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Friday, July 28, 2006

The Alaskan Adventure--Part II


(click on any photos to enlarge)
This was the view from our stateroom balcony as we approached Ketchikan, the city whose name in the Tlingit Indian language means "eagle with spread-out wings." Another gorgeous day awaited us in the Salmon Capital of the World.









Ketchikan is nestled between the water and the mountains. Everyone, it seems, has either a seaplane or a boat. The main street in town is tidy and colorful and lined with the inexplicable plethora of jewelry shops that seem to breed in the tiny towns of the Inside Passage. Alaska's nineteenth century gold rush history includes an emphasis on brothels and bordellos, and one of the most famous is here, Dolly's.
We didn't tour it for five dollars. To tell you the truth, we were kind of deflated at this point. This wasn't why we came to Alaska. We could shop in quaint little towns in Ohio. Where was the wildlife? Where was the breathtaking scenery like glaciers and towering fjords? We weren't in the market for semi-precious stones with odd names like ammolite and tanzanite. We decided to strike out on our own, off the beaten path of touristy attractions and commercialism. But Ketchikan isn't that big and we hadn't arranged a pricey offshore tour ahead of time. We did manage to find some funny things, though:

(can you tell that the "safety boat" is full of water?!)

We found a stream full of salmon, struggling to swim up to spawn, but the photo is bad. We also found a lovely view outside of the main street:
Now that's Alaska, we said. It was time to board ship and get dressed for dinner. Tonight was a celebratory night, the reason we took this cruise: it was our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a bottle of champagne with our lovely French meal in the Marquis dining room. After dinner, the ship's naturalist conducted a whale-watching seminar on the decks at the bow of the ship. We were able to spot several distant humpbacks. It was exciting. We learned a lot that came in handy when we went on our whale-watching expedition in Juneau the next day. And, as if in honor of our silver anniversary, we were able to witness this gorgeous sunset as well:
It had been a very big day, and tomorrow was an early wake-up. We entered Tracy Arm fjord at approximately 6 AM, and it was not to be missed. I would finally see glacial ice in the waters, and true Alaskan scenery all around me. I couldn't wait. And once we landed in Juneau shortly after, I'd finally get to go whale-watching. Our tour came with a guarantee that we'd see whales or get our money back, and that not once had a refund ever been issued. I was more than ready.

2 comments:

  1. My husband has always wanted to visit Alaska. Maybe when we get back to the States.

    Our 25th anniversary is in March. Still discussing where to go. I'd like to go back to Paris but maybe exploring a new city would be better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It *is* exciting exploring something new together. Kind of like, 'now that we've been together 25 years, let's go do something that will be new for both of us.'

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