Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ketchikan, AK

The first port the cruise ship stopped in was Ketchikan. Ketchikan is a small port town that can be reached only by sea or air. 

Our cruise ship stayed at port until 2pm or so which might or might not be enough time to explore depending on what you want to do and see. If you go on 2 tours, it probably won't leave you enough time to wonder around town. Another thing to be prepared for is rain. For us it rained most of the morning, so we didn't get out until it eased of, and then we went on a tour at about 11am, so unfortunately I didn't get to see as much as I wanted to. Hubby didn't feel like he missed out on anything so it really depends on what you're into.  

Ketchikan, like every other port town we visited, is full with jewelry stores, which, as it unsurprisingly turned out, are owed by the cruise ship companies. I didn't care for them in the slightest and I don't quite understand why people suddenly want to buy jewelry when they go on a cruise or to Alaska or whatever. Anyway, there isn't much to see in town but the couple of places I didn't get to go to...

One place worth going to is Creek Street. It is in town but a bit of a walk from the dock. I had a glance at it from the tour bus and it looks cool and very photogenic. Also, I heard later that people saw some sea lines over there.

The second place I wanted to go to and didn't have the time is Saxman Village. It has some large totem poles and should be interesting for those who are interested in the natives' culture. One thing I didn't realise is that it's a fair way out of town and more more like a bus ride rather than a walk away. 

After the quick walk around town we had to go back to the port for our tour. I guess this is the time to mention that tours in Alaska are expensive and totally overpriced, in my opinion anyway. You can find alternative to the tours offered by the cruise company but I didn't find them to be that much cheaper. Another thing to keep in mind is that you're better off pre-ordering the tours as the price of the tours goes up once you're on but if you pre-order you can still cancel it once you're on the ship. This is the case with Princess Cruises anyway. Also, once you get off the ship there are companies offering their tours directly (some of them are the same ones as offered by the the cruise company) and I imagine that their prices might be cheaper or at least the same as the cruise pre-order price. 
Totem pole in Ketchikan - bringing salmon to town
We went on a Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition and it was lots of fun! Some of the ziplines and suspension bridges are located over a creek/river and this is where some bears live and feed on the salmon! I saw a mum and a cab when we went on a suspension bridge but those that were quick enough to look down while ziplining saw more bears. It was really cool!  
I guess you'll have to take my word for it, that there was a bear down there.
This is the least blurry photo I have.

View from the trees
NOTE for those who want to bring a camera. Before you go out ziplining the guides stripe your camera to your gear so it is secure when you zipline so make sure you have the strap on your camera. Also, keep in mind that it might rain and take a cover for your camera or have pockets with zippers. As you can see a DSLR is a bad idea on this tour and I'm not sure they'll even let you take it. Before going to Alaska I bought a cheap compact camera and I'm glad I did. It was very handy on this tour and another tour I took, also in a rain forest. 

This is it for Ketchikan. Next port was Juneau, which is the state capital of Alaska and pronounce nothing like it's spelled. 

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