Thursday 14th May
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the afternoon wore on our resistance to the cold wind lessened so we went aboard o the warmth and food coziness of PEARL.
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.