Our Journey on Scolamanzi II
Our Journey on Scolamanzi II

Alaska: The First City – Ketchikan:

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9th – 10th May 2016

We collected our parcel sent by Raymarine with FedEx and left Canada (Prince Rupert) at last at noon on Monday 9th May 2016! Great weather –  light breeze overcast and a few swells, but no rain! Being a bit late to make it all the way to Ketchikan before dark, we decided to pull into Foggy Bay – the only other legal option entering Alaska without clearing customs. Johann just needed to phone customs to announce our arrival.

Foggy Bay only provide access at high tide. Nice muddy bottom made for secure anchoring and with the shore not too far from us we were constantly looking out for bears but only found a mom and 3 cubs on our way out (or Johann and Di did!)

As the ritual has become with Captain Early, we were up and about at 5 and left just before 6am to get out of Foggy Bay on high tide. Slightly overcast and about 10 knots of wind still provided a nice smooth trip all the way to Ketchikan.

Ketchikan was a great surprise! The lovely colourful houses and shops look even more vibrant with the white snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. Ketchikan is the first stop for yachts and Cruise Ships that travels north into Alaska.  Although we have been a bit early to experience the full blow of tourism, the first Cruise Ship was already docked by the time we arrived.

Having been boat bound for about an hour, we were all welcomed and processed into Alaska, on board by a friendly customs lady! The walk around town and especially through Creek street made you realise how much of a buzz this town was during the boom years of the gold rush, logging and fishing industries. Ketchikan became a major trading community in the early to mid-1900. Creek street was where an estimated two thirds of miner’s and logger’s wages has been spent in bars and bordellos (now quaint little art shops and pubs).

I have a little bit of a love hate relationship going for the tourism here…it is robbing the place of its soul. During the season, the superficially lively town is only open from when a cruise ship docks until it leaves the town before sunset. By the time we did our sightseeing (3.30pm) shops were closed – not long after the Cruise Ship left. It is mind blowing to think that such a small town can handle 10 000 tourists on one day! Crazy! I am glad we missed that experience.

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