Taku

August 28 we woke to rain and we so comfy in our room that we arranged for a late check out and spent the morning relaxing and packing for the ferry. One last lunch in Cow Bay and we were off to clear customs and board the ferry.
Customs was a piece of cake and left us both wondering why we had to be there 3 hours before our departure. I guess their game is to watch the Americans sit in their cars in line waiting to board… no worries, we started reading a book until they came out and loaded us on the boat.
Once the car was parked in our designated spot for the duration of the trip, we headed to the purser’s office to get our cabin assignment then on to our cabin – 24B. The cabin was small yet larger than we expected with a great view. We quickly unpacked and set out exploring the ship that would be our home for the next couple of days.
The Alaska Marine Highway system was set up to accommodate the local population to get around where there are no roads but there were many tourists on board as well – Americans, Canadians and many other nationalities. We were surprised at how many people young and old alike that did not book cabins choosing to sleep in recliners, on deck and on the floor of viewing areas. We were very happy that we had chosen a cabin with a view and private bathroom!
The first stop was at midnight in Ketchikan and would be our longest stop of the trip so we decided to get off the boat and headed out looking for adventure. We soon discovered that only bars were open and we weren’t quite ready for the kind of adventure that they seemed to offer so we headed right back to the boat and bed.
We woke to the beauty of Alaska from every side of the ship. Both of us were in constant amazement of the beauty and lack of human interference this area of the world offers. Everyone kept telling us what we would be seeing if there weren’t so many thick clouds, but we enjoyed the sights we could see and couldn’t imagine that it could be any prettier. We saw so many humpbacks and a large pod of orca that we became jaded to the sights. Occasionally one of us would point and say “oh look, more whales.”
The people who worked on the boat were all very friendly and proud to be from Alaska. They all were happy to stop what they were doing to chat with us. When Robin mentioned to the purser that she worked for a boating magazine they rolled out the red carpet for the two of us. We got to tour the bridge and ask as many questions as we liked. The captains (and crew) took time when they were available to share their ship and adventures with us. Dan, the First Mate, took us on an adventure in Kake to see the world’s tallest totem pole and to look for bears. We enjoyed the totem and saw lots of salmon but not any bears… another reason to come back!
Sitka was a port of call at 1:45 in the morning so we decided to sleep but everyone kept telling us it was a shame we couldn’t see the city and that it was the prettiest port on the schedule. (another reason to come back?)
We woke early to watch the ship navigate through very narrow channels. One was only 120 feet wide and the boat is 80 feet wide… no room for mistakes! The crew made it look effortless. We spent the day watching the spectacular landscapes slide by and played many rounds of crazy eights to pass the time – we were ready to get to Juneau.
As we rounded the tip of Douglas Island we could see Juneau and the Mendenhall Glacier. Robin was texting Stacy and Frank and we were all excited to get to see each other! We met at the Island Pub for some fantastic pizza and salad and maybe just a little conversation. Robin was so excited to see Stacy that when they hugged Robin couldn’t let Stacy go…
The baby has not made her arrival yet, so we are going to explore Juneau until she decides she is ready to meet us…

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