Made it off the ship in Ketchikan — shopping can be a powerful motivator! We were in Berth 1, so it was an easy trip. Of course, I brought the rollator, because it makes for such a convenient way to cart purchases!
We had to visit our favorite store, the Arctic Spirit Gallery, to add to our respective collections of Alaskan Native art. For me, it’s the birds of Alaska. For Karin, it’s a little bit of everything. Then over to visit Maida Kelley, a wonderful watercolor artist, and add another print to my collection. She captures the colors and feel of Alaska and her art reminds us of our trips.
And of course, no stop in Ketchikan would be complete without popping in to Blasphemous Bills or Sam Magees for Alaska goodies for my hubby and mom. And well, a jar of the Kahiltna Birch syrup and caramel topping for me. It’s fantastic over cobbler, ice cream, on a scone or frankly, just spooned out of the jar.
Short stay in Ketchikan, but the afternoon was bright and sunny and the views just keep coming.
Off to listen to the Lincoln Center Stage and the fabulous quintet, then music and drinks in the Ocean Bar, met some friends for cocktails in the Pinnacle Bar, and finally, to the Tamarind for dinner.
And the 2nd Gala Dinner menu:
We had no excursions planned for today, other than a stop at our favorite pair of galleries (conveniently located right next to each other on Mission Street and owned by a husband-wife team) – the Scanlan Gallery with originals and prints by Alaskan artists, and the Arctic Spirit Gallery, with sculptures, masks and other art by native Alaskans. We both made purchases – Karin, lovely landscape prints that she had shipped home, and I added to my (very) small collection of native art, safely wrapped in layers of tissue and bubble wrap to take home with me.
Since the Oosterdam didn’t dock until 11 this morning, Karin and I slept in, missed breakfast (thank goodness for the Explorations Cafe!), and waited to get off the ship until after the initial (seemingly endless) stream of passengers made it ashore. I did feel sorry for those folks who were already returning to the ship – must have felt a bit like the salmon swimming upstream! (I guess half an hour ashore was all they felt like doing in Ketchikan.)
Ambled around town, with a stop for a quick and light bite to eat at the Fish House (very good but we wanted to save room for dinner which we’re having early at 5:30 at the Pinnacle Grill), where we ate outside to the accompaniment of the cheers and hollers from the Lumberjack Show. And a light misting of dampness.
Then we meandered over to Creek Street, and back to the ship. Where Karin energetically walked the promenade, and, obviously, I didn’t 🙂
This day was Luk’wil aam! (Tsimshian for very good).
Got up about 6 a.m., and in what promises to be a regular occurrence, grabbed the camera, headed out on the verandah, and got wet feet. Oh, how I suffer for my art … 😉
With impeccable timing, room service arrived as Karin was in the shower, and I was fiddling with my camera, but the nice young man that dropped it off didn’t look even the tiniest bit surprised by my mussed up hair and sweatshirt. Scrambled eggs, bacon and hot coffee were all good (the room temperature English muffin a bit less so, but then again neither of us were really interested in eating one).
Off the ship just after 8, and met the tour operator for the Cultural Treasures of Annette Island tour, a ship’s excursion to Metlakatla. If you get a chance, TAKE THIS EXCURSION. It had it all – small fast boat (held the 14 guests and 3 crew comfortably), lots of scenic photo opportunities, wildlife (eagles and seals), Native history, art and culture, and even hands-on activity. And tasty snacks on the way back to Ketchikan.
Since the dining room was closed, Karin and I headed to the Pinnacle Grill for lunch (crab and shrimp cakes are a must have), and then up to Deck 10 for sailaway. It started to drizzle, but at least it was dry while we were in Ketchikan. So, a great day so far.
Ketchikan may be the wettest city in Alaska (getting over 130 feet of rain in a year!), but we were very lucky. No sun – but no rain either. But the city is full of surprising spots of color – from flowers to totem poles.
We were docked at Pier 4, the northernmost pier. We walked along the waterfront to downtown, passing numerous fishing boats, including this one, with Scupper the Sailor Dog. (My brother’s favorite book when he was a child.) You could rent a fishing pole and try your luck at catching salmon. One little boy was excitedly yelling “You got one Mommy, you got one!”
Then we wandered along Creek Street. All the dead salmon, having already spawned, gave a suitably fishy, working class feel to Creek Street, Alaska’s notorious red-light district. Madam Dolly Copeland Arthur – who worked well into her 70s – house is now a museum. Since the funicular was out of order (look it up), we walked up to Cape Fox Lodge for a lovely lunch. (We most definitely earned that lunch after our hike up!)
Then a busy shopping afternoon – but unlike most cruise passengers, we shop at the locally owned and operated stores. (Who wants to go to Alaska to buy tanzanite mined in Africa and cut in China? Actually, given the way Diamonds International was packed, apparently a lot of people.) Had to stop at the Arctic Spirit Gallery, filled with native art. It carried a lot of scrimshaw. Note to our hubbies: the scrimshaw pieces were selling for $1,000 – $5,000; by marrying Scrimshaws, you got off cheap!
The owner, Michael, was so knowledgeable and so enthusiastic; pulling out maps and bios of various artists. My favorite was this walrus carved out of whale bone by Qay. (If I had several thousand extra dollars sitting around, Walter – as we nicknamed him – would be mine.)
Back at the ship, we were revived enough by tea that we went on to prove, once again, we were a completely average trivia team. (Who the heck knows what the word is for a sentence that contains every letter in the alphabet anyway? Answer – pangram.)
Left Ketchikan at 5, and it’s on to the Ocean Bar and supper. The Neptunes were playing, as usual, and there were several couples dancing tonight. Always fun to watch.
Tonight for dinner I started with Salmon Tartare with Baby Zucchini (medallions of salmon tartare accented with cherry tomatoes, watercress, mini cornichons, cucumber juice and curry yogurt sauce). Karin had the Sitka Sound Crab and Artichoke en Bouchee (tender pieces of crab and artichoke braised in shellfish sauce and served in a pastry shell, topped with lemon Hollandaise sauce). My Salmon Tartare was phenomenal. We both had the Venison Sausage and Vegetable Soup (beef broth with sausage, diced carrot, onion, potato, green beans, peas, cabbage, fresh herbs and finished with sherry pepper to add a little extra spice). I love love love this soup. We both also had the Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Chorizo Cream (tender poached halibut accented with spiced chorizo yogurt cream, served with baby zucchini, asparagus spears and Parisian style poached potatoes). And for dessert, a cheese plate and cappuccino.
Afterwards, we took a short stroll around the ship, and ended up at the Crows Nest, which was having karaoke night. Not having had too much to drink, I didn’t sign up. Though it wouldn’t have mattered. After listening to half a dozen folks, it’s pretty clear this cruise is not filled with budding musical talent.
On the way back to the cabin, there was an older gentlemen looking bemusedly around, until a young woman on the housekeeping staff escorted him to the Lost and Found at the front desk.
Then back to the cabin, where Karin promptly fell asleep. A wonderful day. Tomorrow we cruise Tracy Arm Fjord, which promises some spectacular scenery and Sawyer Glacier at the end.