Monday, August 1, 2016

Cruise to Alaska Day 03: Ketchikan

This was our first port day and one of our longest port days, with both our first excursion and a ton of free time in one of the loveliest towns in Alaska, so excuse the shocking number of photos and videos that I am about to subject you to:

Can you have a better breakfast than one eaten on the back-end of a cruise ship at sea? Don't be fooled by the fact that half my plate is fresh produce--I gained something like five pounds on this vacation! But as hard as I've been working out since I've gotten home, I would not trade in a single chocolate croissant or heaping serving of bacon. That food was amazing!
It tasted even better with this view.
We passed through this fog on the way to Ketchikan, but most of our port days were sunny and clear and warm.
Our first excursion was canoeing around a lake in Tongass National Forest. Although I can swim, I am not confident in or on the water, so I love myself some life jackets!
Matt is confident in and on the water, and when he canoes, his forearms look hot.
See the dead tree at the bottom of the frame, with the little seedlings growing in the lichen on top of it? That's how these trees grow
The dead tree then rots out from underneath them, so the mature trees have these roots that look like spiderlegs.

This fungus is called bear bread. Bears eat it just prior to hibernation to constipate them.
Early in the spring, then, they eat this skunk cabbage, to get their bowels moving again. If you eat it, it will give you, too, diarrhea, but if you simply wrap your salmon in it to bake, it will give the salmon a nice mustardy flavor.
I am pretty proud of myself that I'm canoeing and not dying. This vacation and all its water activities was a huge confidence booster for me!
It was a big canoe, with several people per side, except that I kept looking behind me and noticing that I was the only one paddling on my side--humph!
Since this is a National Forest, not a National Park, some parts of it are logged, but not this area. It's original, pristine forest here.
I survived the canoe trip!
Now on to explore Ketchikan!
Whales are so common that they're used in advertising!
Also salmon.
Yes, I did take pictures of all of the totem poles.
This totem pole makes me sad to look at now, though, because it was underneath this totem pole that we phoned Will to wish her a Happy Birthday. We were only able to leave her a voicemail, and I cried. Oh, my gosh, I missed the kids SO MUCH on this vacation!
Super tall totem pole!
Creek Street is now a boardwalk of indie shops over a salmon creek, but it used to be a red light district. This shirt is also an example of the work of the artist Ray Troll, whom we fell in love with on this vacation. He lives in Ketchikan (although his work is apparently seen all over the world), and we bought several prints of his while we were here. Now that we're home, I'm going to go online and buy another T-shirt of his that I wanted but didn't get at the time.
Here's the creek.
And here's how the gentlemen could get there!
 As Matt and I were walking along this creek, he suddenly exclaimed, "Ooh, I see a salmon!"

"Nuh-uh," I said, because I have that kind of positive attitude.

Nevertheless, I looked, and didn't see any salmon, and looked, and didn't see any salmon, and looked, and didn't see any salmon, and looked, and then--I saw a salmon! And then another! And another!

It turns out that the creek was absolutely teeming with salmon!
Can you see them?
 They're actually easier to see on video:

But these guys, resting a bit before the tide rises enough for them to be able to make it up these rapids, are a little easier to spot:

Yeah, we possibly hung out watching salmon for hours before remembering the time and hiking back to the ship.
Found another totem pole on the way there, because of course.
And our cruise ship!
Not pictured: Soho Coho, our favorite shop in all of Alaska, the random tourist with whom I fangirled over salmon at the Salmon Ladder, any of the beautiful stained glass pieces that decorated the light posts along the dock, or the very instructive lecture on cetaceans that we attended and that taught me exactly how to positively identify the humpback whales that we're going to see in a couple of days!


Tina said...

I love all the informative captions on the photos! And those trees are totally cool :0)

julie said...

Aren't they awesome? I was surprised at how educational I found this trip!