Friday 2 September 2011

WT - Alaska Ketchikan

We arose at a reasonable hour today (08:00) had a very lazy breakfast in bed… ah! This is the life:) Watched a little telly (love cartoons my favourite is Road Runner and I’m always rooting for Wylie Coyote).
We made our way to the observation deck (our favourite possie – to see if we could see any whales, we have had glimpses but each only a few seconds and at quite a distance so not enough to photograph unfortunately.

We arrived and docked in Ketchikan, the oldest port in Alaska today at 10:00 am. Ronnie and I had not pre-booked any  of the tours preferring to wing it and we really only wanted a quick rundown on the local community and it’s history. We waited an hour to avoid the queue’s going ashore before setting off on our exploration adventure – find a local tour:) Within seconds of getting ashore we had found an inexpensive local tour by one of the Saxman locals. “Wildlife Spectacular” Saxman Native village, Rainforest, City Tour and Wildlife … all in ONE QUALITY 2 – Hour Tour, is what the brochure read. The reason I mention this is so that you do not waste your time and money on this less than extremely disappointing mumbled um! Ah! Nonsense in a hot smelly overcrowded van (Ronnie kept referring to is as a Chova-chova) – experience.

As I said to Ronnie, the law of averages dictates that we should have at least one really bad experience from time to time and it’s been a while since the New Zealand low point, (really praying that that was the worst though). A few people have asked if the guy survived, I don’t know but I think (and hope) he would have passed on fairly quickly. Anyway enough gloom and doom!

Ketchikan is home to 3 Indian tribes; Tlingit, Haida and Tsimsham and we did learn a little about these tribes and their totem poles from local shopkeepers when we went walkabout after the spectacular tour.  The Ketchikan summer holiday season starts mid May and ends mid September and the population is quite substantial at around 14,000 inhabitants. It rained about 4 times in the 4 hours that we were ashore but this is not unusual as it rains an average of 360 days per year so if you like the wet then this is the place for you.


Ronnie was really impressed with the homes in this area.

Salmon swimming upstream

Someone can see inside my head - Huey, Dewey & Louie :-)


I took Ronnie along Creek Street as it is an historic district with a difference; this was the waterfront red light district until 1954. Prudes may wish to stop here! and skip the rest.

We actually went through Madam Dolly’s bordello – she was one of the more infamous ladies of the night and passed away in the 1970’s at age 82 if my memory serves correctly. The crooked boardwalk on palings above the Ketchikan Creek supported 30 gentleman’s “Sporting Houses” in it’s heyday and a lot of these buildings have been restored for use as novelty shops. Dolly’s house however has been maintained as authentic as possible by the “Girls”. It is said that she (Dolly) rarely went out - commenting that she preferred to make money from her clients. I wonder what she did with all the money, she never had children or married and she certainly didn’t have any luxuries so it appears to me that she accumulated but never enjoyed the fruits of her labour (so to speak). I hope she was very happy else what a tragic waste! 

Gentleman's Dunny (WC)

Hidden Liquor Cabinet


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