Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Alaska Cruise: Ketchikan I (7/31/2019)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Docking in Ketchikan, AK
Knowing there is no guarantee, we wanted to increase our chances of seeing bears swiping salmon out of rivers. We hired a private tour guide, Rich Lee, of Aurora Tours, and met the Tlingit native shortly after the ship arrived in Ketchikan, at 7:15. He drove us SE around Deer Mountain Point, then N to Herring Cove. We saw bald eagles and their nests.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus/Bald Eagle (EHS)
Perhaps because the tide was out, there was less salmon activity in the shallow water of Herring Cove. One bear kept going behind a turn farther upstream near the fish hatchery. Another picked berries way back near trees behind a large grassy area surrounded by a boardwalk.
Erich, Pete, and Dylan search for bears
Bear footprints below us
Tamiko, Dylan, Pete, Kent, Erich (photo by Rich Lee);
note black dot above Pete and to the L of Kent's head: a black bear;
yes, it was drizzling rain
Ketchikan has one of the highest average rainfalls in Alaska at 141 inches.
That Ursus americanus/Black Bear did eventually come to the water's edge

(Video by EHS)
Dylan and Pete watch two black dots, I mean bears; one chased the other away
Next stop: Whitman Creek waterfall,
with Pete, Erich, and Dylan
Pete, Erich, Dylan, Tamiko, and Kent (by Rich Lee)
Oh, did you want to see the waterfall?
Heading back towards town, a stop to see fishing boats ...
Dylan and Erich, Pete and Kent walk out along
the floating dock, which is basically sitting
on the bottom of the boat harbor at low tide
The tide change seems to average about 12 feet, but has reached nearly 24 feet!
Nereocystis luetkeana/Bull Kelp
Another bald eagle (EHS)
Another stop to see a) how thin the topsoil is in Ketchikan, and b)
the gap where winds come storming in at over 100 mph;
the construction is of a house to replace one crushed by a wind-blown tree
One of many toppled trees along this stretch of the road
Another stop for a better view of the access to the Pacific Ocean
Original chief's totem at 2760 S Tongass "Highway;"
it has plants growing out of the top
Saxman Tlingit (pronounced kling-kit) Village,
where Rich Lee grew up, with replicas of totems
We were driven back along S Tongass Highway, made a right turn at Deermount Street, and a left around City Park.
Because the town sits on granite, the football/soccer field
is covered with gravel instead of grass;
playing field lines are drawn the day of a game
The money the city earns on tourism is used for the benefit of the citizens, with new schools and community centers, a trade school, hospital additions, etc. Continued along Schoenbar Road.
Hilltop view of West Ketchikan and the airport across the waterway;
one must take a ferry to the airport (KSS)
Striking (7/24-8/4/2019) Alaska Marine Highway ferry system workers,
who had been working without a contract since 2017
Trying to get a photo of the Norwegian Jewel
We were dropped off at the ship.
Next: Ketchikan II.

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