First stop is Ketchikan. Located at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s Inside Passage, the ship works its way through a network of waterways and some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world. Ketchikan is known for salmon, incredible scenery, totem poles and rain … it is the rain capital of Alaska and on average gets some form of precipitation on about 234 days per year.
Today we’re headed out on the “Deadliest Catch Crab Fishermen’s Tour”. The “Aleutian Ballad” is a fishing boat that was featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” season 2. According to its crew, the boat is the luckiest boat around having survived countless near-tragedies in the storm ravaged Bering Sea.
Before the boat’s luck ran out, the owner decided to retire the boat and retrofitted it for guests comfort and fun, with a “live” tank on deck to allow for closer viewing of the creatures brought on board. Their presentation included personal stories about the hazards and tragedies of this dangerous occupation as well as their love for the sea and fishing.
It’s a beautiful sunny day in Ketchikan … we had been hearing about a typhoon that was devastating Alaska. When asked about it, Andy, one of the crab fishing crew said that typhoon is on the other side of the Aleutian Island chain. The gulf of Alaska is protected by the Aleutian Islands. The weather so far on this trip has been incredible.
The crew was very genuine and dedicated to educating visitors about their fishing heritage and the local Metlakatla Indian Community located on Annette Island reservation. The surrounding waters where the tour takes place is part of the reservation. According to the Tour’s agreement with the Metlakatla tribe, all sea creatures brought aboard are returned to the water except for the rockfish which die quickly in 3-4 minutes. They are used for bait.
Back in Ketchikan, we still have a couple hours before the cruise ship departs. On previous trips, I’ve visited Totem Bight State Historical Park and Saxman Village to explore Totem Poles. Not enough time today to do either. The streets of Ketchikan are full of shops that sell Tanzanite jewelry, furs and other tourist souvenirs.