Our port of entry into Alaska was Ketchikan. Ketchikan is a mix of tourism and gritty fishing port. Ketchikan calls itself the salmon capital of the world but a better name would be the cruise ship capital of the world. Cruise ships tower over the historic downtown and passengers flood the streets until 3pm when they all re-board their ships. We enjoyed exploring the historic district and museums when the town was quiet. The positive from all cruise ships is that money is available to keep up the historical sites. We have seen many places, especially in British Columbia where there is not enough money to do so.
This is the end of road for us on the way to South Sawyer Glacier. From here on the ice coverage is close to 7/10 and too dense for Thor to pass without damaging the underwater paint or prop.
Throughout our voyage, we have been truly impressed with how bountiful bald eagles are in BC and Alaska. Our next stop, Wrangell, was no exception. At any one time, it was easy to spot a half dozen eagles in the trees adjacent to the marina. They are very vocal birds, tweeting in high pitches, when other eagles or their nemesis crows were flying above. Admitting the skipper got a little concerned when an eagle decided to have a little closer inspection of our mast-top wind indicator.
Slide show-- be patient with download
Not only the Glaciers are impressive. The mountains, waterfalls, and rock formations are stunning---rivalining anything in Yoosemite.
As we left Petersburg, we began to see more and more ice. These photos do not hardly capture their form and beauty. As only 1/10 of the iceberg is usually out of the water, they are surely a great hazard to navigation. The skipper has to be always on watch. Even the smallest can weigh several thousand pounds while the larger ones are a multiple of Thor's weight. The white and blue ice comes from high on the glacier while the clear ice has been more compacted lower in the glacier. Clear ice is especially hard to spot and rides deeper in the water.
As we travel further north, the tidal rise and currents are becoming more and more impressive. Take a look this this fish off-loading facility in Petersburg. 20 ft tides are normal. Unfortunately for Melissa, obtaining fish has been difficult----everyone catches them themselves so there is no grocery store with fish on their shelves.
Seals find protection from Orcas near the Glacier where there is plenty of ice and the water is cloudy with run off from the Glacier.
In many situations we have found the inventiveness of Alaskans impressive. Due to the high cost of transport, many times things are improvised. In this case, a spud barge was dragged to the side of the marina and made a large home! The question is---- who inspects this? The Coast Guard or the City Building Inspector?
Each town we have visited, has an intriguing history--- Wrangell was established originally by the Russians to control the fur trade, when Petersburg was settled by the Norwegians who where focused on the fishing industry.
Sailing to the Ends of the Earth