Prince Rupert - Juneau Part 2
Part II: Ketchikan - Wrangell - Petersburg
Departed Ketchikan on time at 7pm. Steamed past the airport whose runway has seemingly been carved out of the side of a mountain and has precipitous sides which go down about 100 ft to the water... Not a place to run off the runway!
Found the bar open but quite empty so tried out a couple of beers to keep the bartender company. Alaska IPA and Alaskan Summer Ale both from the micro brewery in Juneau. The IPA is 6.5% and has a good hoppy taste but is served cold and is slightly carbonated. The Summer Ale is a ' Kolsch style ale' and just another lager as far as I am concerned!
Went for a final stroll round the decks before retiring to the reclining lounge which was more comfortable than the plastic pool loungers on the open and heated, yes, HEATED solarium!
03:55 24th July.
Woke as we left Wrangell but back to sleep until we got to Petersburg.
The approach to Petersburg was through a very narrow channel. The town looks like it is primarily a fishing port. It was interesting to see float planes hauled up onto pontoons, presumably to stop weed from growing on the floats. there was a harbor seal scavenging fish around the main fish landing stage.
We left Petersburg at 05:30 and headed out towards Juneau. Standing in the stern watching Petersburg recede into the gloom I heard the honking of sealions and found that there were four of them crowded onto a red and white navigation buoy with a red ball balanced on top. Very appropriate for sealions!
We had been told that we would probably see whales in the first hour but By 07:00 there was not a sign of them so I went to the cafeteria and had porridge followed by a 'short stack with bacon', i.e. Two plate sized pancakes with six rashers of crispy bacon, topped of with butter and maple syrup... And a mug of coffee to wash it down.
Walked round the ship twice and then headed back to the observation lounge and shortly afterwards I spotted a blow about a mile off the port bow and that was the start of about an hours viewing of tens of humpbacks spread over quite an area. They gave a good display of blows, humps and tails and one in the distance was tail slapping like made and finished off with a breach causing an enormous splash.
The weather is still misty and this has stopped us from seeing the glaciers off to starboard. However, right on cue during the Park Ranger's talk just as she was explaining what glaciers are and how icebergs are calved from them a passenger piped up ' just like the one behind you!' and a small blue berg floated past about 500m away on the port side.
10:30 final run into Juneau
We arrive in Juneau at 13:00 and I head for the Hostel I booked from Prince Rupert. I need to find a store that sells gas for my stove and find a way to get to Glacier Bay tomorrow so that I can camp overnight and catch the 07:00 tour departing from the jetty. I have managed to avoid camping so far but it's time to take the plunge and start doing things properly!
Got talking to a fellow passenger, who was returning six weeks after having a knee replaced in Florida, and she kindly gave me a lift into town. She is a state prosecutor here in Juneau. The hostel is closed till 17:00 so I have left my rucksac in a shed round the back and headed down the hill to a coffee shop to eat and communicate with you!
Juneau mountain rises pretty much vertically behind the hostel and reaches 3576 ft within two miles. After I have sorted out my travel to Glacier Bay I will attempt the Mount Roberts trail which goes to 3810ft but has the advantage that there is a cable car which you can get back down for the last 1500ft for $10.
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