Ketchikan, and Misty Fjords

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North America » United States » Alaska » Ketchikan
August 26th 2009
Published: June 12th 2017
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Geo: 55.3542, -131.691

We docked in Ketchikan, Alaska very early on Wednesday morning. Given the hour, we opted for room service, as we had to meet for a tour we booked at 7:15am. The time change was still working in our favor, and as Alaska has its own time zone, we'd gained an extra hour of sleep simply by arriving in the state. We took a "wilderness" cruise to tour the Misty Fjords National Monument, which comprises more than 2 million acres of protected forest and seaways – it is larger than the State of Connecticut, and only accessible by plane or sea. Throughout our tour, we encountered many protected areas and national parks which were not put under federal administration until the 1970's. There was an omnibus bill Jimmy Carter signed in 1980 which created new and expanded old protested areas, and is now universally praised, while at the time it faced much opposition evidently. Anyway, Misty Fjords was protected during that era, and is called the “Yosemite of the North.” Glaciers have carved hundreds of extremely deep valleys, now mostly filled by sea water – hence, fjords. Because of all the granite in the area, the valley walls are mostly
Katherine & AnnaKatherine & AnnaKatherine & Anna

Snapped this while we were waiting to meet our tour for Misty Fjords
sheer faces, many rising more than 3,000 feet straight up from the sea. We departed port on a smallish, two-story catamaran in a steady rain, but as we entered the monument about an hour later, the sun came out and stayed out. Many marveled at our luck, as Ketchikan is “famous” for receiving more annual rain than any other American city, with upwards of 270 rainy days per year. It only has about 7,000 residents, is also the “Salmon Capital of America,” and is where the now infamous “bridge to nowhere” was to have been built.

Once in the monument, we cruised through a series of fjords and saw much wildlife, including harbor seals, sea lions, more bald eagles than we could count, and even a small pod of orca. At the mid point, we approached a floating dock and with impeccable timing, a couple of float planes arrived and pulled up alongside us. They ferried in new passengers, who had viewed the monument from the air, and took away some of our fellow passengers. We opted for the roundtrip by sea, as we'd been warned of the usual bad weather and low probability of sunny weather. Well, we beat the odds that day. Nonetheless, we cruised a different route back and our catamaran delivered us directly back to our ship, which was a good thing, as we departed port less than 30 minutes later.

Additional photos below
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Harbor Seals at Misty FjordsHarbor Seals at Misty Fjords
Harbor Seals at Misty Fjords

You can see a large group of harbor seals in this picture

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