Tom’s Adventures in Alaska
Snorkeling in Ketchikan
Tell me, who would ever think of snorkeling in Alaska? Alaska is an adventure state, but snorkeling? So while I was visiting the totem mecca of the universe: Saxman, Potlatch Park, and Totem Bight State Historical Park (by local bus), Tom was squeezing into a wet suit and snorkeling in a cove off the coast of Ketchikan.
Below are Tom’s title and words of this adventure.
“Snorkeling in Alaska (or how to avoid Another Bloody Totem tour)
If someone started to tell you a story about snorkeling in Alaska, your first impulse would be to assume that they are starting to tell you some kind of joke. The same reaction you would have if they said “a Jew, a Catholic and a Muslim went into a bar.”
I can report that there really are snorkeling adventures in Alaska; Ketchikan to be specific. I partook of snorkeling trip on August 15. The water was reported to be a balmy 59oF (14oC). The professionally run outfitters at Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventures provided wetsuits and instructions on how to squeeze into these contraptions. Fully protected, we waded into the waters of Ketchikan Bay and while snorkeling for 80 minutes saw numerous fish, starfish of many colors, and more shellfish than your local seafood market.
The wetsuits did their job nicely. I would highly recommend anyone to take a cruise on the inside passage from Vancouver to Alaska, and after seeing all the beauty on land, why not give snorkeling a try. Now let me tell you about snow-shoeing on a glacier in Jamaica.”
Kayaking in Hoonah
Hoonah is in the Icy Straight in the inner passage to Alaska. We stopped at this port when we had to tender in boats in order to reach land. Now Hoonah harbor is first rate. There used to be only one old building that looked like a big barn, a community house, and a zip-line. Now restaurants, a mini-mall, a museum, offers of bear and whale watching and kayaking are offered to tourists.
I chose to walk to the town of Hoonah which was about 2 miles from the ship. I will write about my experiences later. Tom decided to kayak for about three hours in the bay with about nine other adventurists.
Mountains touch the sky when you are gliding across the water. Before Tom could get his paddle wet, someone yelled “whales!” What? Tom is kayaking in the water and there are whales. Yes, there were three whales circling the huge bay. All at once boats scooted across the waves over toward where the kayakers were hanging out.
Tom, as usual, was separated a little from the kayakers, so I thought, the whale is going to come up under him. Fear is a mild word for what I was feeling. They were spouting everywhere, it seemed. Tales were flying in the air. But Tom says that he was not afraid. He was thrilled to be so close to the very cold water and paddling with the Humpback whales. The whales did not harm anyone. (They were about 66,000 pounds each.) They sort of danced around everyone for about a half hour. It seemed as if they knew I was worried, and swam toward me which was about fifty feet from where I was watching the drama!
Flying in a Bush Plane to Misty Fjord
Tom’s last adventure was at Ketchikan on our return cruise. Owners of bush planes were offering flights into Misty Fjord and Tongass National Monument. I was not too keen on the adventure. I had on some of our past cruises flown in a small jet to Tikal, circled Mt. Everest, and the Artic Circle. I was content with enjoying Ketchikan for the day. Misty Fjord is not accessible by anything but a plane. The bush plane circled around the fjords and then landed in the middle of one. Tom trekked outside to stand on the pontoon on the plane for a photo. “Gorgeous” is a word Tom used to describe the landscape.
Besides the pilot, there were three other passengers in the plane plus Tom. There was no attendant to hand out drinks and peanuts!! Photographs were taken by the pilot! What fun! More coming on Alaska soon!
As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge