June 06, 2016

Ketchikan Alaska

Ketchikan Alaska is our last Alaskan port on the Radiance of The Seas. As we arrive at 9:00 AM the temperature is about 50, the skies very cloudy with some rain. The sun manages to peek thru for a few minutes. When I prepare to leave the ship for my "Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour" it is pouring, fortunately I only have to walk about 10 yards between the covered gangway of the ship, and the covered gangway to the Aleutian Ballad fishing vessel.

This ship was featured in the early seasons of Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch. The ship was almost lost twice in it's history, once when a 90 foot wave knocked her over on her side and all hands had to abandon ship in the icy Bering Sea. The second time she ran aground and ripped holes thru much of the bottom. Several years ago she was refitted at a cost of about three million dollars to carry tours out of Ketchikan Harbor, her commercial fishing days behind her.

The staff on the ship relate many personal stories and tragedies from their years of crab fishing in the icy Alaskan waters. They give demonstrations of setting and pulling crab pots, and long lines. They work in cooperation with a sovereign Indian Nation, and everything they catch is released back into the water. The neatest part of the tour was when dozen's of eagles flew nearby to take fish thrown into the water by the crew. I promise, pictures will be posted as soon as I can.

The owner of the ship still owns a quota for king crab, but he leases that license to another operator, and spends his summer running his tour operation and talking with tour passengers. Personally, now knowing more about the dangers and conditions the crab fisherman work under, I think he has made a smart move,.

I didn't consciously set out to do this, but I now realize much of this trip touched on the locations of various TV shows. I traveled the "haul road" stopping at Coldfoot, an often featured location on "Ice Road Truckers". I rode the Alaska Railroad nearly 500 miles from Fairbanks to Seward. The TV show "Alaska Railroad" covered operations on this same route, and today my tour was on the Aleutian Ballard, featured in Deadliest Catch, rounding out my inadvertent ties to TV. And I must add, our entertainer the other night, Bobby Arvon, sang the theme song for the TV show Happy Days for many years, a show I never watched.

Earlier I had mentioned that there of 13 of us together on this cruise. We all had dinner together the first night, and I haven't seen any of them again until this afternoon. We are planning on having dinner again tomorrow night, the last evening of the cruise.

I imagine there are a few of you that have missed stories about strange passenger behavior. Well I am happy to report there really has been nothing worthy of writing about. Yes there was one person in the Windjammer buffet in pajamas early this morning, but that has been about it.

The ship is sold out, all cabins are occupied. The food and service has been good. The only glitch I have had is room keys. Here it is the sixth day and I am on key # 4. Maybe my surgeon slipped in some magnets when he installed my replacement joints, I don't know. They are supposed to be titanium, but whatever they are made of, they set off the metal detectors each time I board the ship. I'm pretty used to this by now as it happens often.

Tomorrow is a "sea day" in the context we don't dock. Actually most of an Alaskan cruise takes place on the inside passage, or close to land, not what you would call "out to sea". The ship has barely rocked at all.

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