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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Alaskan Adventure - Inner Passage

The appearance of Mt. Fairweather was the signal that soon we would be entering the famous Alaskan ‘Inner Passage’. If you’ve been on an Alaskan cruise, you know what I’m going to be talking about. Wow! When Himself and I were planning our upcoming cruise I suggested we do the Alaskan package. He reminded me that he goes that route 2 to 4 times a year. Yeah…yeah.

The passage from Point Spenser to Ketchikan is full of mountainous islands with snow covered peaks, quiet coves & passes full of fishing boats and an abundance of wildlife.

Along one area a pod of Dall porpoise rode the wake of the Independence for about 40 minutes. They would zoom along in the wake of the ship, tho for them it was probably like skiing a bunny slope. Dall can swim up to 25 miles an hour…the Indy – on a good day going with the tide and a strong tail wind – can get up to 9 miles an hour. From a port hole in the bow, I was able to watch them and get some great photos of their games.

One time I was outside the bridge door taking some shots of a light house and I kept hearing a squeaking noise. Kinda like the sound of wet rubber-soled shoes on a vinyl floor. I finally looked around to try to figure out what sort of “Indy noise” that was (you wouldn’t believe the variety of sounds that ship can make!). Just as I turned I saw a huge fin slicing out of the water… a big male orca! He was gone too quickly to get a picture. A few minutes later I heard the squeaking again and started looking. Sure enough, there he was. This time he was too far to get a photo. Drat! Several more times I turned at the sound of his squeaks to watch him glide away from us.
Ketchikan was the first place you could get a good cell phone signal. So for that small portion of the trip, so many people were up on the deck calling home…some for the first time in several months. I’d been to Ketchikan in ’02, so it was fun to see it from the water side instead of the road side.

After leaving Ketchikan the passage narrows, becoming more “fjord” like, the land goes UP even more sharply...resulting in waterfall after waterfall.
Some started at the top of the mountain and fell 300-400 feet to the waters of the passage.
There are abandoned salmon canneries,

Logging camps,

Beautiful homes

And all along the passage are lighthouses.
So… have you booked your cruise yet???

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