August 20, 2018

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August 28th 2018
Published: August 28th 2018
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Monday Aug 20

We docked in Ketchikan at 6am. After an early breakfast, we disembarked to look around the shops before our walking tour began just before 10am. With all the cruise ships here, as many as six by 1pm, the town more than doubles its 24,000 population! Yet it did not seem that crowded.

Creek street is really cool. Where Alaska’s first city began, shops line the narrow creek, sometimes overhanging it. We saw seals feeding on the salmon trying to run up the river and across the waterfalls to spawn. As the sign on Dolly’s House, an original whore house, says, both salmon and men come up here to spawn.

Our Ketchikan Rain Forest Sanctuary walking tour took us into the Tongass Rain Forest, the world’s second-largest, next to the Amazon. We saw bald eagles and lots of salmon. We even witnessed the ritual of the female salmon stirring up the gravely bottom to lay her eggs, while her mate kept guard and chased away all others. The river was full of activity, while we observed at least 10 - 20 salmon couples go through this ritual. On cooler afternoons, there would have been several black bears feeding on them, but today was too hot. On this incredibly sunny and warm day we counted our blessings that we did not have one of 260 rainy days or 60 cloudy days per year in this part of the country.

We were told that there would be a good chance we’d see whales while sailing through the narrow Snow Passage. Not only were we not disappointed, we had the sighting of a lifetime. Bubble Netting is not often observed, some experienced whale watchers wait a life time to see this! This feeding event is a group of humpback whales being called to action by a single whale to help feed on a very large school of herring or krill (humpbacks do not travel in pods). What they do is position themselves below the fish and start emitting bubbles, which drives them towards the surface. Once there, all of the whales jump out of the water at the same time, mouth first in order to scoop up as much food as they can, with the lead whale being privileged to be in the centre to get the best feed. Many fish get “spilled”, which attracts hundreds of seagulls to dive in to pick up the spoils. Ferdy got some good shots and hopes, with some editing, to get a few great photos out of this!

Teacake Ferguson is some performer! Her live show on board was dedicated to Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. Well done.

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