We only had the morning in Ketchikan, so I was off the ship quite early. Larry and the boys were going ziplining, an activity which I’d as soon do as undergo abdominal surgery without anesthetic. I had been considering a floatplane trip to Misty Fjords, but after hearing about several downed planes and the lousy weather conditions and visibility in the area, I decided to not do so. As it turned out, the sun peeping through the clouds for the first time in weeks would have made for a fabulous day to fly. Ah, well.
Ketchikan is another fishing and cannery town in a beautiful setting. Its old goldrush history is largely reflected in the creekside shanties built on the hillside formerly housing a huge number of whorehouses. Nowadays the money changing hands buys fake diamonds and trashy souvenirs. What is Tanzinite, and why are people buying it?
The creekside street a short walk from the dock gives some sense of what the area once looked like, with a rushing river below where spawning salmon can be seen. The waterfront is completely given over to cruiseship-owned shops selling junk. I walked up through town,
climbing several staircases that stretch up the hill. There’s an interesting little museum called the Alaska Discovery Center, with exhibits about the land, water, people, and economics of southeastern Alaska. Afterward I popped into a few locally owned shops, looking for Eskimo-made soapstone carvings. I have a few of these, simple little carvings of animals. Most of the ones I saw in town were factory made, but I did find a store owned by a Native owner who had some nicer ones. I eventually bought a little bear, and chatted with the owner for a while. He gave me the names of the only two other Native-owned stores in town, and I spent some more time at a shop owned by a Haida weaver who had some lovely silver jewelry made by her brother. It was interesting talking about the town politics, and the plusses and minuses of so much of the economics and culture of the town being dependent on cruise ships.
Back on the ship, and I met up with Larry and the boys. They said they had a blast ziplining through the rain forest, and their photos were terrifying. Some things it is better that Mom doesn’t witness.
Spent the afternoon reading and relaxing as we sailed back out to sea past the fantastic coastline, densly forested islands, and distant mountains. This aspect of the cruise I find very enjoyable, just sitting watching for whales and eagles.
We avoided tonight’s show in favor of watching Obama’s speech at the DNC, and then once again got dressed up for dinner. I’ve learned by now that the soups are reliably quite good, avoid the fish, lamb or steak is excellent and the desserts largely not worth the calories. Speaking of calories—there seems to be yet more food served at 10:30, and tonight was a Chocolate Buffet. Huge displays of cakes and pastries, and people were stuffing themselves as if they hadn’t eaten just hours ago. Amazing.