Monday, 14 September 2015
14.09.2015 - 14.09.2015
The water has been so calm it is difficult to determine if we're even moving. Very few clouds as we sailed up the Revillagigedo Channel to Ketchikan gave promise for a great day. Local rainfall is in excess of 14 feet, topped up with an additional 7 feet of snow, it is a wet place and often rains for a whole week. Not today !!
We were the third ship to tie up, the other two being the Norwegian Jewel and Holland America's Volendam. That makes for about 6,000 visitors in town today. Our tour started at 10:10 and was unusual in that we walked about six blocks to the first venue, the Alaskan Lumberjack Show. An outdoor stadium with undercover and padded benches. The skill of the lumberjacks was amazing and to create an air of competition there was a USA and a Canadian team. The show is partly sponsored by Stihl so there were some chain-saw events. The racing saws sliced the spruce logs like a hot knife through butter. The buck saws were also impressive as was the axe work. Elements we don't experience at home included the axe throwing, the tree climbing but most of all the log rolling. There was also the fake name calling and supposing fist fights which were obviously staged but it was all in fun.
From the stadium we walked back towards the ship to join a bus for the tour of the Totem Bight State Park. An impressive area of forest and park land where our guide explained the many features of totem poles. There was also a lot of information about the cultural history of the local tribes. We were told that there has been a recent DNA analysis that has linked the local natives with the Maori of New Zealand on the opposite side of the world. We also saw a totem in the process of being carved. There was of course the obligatory Gift Shop but managed to avoid buying any of the intricately carved miniature totems.
Back on the waterfront we found the Christmas Store we remembered from our visit in 2010. Jenny has searched Skagway and Juneau for this store and was delighted to finally find it. We visited an adjoining store where for just over US$5 we bought the largest ice-cream I have ever experienced. One of the big differences between this visit and our previous is that we've had fine weather in all three ports. On the walk back to the ship we happened to stop in the Tongass Trading Company and found it had an extensive range of Carhartt work-wear and we bought a mate for the shirt we'd bought in Anchorage. The store is huge and the inventory is amazing with many items marked down for the 'end of season' sale.
Back on the ship we had a late lunch or early dinner. Tonight we were invited to attend a 'frequent cruisers' cocktail party hosted by the Captain and the heads of all departments. The invitations were for the top 40 frequent cruisers. Given there were only 83 Elite Passengers on the ship it wasn't such a big deal but the food and drink was extensive and we were presented with a photo of us with the Captain. Nice touch that's never happened before.
Time goes forward an hour overnight and we have 'sea day' tomorrow as we sail for Vancouver.
If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view a photo of the Lumberjacks by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony