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Published: October 4th 2018
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
I had no idea what to expect from Sitka. We tend NOT to take excursions (AKA...Forced Marches - except when necessary or a particularly important location - BAD experience). We arrived rather late to Sitka as result of the power outage. The Captain was running the ship on reduced power - so we were not at top speed. Still no clue as to what REALLY happened (I wonder what that conspiracy theory woman from the other day is thinking...she's probably blaming it on terrorists...or so other far fetched notion). Haven't seen her lately (good) only her other table mates - whom I believe have clearer minds. One hopes. I digress. Our late arrival put off some tours so those with early departures had a bit of a reprieve. No complaints, I'm sure.
We got off the boat, got on the shuttle into town and walked. Quite a lot. It's rather a small town on a small-ish island just south of Juneau (which we missed). So...my thoughts. SPECTACULAR. I know this word has been used a lot lately - but that's exactly how I feel. SO beautiful. The forest so primal
and prehistoric, the sea shore so rugged and wide the mountains rising as if from the bottom of the sea to unimaginable heights. Just breathtakingly beautiful.
We walked around town - which didn't actually take a long time. The shops, well those still open, were, for the most part, "on sale". We are the last ship to anchor, before winter sets in. One finds it hard to believe winter is not so far off, given the day. We experienced warm temps of 48 (warm?) by Alaska standards....WARM! Anyway - clear blue skies no clouds and slight breezes made for a mostly comfortable day.
Sitka is the quintessential fishing village - think Mendocino (CA...made famous as the location for the TV show Murder, She Wrote). The Crescent Harbor is home to quite a lot of well used fishing vessels. We walked down Lincoln St. (the "main drag") to yet another smaller, less busy harbor but clearly a fishing harbor. They take their fishing very seriously here in Sitka.
We left "downtown" heading east toward the Cultural Center and ran into Stephen and Paula. Well - let's join up and go for a good, healthy walk! So we did.
Our first stop was the Sound Science center...well we didn't enter - just sat and watched the salmon in the small creek, just in front of the center. There were quite a few salmon struggling, their instinct and resolve strong but physically weakened by their journey and the culmination of the spawning season.
Off to the Cultural Center, where we saw Lee & Perry getting onto their bus (they were on a tour). See, such a small world! We took the "Totem" trail which followed along crescent harbor to the mouth of the river. As we entered the trail, we were greeted by a sign alerting us to the presence of Bears. Um...really? Bears? There had been sightings earlier that morning...NO. THANK. YOU. We proceeded with caution. This trail enters a forest primeval.
The Totems along the trail were fascinating. We read about each story and the the history of how they arrived at this location. Every now and again there were deviations from the trail, taken by yours truly...not in search of a bear - but to sneak down to the waters edge. The tide was low, the beach wide and vast - it was all so
very, very inviting and irresistible to me. From there snaked around to the river where we heard the squeals of the Sea Gulls and the deep call of the Crow (Raven in Klingit Culture). There were literally thousands of gulls feeding on the remains of salmon, and diving into the shallow pools to find the freshly laid salmon roe. Guess they like caviar too! The river was alive with salmon swimming, struggling to get upstream to their spawning ground. The riverbed was littered with the carcasses of dead and plucked clean salmon. I found it perfectly in harmony with nature. The salmon needing to find their way "home" once there, dying (as is the way) and then their carcass' feeding the gulls and other wildlife. The cycle of nature - life and death - ying and yang. I took pictures.
We walked back to the Cultural Center where we briefly interacted with a guide to learn about the Raven & Eagle culture...quite fascinating. From here we walked back to town and went our separate ways. Stephen & Paula to do a little shopping we went back to the ship after running an errand and picking up some Alaskan chocolate (and truffles from Sacramento HA!).
Back aboard ship we had a very small salad and met up with everyone later for Tea. Once again, one couldn't see the table for the pots and plates - even though BE & Jeremy were not in attendance.
Lee, Perry Christopher and I decided to go th the Grand Dining room for dinner; Stephen, Paula, BE & Jeremy went to Polo. So at dinner we were thinking about wines and such. I had a look at the wine list and without thinking made a comment about the Amarone (LOVE me some Amarone) - the bottle was in the $200 range....for a bottle of wine? I like wine, but... Well, the Sommelier overheard our conversation, and said, Oh no - that's a 3 Liter bottle (3.5 bottles of wine) ... Now it's QUITE a deal! We bought it. What the heck are we going to do with this behemoth? Other than drink it? We'll have it the remainder of the trip and beyond perhaps!
The Somm opened the bottle, decanted a bit to let it breathe and then poured some into a glass. PERFECTION. Sublime perfection. Needless to say we'll be sharing this the remainder of the trip with our dear friends...
Dinner done, we went of to dreamland. Our thoughts ready for a day in Wrangell, Alaska.
Tot: 0.22s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 8; qc: 42; dbt: 0.0196s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb