(22) The Inside Passage
Tuesday August 31 2004
The first night on the ferry went well.
I met and talked with a lot of other travellers on the solarium deck.
We exchange travel stories and make conversation.
There was a brief stop in Juneau early in the morning. It was quite early, I think most of the passengers (myself included) slept through that stop, after a brief stop we continue southwards.
The weather is just brilliant, sunny skies, warm temperatures and the views from the ferry are absolutely amazing.
The snow peaked mts. in the distance, the colour of the sea & sky, the sunsets, it all has to be seen with the naked eye to be appreciated.
I take many photos, keep a constant vigil with the binoculars to spot wildlife on the shores, in the sky and on the water.
The next port of call is Sitka, Alaska.
Sitka has a lot of history, the Tlingit Inians were the first inhabitants.
Next were the Russians in 1799 and then the Russians sold Alaska to the US for $7.2 million with the transfer ceremony in Sitka, October 18 1867.
It was a beautiful seaside town, there is much to see and it has a nice harbour. After a few good hours taking in the local sites we board again and continue southwards.
The ferry had a park ranger on board to give regular talks and presentations on a variety of topics from marine life, history and information about the Inside Passage.
It was all done very well.
There were also many films playing on many interesting topics about the area and the whole marine ecology.
Top marks to them.
Some of the marine life I saw were Humpback Whales, Killer (Orcas) Whales, different kinds of Dolphins & Porpoises, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Seals, Salmon, Bald Eagles and Waterfowl/Seabirds.
I was sitting in my chair reading when they announced that a pod of Killers Whales were off the port side.
The whole solarium people more or less ran, cameras & binoculars flying to the port side.
I watched the pod(maybe 4 or 5) through my binoculars up ahead and when they reached us at the back, they went under, not to appear until out of camera range.
I guess they were playing a cruel joke on us wanting good Orca photos.
I continued watching them long after they passed with my binoculars. Behind the ferry was a big yacht following, suddenly this one Orca just breached quite close to and in front of this yacht.
I wondered if that guy was ready with his camera at that moment.
The next town that we stopped long enough to visit was Ketchikan.
It is famous for its Alaskan Native Culture, great salmon fishing and for more Totem Poles than anywhere else in the world.
It was a nice enough town but it was overrun with thousands of tourists on those 3 or 4 giant cruiseliners docked adjacent to the downtown wharfs.
It reminded me of the day I was in Skagway, Alaska, same thing.
I guess they have to put ashore sometimes.
This whole trip south was very, very awesome.
The weather cooperated everday to give us unseasonably warm, sunny, dry weather... what a bonus!
The beauty along the way was unbelievable!
I had a really good time onboard this ferry and I met a lot of very nice people too.
It was a little expensive for my tastes, but I thought how many chances will I get to see the Inside Passage...hopefully again sometime!
I am so glad that I decided to go on this ferry through The Inside Passage, it was a trip I will never forget.
Posted by Jeff Nicholls at September 01, 2004 12:07 AM GMT