|Cindi and Robert and the two families|
welcomed us to the Ketchikan Yacht
Club with a family BBQ.
The seaside park and the rest of the city are built on rolling hills high above the water with a mountainous backdrop. We wandered by the Prince Rupert courthouse, perched atop a broad hill, its Federal-style architecture out of sync with the unrestrained wildness of this part of the world. Around back we stumbled on a gem: Sunken Gardens, a manicured park, tucked two stories below street level. It’s terraced and bright with flowers along a path that leads down to a grassy area with benches and chess tables. In an amphitheater-like setting, a stunning variety of flowers and plants rose up around us to meet blue sky. This unlikely garden left us with smiles after so many miles of green of forested mountainsides.
|It was only 15 minutes, but Eleanor's|
ride in this helicopter took her over
the harbor and then way out over the
rugged mountains of the island.
The next morning, having enjoyed the hospitality and hot showers of the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club, and with a can of bear spray and fresh produce aboard, we cast off and headed northwest, bound for Ketchikan. While we still had phone service, Windy called U.S. Customs to let them know we were inbound and would be spending the night en route, in an unpopulated U.S. anchorage called Foggy Bay.There are few days in any year when a boat can sail merrily across the Dixon Entrance, an open stretch of water that breaks up the Inside Passage, separating British Columbia from Southeast Alaska. By stroke of luck, we hit one of those days. Blue sky surrounded us and during her watch, Windy called us all topsides to welcome us to Alaska.
It would be easy to denigrate Ketchikan, our first Alaskan port. After all, it’s a remote island community with too many souvenir shops catering to too many cruise ship passengers. Beyond the tourist apron, several run-down bars are more successful than they should be. It lies at one end of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.By the time we settled in, the three cruise ships that towered over the city earlier that day, blocking seaward views, were gone. The shops that cater to them were promptly closed and only the town’s 8,000 residents remained on the island. We felt like guests, invited back stage after the main event, to see what real life is like.
|Frances and Brin on the ramp above the|
Ketchikan Yacht Club.
At the post-parade, dockside barbeque we met Cassie and her husband Scott and their three kids. They’re in the market for a family cruising sailboat and we tagged along with them to the town’s annual rubber duck race. Frances and their daughter Brin became fast friends and stayed up until the 11:00 p.m. fireworks playing Pet Shops, Calico Critters, and “spy team 2-2-1,” a game in which they run around spying on everything.
|This is what fireworks|
look like at 11:00 pm in
Early the next morning, the girls and I went to the local NPR-affiliate station to sit in the studio with Scott while he did his 0600-0800 classical music program. Between queuing songs on his iPod and reading the weather and local announcements, he explained to the girls and me how everything works. Finally, as he watched the clock and timed his sign-off to the second, the familiar Saturday-morning bumper music for “Weekend Edition” began playing and the voice of NPR’s Scott Simon came in crystal clear from our former Washington, D.C. home.We said goodbye to our new friends and headed northwest, just as that day’s cruise ships began releasing their passengers.
|This is the view at 10:00 p.m. from our anchorage in|
Fury Cove, BC. So many of the spots we've anchored
along the Inside Passage are almost completely
land-locked like this one, with just a narrow entrance,
sometimes 50 feet wide.
|Windy, the girls, and the Nadejda boys|
along the parade route.
|Windy and Peter.|
|Eleanor using her mad chess skills gained in Victoria|
against unwitting Nadejda crew member Caleb.
|This is the very popular annual rubber duck race. Four of|
the specks in this picture are ducks, headed to the finish
line--the end of the boom intended to trap the hundreds
of numbered ducks released.
|Does your library have a view like this? I'm writing this|
caption in the Petersburg, AK library--we tend to visit
the library of every town we're in.
|On the Rainbird trail with some of the Nadejda|
crew, high above Ketchikan. Note the cruise ship
tied up in the background.
|This is Katelyn giving the girls a private show/instruction|
in baton twirling. She was an accomplished collegiate twirler at Kansas State University
who was there on a visiting yacht, Galatea,
as a caregiver to Marge, one of the owners..
|The girls with Scott in the studio for his early|
morning classical music show. This gig is a
hobby. In real life, he is in the U.S. Coast Guard and
planning to go cruising soon.
|This is another way to arrive at Ketchikan. This is Athena,|
built for James H. Clark who founded Netscape. At 295 feet,
it's one of the largest private yachts in the world.