Stumbling bleary-eyed down the ship’s disembarkation ramp at 7AM, all we could see of Ketchikan was the welcome sign shrouded in a thick blanket of fog. “Great,” we collectively thought, “This is the day we chose the water sport!”. Fortunately, as the shuttle bus rolled out of town, the fog began to slowly peel away. By the time we reached the shore of Harriet Howe Lake, it had dissolved into thin wisps that floated just above the surface.
Shout out to our guide (who will probably never see this): Thanks for a wonderful time and your incredible patience in dealing with those kids!
Our 8-person group climbed aboard a cheery red canoe and pushed off into the crystal clear water. The water was so calm (check out the reflection of the hills) it looked like glass stretched out on either side of us. It almost seemed a shame to disturb it with our paddles. We slowly made our way across the lake, and around a small island. We could hear the roar of a distant waterfall through the trees and listened as our guide pointed out some local flora only found in the temperate rain forests of Alaska. We paused in the middle of the lake to experience the echo chamber created by the surrounding mountains. On the count of three we all yelled “Hey!” as loudly as we could. Hearing the sound reverberate counter-clockwise off the peaks was eerie and extremely cool at the same time.
After a half hour or so of rowing we pulled ashore to a small gazebo where another guide served us freshly grilled fish (we ate so much delicious fish during this trip) and chowder. We went on a short nature walk through the rain forest, stopping to admire all the unique plants while our guide regaled us with stories of the area around us.
By the time we arrived back in town we only had an hour before departure so we hightailed it to Creek Street for souvenirs. One of the most picturesque areas of Ketchikan, Creek Street is Ketchikan’s former brothel district near the docks. Now this former red light district has been turned into a row of gift shops that end at the Married Man’s Trail – a shadowy path that winds along the creek that allowed straying husbands to appear as though they were simply returning from a stroll to the local pharmacy.
That night we attended one of the shows, “The Marriage Game,” in which three couples from the crowd were asked to compare answers to certain questions about their relationship. Given the generally older demographic of the crowd, the “newly-wed” couple was well into their Golden Years and the oldest couple were celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary. Some of the answers were hilarious, especially when it came to which family members they disliked most.
Although we only attended two of the musical shows offered on the ship, I was really astounded by the quality of the performances. The Westerdam Singers and Dancers were apparently a troupe out of Las Vegas and their productions were very impressive. I found myself smiling all the way through their “Love Story” show and I don’t even like musicals!