Friday, January 2, 2015

The Coral Princess Northbound Cruise and Land Tour Day 3

The Coral Princess Northbound Cruise and Land Tour
Ketchikan, AK

I had poured over as many reviews on Cruise Critic as humanly possible before taking this cruise and one common theme, especially for photographers, was to wake up early and try to be one of the first people off the ship. This piece of advice doled out over and over again was especially poignant when the Coral Princess docked in Ketchikan alongside the Norwegian Jewel. This small coastal town was soon to be over run with thousands of tourists milling about and while it's sometimes nice to have a few folks in a photo, it can also be incredibly frustrating when you end up waiting for what can be a long time to get a clear shot of an old and beautiful building. We also had less than 8 hours in port, so I was up with the birds, hopped off the ship and snapped away.

While in Ketchikan I also opted to forgo any additional excursions and decided to just wander the streets, seeing what I could find. Beforehand though I read Dolly's House: Ketchikan's Last Legal Madam and I knew that I had to stop by the infamous Dolly's House and walk the Married Man's trail, beyond that I had no itinerary to speak of. The streets and any points of interest though are excellently marked with signs pointing you in the direction of your choosing, so even for the directionally challenged, such as myself, it was easy to find my way around meeting new folks along the way.

We also happened to be lucky though, going to Alaska in mid August, we were there during peak salmon spawning season. Not only was there a constant abundance of fresh salmon to be had in any fashion you could imagine, but the streams and creeks were overflowing with them, providing me with some fun photo opportunities.

Phone booths, while incredibly rare to come across anywhere in New York State, were commonly seen in several cities in Alaska, like this one in Ketchikan.

I ended up winding my way to the Totem Heritage Museum, (admission must be paid in cash) and I was really glad I did. It was a  great introduction and learning experience to see the artifacts and culture of the Tlingit Native Americans who call this region of Alaska home. The museum features a mixture of original totem artifacts and newly reconstructed totem poles and other Tlingit artifacts, made by the members of the present day Tlingit community, which helps to keep the tradition and culture alive from their ancestors.

By the time I was done looking around the Totem Heritage Museum, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining in one of Alaska's wettest city's. I found my way back to Creek Street, the original red light district of Ketchikan, where "sporting women" aka legal prostitutes, flourished well up until 1954, when the trade was made illegal.

One of Creek Street's most well known madams was Dolly Arthur and her house is now a museum and open for tours. Kept very much the way it was in her heyday, the house is a fabulous flashback in time where you can see Dolly's collections, where she hid illegal booze in the days of prohibition and even a lock of her hair.

After I was done at Dolly's House I walked around exploring the side streets and soaking up the sun in one of Alaska's rainiest cities. This rather ironically would be the last day we saw the sun for quite some time.

A popular excursion for this port was the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, featured above. My parents both decided to do this, a short walk from the ship, it was a show they really enjoyed.

On my way back to the ship, I decided to make one last pit stop to the bridge that was bubbling with ambitious fishermen. Shortly after arriving this man snagged a big one and was patient enough to provide me and a couple of other lucky photographers with a quick photo op.

And here's a quick video highlight of my day wandering around the quaint Alaskan coastal town of Ketchikan.

Unfortunately I can't figure out to make this bigger and to display it in the full 1080p on command, so make sure to enlarge and select 1080p!

Next up will be the coastal port and capital of Alaska, Juneau.

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