July 30, 2010

Alaska Cruise: Ketchikan

Our third port of call for our cruise in Alaska was Ketchikan. We booked a short excursion through the ship, which after much research seemed like it was the one thing not to miss. We went to the first showing of the day of the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. It was only a short walk from the pier. There is a merchandise store that you need to go into to get to the show because the entrance of the show is in the store itself. We got there with time to do some window shopping before lining up for the show. They let us in about 15 minutes before the start time. Seating was stadium style with overhead covers in case it rained. They had a snack bar with cold and hot drinks and limited food that they kept encouraging people to go to before the show. For the event there were two teams of lumberjacks and they split the audience in two to cheer for the two teams. They competed in several events such as the speed climb, axe throwing, chopping, sawing and log rolling. It was 45 minutes of entertainment. Nothing we hadn't seen before on television but still worth watching in person. After the show we had a few hours to spend in Ketchikan on our own. We walked up the famous Creek Street which is a historic boardwalk perched on pilings along the banks of Ketchikan Creek. It used to be the Red Light District at one time. We stopped at a few souvenier shops along the way and admired the salmon in the creek. We then walked to the Deer Mountain Hatchery and Eagle Center. After paying our fee, we saw an owl, two bald eagles and some fish. The center raises and releases salmon, steelhead and rainbow trout and cares for injured bald eagles. It was a quick 30 minute tour of the small center and then we moved on to the Totem Heritage Center which is right across from the hatchery. The center preserves 19th century totem poles from uninhabited Native American sites near Ketchikan. Along with the totem poles there were other native crafts on display. We then made our way back towards the pier, making stops at shops along the way for souveniers and other goodies like kettlecorn. We returned to the ship early, with about an hour to spare.