Today has been absolutely amazing. We docked in Ketchikan really early, and the view literally had me ‘wowing’ out loud. The town is beautiful and very rustic. Some of the buildings and the road are actually built on stilts over the water. The rest of the town clings to the rocky face of the mountainous island. Because the island is made of solid rock, their sewer system is almost non-existent, instead relying on rain water collected in a tank at each house. And they get a lot of rain – 14 feet a year! We got lucky though – today was sunny with a light breeze. Very comfortable. I went on two shore excursions today – the lumberjack show and a tour of the Totem Bight rain-forest/park. The lumberjack show was hilarious – US vs Canadian lumberjacks in a skills competition. It was cheesy, but very fun. And one of the Canadian lumberjacks was cute!
Afterwards, I boarded the tour bus for the totem tour. Our guide was amazing. On the way there he gave us an in-depth history of the island, which is apparently mostly uninhabited. And, unless you have a boat or a plane, you’re pretty much stuck there! Their largest industry is salmon fishing, and they’re known as the salmon and totem pole capital of Alaska. Interesting stuff!
The park itself was amazing. It’s a chunk of rain-forest devoted to preserving Native works of art, like a traditional clan house and a stunning display of totem poles. According to our guide, the totem poles do not have religious significance, but instead are used to tell legends and stories and pass them on to future generations. They are made of cedar, which is very rot resistant and are painted with a mixture of minerals and chewed salmon eggs, which makes a paint more durable than our modern alternatives. I loved every minute of it.
I capped off the morning with a visit to their yarn store for some local hand dyed sock yarn and headed back to the ship. It was an insanely busy morning, I’m exhausted and we are now leaving Ketchikan behind. Time to rest up for tomorrow – Juneau!