Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alaskan Cruise: Day 3--Misty Fjords and Ketchikan

Early this day we sailed into the Misty Fjords to enjoy the beauty that is the Alaskan coastline. Completely wild and untouched, these drowned glaciated valleys are accessible only by boat and float plane. Our vessel was about the largest that could negotiate the steep-walled, narrow route. Being a beautiful day, we spent most of the morning on deck taking pictures of the many, many little waterfalls, float planes, and steep walled fjords.

Me taking pictures of the pretty scenery

Me and Terry posing in the sunshine.

Our traveling companions, Brian, Vicky and George. The trip wouldn't have been as much fun without them.

Approaching Misty Fjords.

One of many spectacular waterfalls.
Rock escarpment near the end of the fjord--or at least as far as the ship was concerned it was the end.
One of many float planes flying in from Ketchikan to view the fjords.

Float plane taking off from Ketchikan.

Vicky and George

George and Brian

After lunch, we pulled into Ketchikan where the five of us went on a cultural tour to Potlatch Totem Park and got a nice little guided tour around the town. Our bus driver/tour guide was a man of many talents—and jobs. Former college football player at Washington State, high school coach, referee, bus driver, tour guide, etc. he proved to be very engaging and entertaining. Married to a Tlingit gal, he really knew his stuff. 

Like most of the small towns along the coast, Ketchikan is built on a skinny stretch of land right along the waterfront. It doesn’t extend much inland and has only one or two roads paralleling the coastline. Being on an island also means, as relayed to us by Ed, there are only three ways to get there: 1-by boat, 2-by float plane, and 3-by birth canal.

Me and Terry at Potlatch Park

Vicky, George and Brian with some not so friendly whales

Ed talks about Tlingit family life inside the Clan House.

Wall carvings inside the Clan House.

Story Pole at Potlatch Park

Traditional entrance to a Clan House was low and small so enemies o=would have a difficult time entering.

Wall that would separate the clan chief's family from all others in the Clan House.

Another story pole in the park. The story would be revealed by either the carver or the person who commissioned the pole when it was erected. And that story should not be told by anyone not permitted to tell it. A Potlatch (party) would be held to get enough hands to erect the pole.
After our tour of Potlatch Park, we were free to visit the town and do some shopping. Terry and Vicky went and got their free earings and also bought a tanzanite necklace.

There’s a statue downtown that commemorates the folks who helped shape Ketchikan. There’s Tlingits, miners, loggers, and–ahem—ladies represented. There’s also a reminder that Ketchikan gets a lot of rain.

The "Liquid Sunshine Gauge" topped out at 202.55 inches in 1949.

Then we were back on the ship for dinner and a couple of drinks before retiring. And the ship sailed out heading to Sitka.

We would remember that gauge in the next few days.

Alaska Cruise: Day 2 Sailing, sailing, sailing.

Day 2 At sea aboard the Radiance of the Seas

After the hassle of boarding in Vancouver, we enjoyed the day just unwinding, exploring the ship, and booking excursions for our ports of call. 

Terry and I purchased a couple of fleece jackets at a poolside sale as souvenirs and to add one more layer in the chilly air. (Little did we know we should have made sure they were waterproof!)

Later, Terry and Vicky attended a talk about the “four Cs of diamonds” obtaining coupons for a free pair of tanzanite earings. 

That evening we dined in one of the specialty restaurants on board. Chops Grille is advertised as “the Best Steak on the High Seas” and they may well be right! 

That evening, while Vicky and George retired to their cabin, Brian, Terry and I took in a show, “Piano Man,” in the Aurora Theater. The theme of the show was the hit songs of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s by Billy Joel, Elton John, Barry Manilow, and Ray Charles. It was very good. So was the night cap we enjoyed afterwards