Monday 24th August 2015 - Ketchikan

August 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Overnight the ship sailed to Ketchikan which was nice and smooth again but one small slightly rough passage in the middle of the night.  We docked about 08:30 and were able to go on to shore from 09:00.  We had a leisurely breakfast before venturing into town around 10ish – literally walking off the ship and then you’re in town.  It seems all the tourist shops are sited around the cruise berths.  Ketchikan seems quite a large town and seemed very busy in its own right and not just because there were 3 cruise ships berthed.  It calls itself the 1st city in Alaska as it’s quite near the Canadian border and it’s also called the salmon capital of the world.

Ketchikan

We had a bit of a potter around the shops – it certainly seems big on salmon.  One shop we went into sold nothing but salmon products from every type of packaged smoked salmon and tinned salmon to even candied salmon and salmon oil.  Found a nice Alaskan chocolate shop and we bought ourselves some chocolate.

We went back to the ship for a cup of tea and then an early lunch as we were on an excursion in the afternoon.

We went on the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s tour this afternoon.  This was billed as a comfortable way of witnessing the amazing way of life through practical demonstration and hearing stories of crab fishing in the Bering Sea by 2 ex-Bering Sea fishermen and an ex-Bering Sea fishing boat captain in a boat that once did fish in the Bering Sea. Really difficult to describe what happened on the trip, it was nothing like any other excursion we’ve been on. We sailed around the protected waters of the Inside Passage and at various points the fishermen demonstrated the types of fishing tackle, bait and equipment that would be used to catch a particular type of fish / crab. They hauled crab pots up from the sea with the various types of crab that would have been caught. They also explained how hard it was to learn how to do the job and the long apprenticeships the fishermen had to have in order not to be a danger to themselves and others. They worked long (21 hr) days with 3 hrs down time but the pay was good although the conditions were hard.  The boat we were on, the Aleutian Ballad, had survived a couple of near disasters, but each time had been repaired and kept working. There has been a Discovery Channel programme about it apparently which most of the Americans seemed to be familiar with. All 3 ex-fisherman also entertained with tales of sea faring disasters and near drowning that they had survived. Along with seeing all the types of crab etc. they also had a rather large octopus; octopus eat the crab and sometime when the crab pots are hauled up all the crabs have been eaten and an octopus is in their place.

Jaya holding a crab

Jaya holding a crab

With the crab fishermen

With the crab fishermen

The Aleutian Ballard - Crab fishing boat

The Aleutian Ballard – Crab fishing boat

We also stopped by a bald eagle’s nest where on throwing some fish bait out into the sea, the eagles swooped down to pick up the fish right in front of us!

Bald Eagle catching fish

Bald Eagle catching fish

Back on the ship at 5:00, and had another cup of tea; sailed at 6 on our way back to Vancouver where we will disembark on Wednesday morning. Dinner in the Rotterdam restaurant again, and it was so good we will go back there tomorrow for our final meal. The very friendly waiter is going to keep a window table for us. Tomorrow is a day at sea; will need to pack our bags as they have to be outside the cabins by midnight.


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