I am living a scene in a movie! I’ve just leaned back to look out the open door from our cabin to its balcony. Sunset is nearly six hours away, but the Sun is now low enough to make the entire ocean glisten. We’ve moved away from land.
We spent this morning in Ketchikan. It is America’s rainiest city¹. There are a handful of days each year with blue skies. Today was one!
If you’re from Ketchikan I mean you no disrespect, but cruise ships stop here because it’s convenient. Ketchikan is about as far south as you can go and still be in Alaska. There’s little else here that can’t be found elsewhere… and usually with better weather.
We went to the world famous “Liquid Sunshine” rain gauge. They’re up to 80″ this year already! I tried to jump to the marker. The takeaway: I can dunk in the NBA when they put in seven foot baskets.
As with most cruise ship ports-of-call commerce flourishes dockside. There are places to get t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee cups and woolen Alaskan beard caps. A nearly constant parade of float planes (many older than their pilots or passengers) takeoff and land in the water alongside the sihps.
Ketchikan is sweetly quirky as only a small town can be. Chico’s Mexican Restaurant claims to have the town’s best pizza. A young blond women holding a cup of coffee was the traffic signal at one corner. She was coordinating with an equally young man across the street.
Walk inland a little farther you see Ketchikan isn’t living in good times. There are lots of vacancies and derelict buildings. One substantial structure has a wire mesh draped across the front–most likely to keep it from collapsing.
We walked over to Creek Road. The creek looks like it has a bus to catch! There are no lazy rivers in Alaska… at least none I saw.
As is the norm post-9/11 we were accompanied into town by a Coast Guard speedboat. On the bow stood a guardsman with a machine gun. This was unnerving in Seattle and the other ports. It’s still freaky.
I stood on the balcony as we started the long sail toward Victoria, BC. There were more water spouts from whales, one eagle flying by and the other standing sentry next to a channel marker. There was also a pretty ugly lighthouse. It’s still worth watching.
Just as there’s subtext to stopping in Ketchikan, the same goes for our call in Victoria. If a ship carries passengers solely between American ports it has to register in the United States and follow all our laws. By stopping in Canada, even for a just a few hours Friday evening, this ship gets to fly the flag of Bermuda and employ an international crew. Think of America as Princesses friend-with-benefits.
¹ – There is a mountainous area in Hawaii which gets more rain, but no one lives there.