Monday, June 12, 2017

Canada and Alaska – Part 2, Day 3: Ketchikan, Alaska

We arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska around 7a.m. - and a cool 10 degrees! There were two other Cruise Ships also moored alongside us – and the town was clearly ready for the expected increase in trade with their shop doors wide open and the vendors offering plenty of words of encouragement to sample their wares!

The town only has a population of around 8000 but is well-known for its many totem poles as well as being the Salmon Capital of the World. We also learned that it has America’s highest zip-code of 99950 (useful ehh!?).

Well, we couldn’t have moored much closer to the ‘high street’!
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Luckily, it wasn’t quite a cold as we expected to be and we were soon taking in the local sights and sounds. The shops closest to the Ships were clearly there to attract visitors – and designed to look old, but were actually much newer.
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As we wandered away from the ‘newer’ shops, we began to see (possibly) the more authentic side of Ketchikan
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…complete with some interesting ‘extras’ on offer to add some zing to your morning coffee!
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We wandered a bit more off the tourist track, and headed towards the Totem Heritage Centre. This featured a vast collection of some of 19th century totem poles retrieved from the town in the 70s. The Centre was small but packed with local history together with a comprehensive insight of all things ‘totem’!
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After the Heritage Centre visit we took a slow walk back in the direction of the Ship…
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..and just before 11am, we were back on board.

Ketchikan turned out to be mostly what we expected it to be (albeit a little bit warmer!). Clearly, this is an old town with plenty of history, but I think we would have done more if it were warmer! The cruise trade is important to the local economy and it made us think what it must have been like here before the cruise trade started visiting – case-in-point: as soon as the ships sailed this afternoon, from our window, the place looked like a ghost town.

Back on board, we found a perfect area ‘up top’ that was a toasty sun-trap… well, for a hour at least… then, as the temperature dropped, it was down to the Café for a snack before feet-up and then a couple of afternoon presentations in the Theatre.

First was Dan Benedict on ‘15000 years of Alaska History’, who in spite of only presenting for under 30 minutes, nearly sent us to sleep!
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Fortunately, next up, was the return of Milos Radakovich with ‘Fire and ice’ who was as engaging and informative as when we’d seen him yesterday on the Cruise. His one-and-a-quarter hour presentation seemed to be over in a flash.
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Just time for feet-up before our evening meal and then we’re off to see an acrobatic event ‘Gold Art Duo’ in the Theatre.

Well, it’s been another packed day (oh, the pressure!) and we arrive at Icy Straight Point tomorrow.