Beautiful sunshine welcomes us as we cruise towards Ketchikan, today’s destination. From our cabins’ balconies we watch as the ship docks in the harbor, and soon after we disembark for our excursion, the Misty Fjords Flightseeing trip!
Joined by a couple from Arkansas, we meet our pilot Kevin at Southeast Aviation. Kevin’s dad is from Livermore, so we immediately feel like we picked the right tour! We hop on board the seaplane – Kirk in the back, with windows on both sides for the best camera access, me one row up, and Tina & Charly right over the wings, behind the pilot. After a two minute safety briefing, we are off to our 1 1/2 hours adventure. The weather could not be any more perfect that what we experience today, and Keith takes a flight path slightly off the usual trek, to show us his favorite route which is even more spectacular than I had anticipated.
Misty Fjords National Monument is southeast Alaska’s most popular saltwater fjord, located 20 minutes by air from Ketchikan, offering views of soaring cliffs, saw-toothed ridges, sky-blue lakes and plunging waterfalls, which are especially grand after the heavy rains from the last few days. While we don’t get to see any bears or mountain goats, we do see a big group of harbor seals on a rock island, and even spot an orca swimming in the water below.
After about 45 minutes Kevin lands the plane on the water in the middle of nowhere. It is quiet around us, and breathtakingly beautiful. We get to step off the plane and stand on the pontoons for a few photos, before re-boarding. We take a different route on the way back to see even more of the beautiful scenery, before landing back at the dock.
This was hands down the highlight of our cruise trip!
We head back onto the ship by early afternoon, to shed some of our layers as it has gotten pretty warm in town, and also to grab a bite to eat.
Soon enough, we are off the ship again, this time to explore Newtown and Downtown Ketchikan. The waterfront is very touristy, much like the other towns, but just a few blocks away from the harbor we find the Ketchikan Creek, and the salmon ladder that allows the fish to get up and over (or past) the rocks and roaring waters right here. We watch as hundreds of salmon attempt to jump up the waterfall (and fail), while only one or two actually find their way up the ladder. The fun never stops.
As we continue our stroll through town, Kirk finds the only local brewery (Bawden Street brewery), where we stop for refreshments, before slowly making our way back towards the ship before departure and dinner aboard.