September 1, 2016

Traveling during the night from Glacier Bay, the ship was easing toward dock as we ate breakfast about 6am. Bob and Suzanne were going on a rainforest walk and had to be on the dock at 7:15am.

This photo summarizes my experience on this trip to Ketchikan. The weather was very good for Ketchikan in that it was not pouring rain as usual. The floatplane pilots took advantage of the weather and had lots of business for floatplane tours of the Ketchikan area.

The only thing unusual about this photo is that I took it from the 18th level of our huge ship, so I was looking down on the takeoff.

I watched the activity on the strip of wharf area which serves as the floatplane airport. I must have seen fifty takeoffs in an hour or so. It was buzzing like a beehive. At one time I counted six floatplanes in the air around the Ketchikan port area at one time, some landing and some taking off.

We had decided to stay on the ship and not do any excursions here because we had done the rainforest excursion last time. We had decided to just take it easy this day. About 10am Brenda complained of being chilled. And then within an hour or so she was burning up with fever. So we put her to bed and about that time Suzanne and Bobby returned from their excursion with a bottle of Tylenol, so we gave Brenda Tylenol and she spent the rest of the day in bed.

Leaving from Glacier Bay about 3:45pm, the ship traveled through the night and arrived at Ketchikan and we watched the docking process from our breakfast location about 6am. The image above shows four cruise ships at dock in Ketchikan, and that's almost exactly the configuration that we had. Our ship was in the leftmost position, and just to the left of that was the stretch of buildings and docks that was the floatplane port. So I could watch the activity from the stern of the ship. Note that on the extreme left is the runway of the local airport, and I saw several planes take off from there while all the floatplane swarm was circling around the bay offshore from the floatplane port.

This view from the ship includes our gangway and gives a pretty good feel for the town of Ketchikan. A narrow strip of wooden houses lines the inlet. This was once a lumber center until the cost of transport to the lower 48 took it out of the competitive lumber market. But wood is abundantly available here at the edge of a vast rainforest, so nearly everything we saw was made out of wood.

We were impressed with the large white wooden church near the cruiseship dock. This is another sample of the wood frame house construction of Ketchikan.

From my vantage point, the busiest place in town was the floatplane dock. It consisted of a row of buildings facing the water and an extensive set of low docks onto which the floatplanes were pulled for parking when not actively engaged.

This shows a bit more of the extent of the floatplane dock system. It extends down toward the two largest buildings we saw in town. You can see two planes taxiing out for takeoff.

I spent a good portion of the middle of the day walking the decks of the cruise ship to watch the activity of the Ketchikan harbor. This is a classic view of one of the common types of fishing boats.

North and south views from our ship. At left is a view of downtown Ketchikan, and another large cruise ship is just rounding the point on the way to docking by us. Behind that ship is the local airport for land takeoffs and landings, but there is a lot more airplane activity from the water. At right above is another cruise ship docked south of us.

This was a very common sequence this afternoon as the float planes took off for short tours of the Ketchikan area.

The float planes had to work around all manner of tourboats which made it a busy harbor. This was a rather unique tourboat in that it was laid out like a floating ampitheater with all the people facing to the side.

Then there was the arrival of another large cruise ship which gave pause to all the planes which had been taking off from that area.

It glided into docking position between our ship and the other cruiseship docked south of us.

Then it was back to air activity as another tour plane took off.

The float planes were doing short tours, so they had to cooperate for landings as well. Just behind this landing is the end of the land airstrip of the local airport.

For this water landing, the floatplane had to cross the land strip which is just behind him. He also had to avoid the little "duck" tour boat which was definitely not very manuverable. So they had to keep things carefully coordinated.

Just an additional sampler of the types of craft which were simultaneously using this small bay.

Nowhere else but Alaska are you likely to see this many smooth takeoffs in the middle of a busy port!

Watching from various points on our ship, I must have seen fifty takeoffs or landings.

Another large cruise ship arrived during the afternoon. So we had four ships, each of which vastly exceeded even the summer population of Ketchikan.

I enjoyed seeing all the different travel modes mixed up together.

By going up to the 18th deck of the huge ship, I was able to look down on takeoffs and landings of the float planes.

Return to Seattle

September 2-3, 2016

September 2 was a travel day from Ketchikan to Victoria, and it was our last time to have our evening meal in the dining room with Joseph from the Philippines and Boonmee from Thailand.
The meals had been wonderful and we had become very fond of these two guys who did everything possible to make sure we had a fine dining experience. Here we have Bob on the left, then Joseph, Suzanne, Boonmee, Maitre d' Francois Ferat, Brenda and Rod. Francois is from France and has been with Princess for 23 years.

We reached the Canadian city of Victoria on Victoria Island at about 9:40pm Alaska time, I think 8:40 Victoria time.

Several big cruise ships had arrived at about the same time, so there was a fleet of buses there to meet us for the final tour.

This seemed like a good opportunity to show the size of our big ship compared to a tour bus. It was truly huge!

Another portrait of the floating city that had been our home for the past week.

We enjoyed a sunset view of the harbor and this bay from our tour bus. We had a bus tour of the city of Victoria with the story of Victoria Island, and that was interesting. The titled tour of the Bouchart Gardens at night was somewhat a mistake in concept - a garden tour at night? But the story of the Gardens was interesting. We returned about 11:30pm local time and settled in for our last night on the ship as it made its way to Seattle. The total distance traveled on the ship was 2500 miles.

Mt. Ranier

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