Diamond Princess Day 3 – Ketchikan

This morning, we woke early to stand on our balcony in the sunshine, with blue skies overhead and no clouds in the sky and watched the ship come into the dock in Ketchikan, which is known as Alaska’s “First City” because it’s the first major community travellers come to as they journey north. Located on Revillagigedo Island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means “eagle with spread-out wings”.  In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska’s claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska’s fourth-largest city.

We had breakfast in our cabin before being collected from the dock at 9.00am for our adventure on a DeHavilland Otter floatplane to Misty Fjords National Park. The seaplane had large windows for good viewing and individual headsets allowing us to enjoy the pilot’s narration and reduce the noise of the engine. Set aside as a fully protected wilderness area in 1978, Misty Fjords National Monument (its official title) encompasses more than two million acres.

The seaplane carried 10 passengers and for half the trip, Richard got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat as we took off not far from where the ship was berthed.  We flew over some stunning scenery, including

lush forests of spruce, hemlock and cedar trees, beautiful lakes, including Ella Lake. We saw an island called New Eddystone Rock – a volcanic remnant that looks like a lighthouse.

We flew past sheer granite cliffs of 3,150 feet called Punchbowl Cove and saw 1,000-foot cascading waterfalls. We flew over Big Goat Lake and then the pilot came in for a spectacular landing on Nooya Lake, which was like a mirror. Most of us got out of the plane and stood on the floats, marvelling at the awesome scenery and natural beauty that surrounded us – the snow-capped mountains were perfectly reflected in the lake’s surface – and the stunning silence.  We had our photos taken standing on the floats by, other passengers – Sandy on one side of the plane and Richard on the other.  We have some amazing photos – see Gallery.

We flew back over Thorne Arm, Carroll Inlet and Herring Bay, landing beside the Diamond Princess.  The flight lasted for 1½ hours and was absolutely fantastic.

We were dropped off at the Tourist Information Centre in the middle of Downtown Ketchikan, where we organised to charter a taxi to take us to one of the two Totem parks..  The driver, who is also a local tour guide, took us to Totem Bight Park, which is approximately 12 miles out of town.  We walked around the park and saw 13 Totem Poles and a Clan House.  As it was getting towards lunch time, there were hardly any people at there, which made it very special. The driver arranged for us to see a local carver working on a totem pole in his workshop not far from the park.  The totem poles are made of western red cedar, which is an extremely light timber making it easy to carve the intricate patterns and shapes.

After a great morning, we arrived back at the ship 20 minutes before the “all aboard” time, had lunch with two of the people from our group and watched the ship leave Ketchikan at 2.00pm.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in our lovely stateroom sorting out the many photos we both took this morning before joining the rest of our group for pre-dinner drinks at the Outrigger Bar at the back of the ship.  Our Tour Director, Inge, has been organising a get together at various times so that we can still keep in touch while we are on the ship – we will be doing the land tour of Alaska together, which will be great.

We had arranged with Cheryl and Keith yesterday afternoon to meet for dinner tonight and the four of us had a lovely evening – we have all hit it off so well and spent a relaxed time with them, laughing and enjoying each others’ company.

Another wonderful day!!

3 Responses to “Diamond Princess Day 3 – Ketchikan”

  1. Janet says:

    Where are the photos?

  2. Katharine says:

    WOW, love the photos you took out on the floats. The one of Dad is really nice – I think it’s my favouite!

  3. Gail says:

    Incredible photos – I think we will have to take another trip to Alaska and Canada

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