Ketchikan: A Morning of Crabbing

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.

It’s an incredibly scenic voyage into Ketchikan. No rain today.

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.

Andy, the Aleutian Ballad’s engineer, picked us up from the cruise ship and drove us to the crab boat. He and Toni walk the ramp to the boat.
The Aleutian Ballad crabbing boat has been retrofitted with seating to accommodate the tour audience. In addition to learning about crab fishing it’s a bird’s eye view of the magnificient scenery. (Image from Flickr)

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.

Throwing a rope to retrieve the king crab cage.
A winch and a platform raises to help accommodate the cage.
Crew member Melissa holds a King Crab that was just removed from a trap brought on the boat. She is a native of Ketchikan who has been working the tour for a few years. Ironically, she does not like seafood.
Theresa is talking to a box crab, one of the many creatures passed around for guests to hold and take a good look at.
A live starfish was also found in the trap.
This crab trap often comes up with an Octopus who has just eaten the bait.
Since the Octopi keep eating the crab bait, the crew decided to make them part of the show. Octopi have nine brains and three hearts and they camouflage well … in the tank, it looked like a large stone in the corner.
The Crab boat has a snack bar that served coffee, beverages, snacks and fresh crab with warm melted butter … which was delicious. A great quick lunch.
Returning to the dock we noticed the yellow lifeboats from our ship floating around like ducks. Glad to see the ship’s crew has training and practice accommodating the lifeboats. They should make it an excursion, I’d go.
Close to the dock, the Asylum bar is a favorite place to get Wi-Fi and check emails. (The cruise ship charges for Wi-Fi).
Darn! We have to buy a gin & tonic to get the Wi-Fi code.

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.

This town depends on cruise ship tourists for its livelihood especially after two covid years when there were no cruise ships at their docks.
Theresa that hat is you!
New sunglasses and a few magnets later … we’re headed back to the cruise ship.
Walking back to the ship, we noticed a rather large pink bear on the top deck.
Bad girls sit in the back of the ship. It’s a great view as we depart Ketchikan.
Goodbye Ketchikan!
Next stop was the Solarium pool for an afternoon of relaxing with a book.
The six of us gather for dinner at the main dining room. It’s a good time to share what we all did during the day.
After dinner, everyone was tired. Sally and I finished the evening at the “Sequins and Feathers” production show.

Published by

Jane is a resident of Browndale neighborhood in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: