 10:00 drew near, Mary realized she’d forgotten her wallet, fought her way down the packed stairs and raced to our room. I should be used to last-minute shenanigans but they still unnerve me. She made it back before the doors opened and we made our way outside at last to a fine, discouraging drizzle.
Watchful for the tour guide we’d come upon in Juneau, she had been neither in the waiting area on the ship nor coming ashore. Passengers gathered in groups around placard-bearing advertisers promoting excursions. The trickle of travellers thinned to zero. No use wasting more time, we took several photos and moved on.
A prominent sculpture greeted all visitors in ship’s port, titled The Rock. Click to read about it and meet the seven life-size figures represented.
Mary had Alaska canned salmon uppermost in her mind. We tried the first store advertising canned salmon—and there were many. She decided $7.99 USD was too expensive for a measly can. She asked for directions to a processing cannery. The sales girl withheld sharing a specific route, pointed in the general direction of the front window (or maybe a wall), and said it was a long walk up the hill. Good news to Mary who wanted to investigate. Without clear having done any previous research, she blindly headed off with me in tow.
A white bus passed with a sign advertising free shuttle. At a bus stop, we talked to a young English speaking Asian couple, who were guests on another ship. “The free shuttle goes quite a way out of town—all the way to Walmart,” the young man said.
We didn’t want to go to Walmart and Mary decided she wanted to take a city bus. Like the Aries she is, she was willing to jump on the bus and expect the driver to tell her where to find a cannery. Miserable about the situation, I finally convinced her this approach was not worth our time. We should have taken the shuttle for the free tour of the city and beyond. If nothing of interest prompted further investigation, we could return and carry on. What a missed opportunity.
- Population 8,000
- 1885 Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan (Ketchikan now sits)
- Employment from government services, fishing and tourism economy
- Salmon capital of the world
- Five types of salmon
- First fish cannery 1886
- Between 1886 – 1912 five additional canneries built
- Biggest collection totem poles in the world
- Guard Island Lighthouse established in 1919
- Mary Island Lighthouse
- Lightship Umatilla WLV-196 Lighthouse
- Tree Point Lighthouse
- Misty Fiords National Monument (access by seaplane and cruise ship only)
- Home to Tongass Historical Museum
To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
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Next on June 8th – North to Alaska: Dolly Who? Dolly What?
© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles