427. Thursday 14th May 2015. This is our last day in Alaskan waters. Ketchikan welcomed us…

Thursday 14th May

Breakfast at Summer Palace on PEARL.

Breakfast at Summer Palace on PEARL.

Happy Birthday Alecia.
We arrived in another island town with a good local roadway system but accessible only by sea or air. The town is Ketchikan on the western coast of Revillagigedo Island.

One of several marina's along the waterfront at Ketchikan.

One of several marina’s along the waterfront at Ketchikan.

A road system called the Tongrass Highway runs north 14.6 miles to Knudson Cove. To the south of the town is a long lonely road and peters out in the south at Beaver Falls Creek in the middle of nowhere, 13.1 miles from town.

Ships dock right in the middle of the downtown area.

The International Airport is across the narrow channel on Gravina Island and passengers are ferried to and from the island.

The beginning of houses on neighbouring  Gravina Island.

The beginning of houses on neighbouring Gravina Island.

Instead of going on organized tours we decided to ride the local bus service and visit a local shopping centre to see how the locals live. Once away from the centre of town we noticed the quality of houses and indeed maintenance of houses was a lot poorer.

We then caught a bus which travelled the long way back to the downtown area where we stopped to view the tourist Mecca of jewellery stores and junk.

This is a Christian Totem explaining the story of Easter. See the accompanying photo for an explanation.

This is a Christian Totem explaining the story of Easter. See the accompanying photo for an explanation.

The totem story of Easter.

The totem story of Easter.Enlarge the photo.

We found a coffee shop which had WiFi, an hour for $5. As this was

our first chance to communicate with the world since leaving Vancouver we had a snack and coffee and used our email and Skype as wisely as an hour would allow. Interestingly, the WiFi was available free in the street and hordes of people were lined up beside the storefront with their mobile phones and iPads. Once again the locals and tourists stood out. Despite a lovely sunny day it was cold in the shade especially with a biting wind whipping through the streets. The tourists were rugged up, the locals in shorts and T-shirts.

Three cruise ships arrived this morning, all visible at the downtown docks.

PEARL is "parked" in downtown Ketchikan.

PEARL is “parked” in downtown Ketchikan.

Many stores sell local salmon, halibut and various crab products canned, dried or smoked even jerkied and all at much dearer prices than on supermarket shelves. The original Creek Street has houses and a footpath built on stilts over the creek. Some of the houses appear to be on the original rotting timbers.

Donnis at Creek Street

Donnis at Creek Street

One store which was the original brothel 100 years ago is now a museum with a couple of ladies of the night enticing tourists to enter.

Creek Street Shops on a timber boardwalk on a suspended platform. Note the madame having a cigarette and trying to entice a customer into the "brothel".

Creek Street Shops on a timber boardwalk on a suspended platform. Note the madame having a cigarette and trying to entice a customer into the “brothel”.

Most of the stores in this area were geared to tourists, naturally and did have some nice products locally made and local painters and photographers focused on local subjects such as whales, orcas, moose, elk, wolves and bald eagles. We inspected one jewelery store which advertised the best of both worlds – gold from Canada and opal from Australia. It was interesting to see opal from Lightning Ridge where Donnis worked over Christmas last year.

This store sold Alaskan Gold and Australian Opal.

This store sold Alaskan Gold and Australian Opal.

We took a funicular ( following is a list of funicular trams around the world http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_funicular_railways by world standards this is a short ride) ride to the top of a steep hill. Apart from a flat area around the docks, Ketchican is comprised of steep hills. At the top of the fernicular is the entrance to a very expensive 5 star hotel.

Our first furnicular.

Our first funicular.

Hmmm. Look at the stiocker on the rear window. United States Marine Corp. Then look at the number plate which explains a great deal

Hmmm. Look at the stiocker on the rear window. United States Marine Corp. Then look at the number plate which explains a great deal

Totems on the hill  at the end of the furnicular.

Totems on the hill at the end of the furnicular.

As the afternoon wore on our resistance to the cold wind lessened so we went aboard o the warmth and food coziness of PEARL.

These beaut little electric cars were available for hire. That would have been fun...except finding parking is the same anywhere...a nightmare.

These beaut little electric cars were available for hire. That would have been fun…except finding parking is the same anywhere…a nightmare.

PEARL at Ketchikan.

PEARL at Ketchikan.

During our time on this cruise we have met a number of interesting people;

Erica and Adam from Rapid City, South Dakota who we kept bumping into, cameras drawn ready to record our trip. I am sure Erica will not mind if I mention her photography business. She has some wonderful photos and she is well travelled. Have a look at www.ericalanephotography.com

Durga and Venkat are from Perth and it seems we kept going to the same places so it was inevitable that we got to know each other and share adventures.

Reg and Ann from Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. Reg was once a General Insurance Broker but has recently retired as a Cherry Broker. Yep he found the right cherries at the right price and arranged shipments for buyers around the world. Interesting stories.

Alan and Julie live in Newcastle Australia and have Cruise and Airline help Facebook site. Hmmm. We will be talking with them before making any future major travel plans.

Tonight we begin a full day of cruising with no stops until we reach…drumroll… Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada.

We will see you in a couple of days.

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