30th May, 2017
The time had finally arrived for our departure to Seattle via a direct flight to Vancouver. As our departure time was relatively early in the morning, we drove down to Brisbane the previous day and spent a night at a nearby motel.
We chose to fly with Air Canada from Brisbane to Vancouver as it was the shortest direct flight that we could find. The aircraft was a Boeing 787-9 aka Dreamliner, very roomy and comfortable. We touched down in Vancouver on time (actually due to the time difference, we arrived before we had departed Brisbane!) and then had to make our way in transit to the US border control before we could enter the departure lounge for our connecting flight to Seattle. To say we had to jump through a lot of hoops would be putting it mildly. Months ago we had applied for our US Visa Waiver permits which were approved without problem but even so the border entry requirements were a bit over the top – electronic fingerprinting and facial photographs and then several different face-to-face checkpoints. Eventually we made it through and then had a several hour delay due to low ceiling in Seattle.
Our aircraft for this leg was a bit more downmarket – a Bombardier Dash 8-300 but it was just a short flight so not too uncomfortable. I had booked a hotel close to the airport as we would be flying out again the next morning to our cruise departure point in Ketchikan, Alaska.
The hotel shuttle collected us and returned us to the airport making it very easy.
31st May, 2017
The flight to Ketchikan was also fairly short but this time we were aboard an Alaska Air 737. Our descent into Ketchikan airport was a great introduction to Alaska.
I had booked our cruise with Alaskan Dream Cruises through a US Travel Agent, Patty Crichton of Alaska and Beyond, who specialises in small ship Alaskan cruises and I must say everything went as planned from this point until the end of the cruise. We were met at the airport and transferred to our hotel, Cape Fox Lodge, which would be our overnight accommodation prior to our cruise departure the next day. Our room was very nicely appointed and faced the mountains behind the hotel, overlooking a group of totem poles placed close to the hotel entrance.
The view from the hotel restaurant where we had lunch.
A funicular made the journey down to the town very easy.
Ketchikan is a port for many of the huge cruise liners that ply the Inside Passage and there were two ships in port on the day we arrived, pouring a couple of thousand tourists into the town which is made up mostly of souvenir and jewellery shops hoping to separate the tourists from their money. We walked the streets to get a feel for the place but it was all a bit too “touristy” for us. Still Erich got some nice photos.
One of the cruise ships to the right of the photo.
We saw the first of what were to be many Bald Eagles here.
Along one of the docks, we came across about 6 large mosaics mounted on pylons along the water’s edge. Loved this octopus.
Too many photos for one post so I have split the Ketchikan photos over two posts.