Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day #6 Alaska Vacation Friday 5/15/09 Ketchikan

On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to give thanks and prayers to all who have served in the military and are currently serving our country while in the military. And especially give thanks and prayers to all that gave their lives and to their families for their loss, on this special day of remembrance.

For some reason, we have been having a problem with wake up alarm on on cell phone. This morning it went off at 2AM. Then I woke up again at 4AM and it was almost light outside, so I layed in bed for another 45 minutes and decided to go ahead and get up. We had a short day allowed for Ketchikan. The ship was going to only be in port from 6AM and we would be departing at 1:30PM. This meant that we had to be on board by 1PM for the 1:30PM sailing time. I had overheard someone talking about them missing the all aboard time and it cost them some good money to hook up with the ship at the next port. I sure did not want that to happen to us. We had scheduled and paid for an excursion called the Misty Fjord Wilderness Cruise. We got off the ship a little after 6AM and headed over to the place where we were supposed to meet our contact person for this excursion. Usually they have many different contact people for assorted excursions and they almost all want to meet in basically the same general area. The contact people hold up large card with the name of the excursion on it. You have to be careful because many of the excursion name are very similar...the various vendors just change the name a wee bit even though the actual excursion is the same. They all charge different amounts for the same excursion too. We located our contact person. When we first met her, we told here our concerns about the excursion ending later than 1PM and that we had to be on board by then. She assured us that they would have us back before 1PM. We kept relaying our concerns to her but we did not feel comfortable with the time situation nor how she was answering our questions and concerns. She then called her boss and relayed our concerns to him. She came back to us and told us that her boss said that we would be back between 11 and 11:30. Now that was a real time change compared to what she had said earlier. I was almost ready to cancel but when she came back with the early time return, we felt a little better about the situation. Unfortunately that feeling did not last the whole day. Our small group..maybe 12 of us...walked to another dock and boarded another smaller vessel. It had lines of seats and large viewing windows, a back deck area and a top deck area for viewing and photography purposes. So off we took going here there and everywhere. We finally arrived at the Misty Fjord area, which is in the Tongass National Forest. It took us quite a long time until we arrived there. We kept cruising slowly through mountainous areas. It was an ok excursion but the worst of all that we went on and I would not part with our money again for this one...once was quite enough thank you. We eventually got to a floating dock area and pulled up to the dock. As it turns out, some of the passengers paid a lot of money to take a float plane back to Ketchikan. The others would return to Katchikan by boat, which was about 2 hours away. There was just us and 2 other couples left on the boat. One of the couples were from the Pearl, just like us and they were in the same predicament that we were. If it took 2 hours to get back to Ketchikan and another 10 minute walk to the ship, it would put us well after our sailing time not mention our all aboard time. We talked to the Capt of the boat along with the narrator who was working the excursion. We explained the situation about being late for our ship sailing if we stayed on the boat. When I told them the girls name that we spoke to on the dock, they had never heard of her. They basically stated that they would pile the extra people onto the 2 float planes that had arrived for the paying customers and that they don't deal with the billing of the flight. So they took everyone's weight down to make sure the plane could handle it and put us on the bigger float plane. Now here I was...never having been on a float plane, been talking to Veronica about taking one to a remote lake in Canada when we go up there to fish and I can't really enjoy it much because I am concerned it will cost us $500 for both of us. The plane trip was kind of cool...you fly over mountains and see things from a different angle but that $500 kept gnawing at me. We ended up landing after an approximately 30 minute flight. We got back with plenty of time to spare. It was only about 11AM, so we decided to see if we could locate the girl that we had spoke to originally.We could not find her but we did walk into a building that had all kinds vendors for excursions. I had one of them that was a real jerk. He asked me if I wanted to do a float plane trip. I told him no. He stated that I had the money for it...I told him no I don't and he told me that he is the one who pre-approves people to go on the trip. By now I was getting angry...I just wanted to find someone affiliated with our trip so we wouldn't get charge extra for flying. So I walk up to the counter and spoke to the vendor that was next to Mr. Jerk After explaining what happened, the person I spoke to turned and told me that I had to speak to this guy...you got it...it was Mr. Jerk He starts giving me the ole song and dance routine. We asked him for the name of person in charge of the excursion. We had a name that was given to us earlier by the girl that we spoke to originally. We mention this name to Mr. Jerk and he said yeah, that's the guy you need to talk to. So we asked him for the guys number. Her starts throwing numbers in out direction. We had to go hunting through are stuff for a pen and paper because Mr. Jerk would not give us any. Before leaving, I asked Mr. Jerk what was the title or position that this other guy held. Mr. Jerk stated...he's my boss and that is all I know. Something really stunk about the whole thing and I know that I hadn't had an accident in my pants while flying, so that just left Mr. Jerk. Veronica ended up calling the "boss" and left a message that we don't expect to be charged for the float plane ride especially because of what the girl first told us. So I haven't seen any charges but believe me, I will keep looking. Veronica and I spent a little time shopping around in Ketchikan and then returned to our ship.
We ended up going back to Cagney's to get our complimentary meal...because of the problems with the food on an earlier visit. This time I got the NY Sirloin and Veronica got the Alaskan Crab Legs. Our meal was great this time around. We were originally planning on going to 2 shows that night plus they were having their once a cruise Chocoholic Buffet which had chocolate art and sculptures. It would have been great to photograph it all. We were even going to be allowed in early. Unfortunately I was wiped out and decided to skip it. Kind of wish I had hung on for a bit longer be it wasn't meant to be.
Here is the man that made our cruise absolutely fantastic...our Concierge Karan Arora..he treated us like royalty
Towel art left by our room steward. It was originally placed on our bed but we thought it would be better suited to have the monkey hanging out from the drapes.
Ketchikan as seen from the ship as we entered port

A Princess cruise ship heading into port and arriving at her dock. We saw 3 different boats, including ours, making port in Ketchikan

This I believe was a Holland America ship docked in front of us

Between 6,000-7,000 passengers combined are on these 3 ships

Here is a picture of the F/V Aleutian Ballad. This crab fishing boat used to be part of the show the Deadliest Catch. The boat has been converted over and now is used as a tourist attraction....The Bearing Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour Part of Ketchikan Harbor

Ketchikan as we entered port

Welcome to Ketchikan

There were blocks of buildings built up off of the water

The streets of Ketchikan

Some food signage that looked interesting

This is the rain meter sign that the keep track of the participation on. They get lots of rain here
This was taken from our boat that was taking us on our Misty Fjords excursion
This is what they called a volcanic plug which sticks up out of the water on a small island in the middle of the water



Sheer cliffs in Misty Fjords
Here are some waterfalls that we saw
This video is of the float plane that took us back to Ketchikan

video



2 comments:

Barry said...

A hair-raising adventure, in more ways than one.

Your photos really capture the rustic nature of the area. I think I'm enjoying your trip almost as much as you did.

Barbra joan said...

Grrrreat Rick, and Ray is enjoying it too! Funny how when I told him you two were going on this trip awhile back, he told me how its the exact one that it's something he'd been thinking about for awhile. Don't know if he'll still do it. After your photos and comments , makes one feel like we've been there. LOL!

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