Today was the kind of day that makes you believe that the Mouse
really DOES control everything - INCLUDING the weather. In
Ketchikan, the wettest city in the U.S., which gets rain 330 days
out of the year, we had sunshine!!! Kinda spooky! Ok, yes, there
were still lots of clouds and it wasn't sunny all day long, but
still. The weather we've had has been truly amazing.
We've had great excursions on this cruise, but as far as sheer fun
goes, today was the best day - we went ziplining. Totally fun. But
more on that later.
So this morning, after another quiet night (have I mentioned I like
this whole Inside Passage thing), we got to sleep in - we weren't
arriving in Ketchikan until 11:45 or so. It was nice.
I worked on my Juneau blog, and got it pretty well written, then
went out for a walk on deck 4. Where I had an unexpected encounter
with Mickey in his foul weather gear - which he definitely doesn't
need today! I did my 2+ miles, though for the last couple of laps
they had the bow of the ship roped off since they were preparing to
dock, so those of us walking or running had to turn around and walk
in the opposite direction. That felt odd.
Still lots of snow-covered mountains around us on the sail into
And look! It's World of Color: Ketchikan! With a type of
light rarely seen here - sunlight. :-) (I love these little
Some of the houses in Ketchikan.
Look at how steep this street is! One of the bus drivers said it
was a 20% grade. It's closed in the winter - too dangerous.
For a change we are NOT the only cruise ship in port - there's a
Carnival ship that arrived before us. We are the first two ships of
the season. (The Disney ships are so much classier looking!)
At about noon we got the announcement that we could go ashore. Our
ziplining tour wasn't meeting until 2:15, but we decided to stay
onboard and catch up on email and blogging and stuff like that since
we could use our own internet service.
We went to Beach Blanket for lunch - it's Mother's Day today, and
they had a very nice piece of bread art at the beginning of the
line. The food was different than what we've seen up here. There
was Cajun grouper with mango salsa, pork with apple stuffing,
scalloped potatoes and two different soups (they are doing more
soups on these cruises - they are a lot more popular for some
reason! :-) ). I didn't realize that there would be other stuff
around the corner past the end of the line - that's where the baked
potato bar and salad bar were. I would've just done that if I'd
While we were eating Lee spotted a bald eagle and pointed it out to
me. We watched it fly right over the ship!!! That was really cool -
we could see the head and the underside of the wings - it
literally went right over us.
There were 13 people on our tour - there was at least one group that
went out before us (several members of our AllEars group were on
that one), and there may have been one after us.
Our bus driver is from Orange County (California), and he told us
lots of fun stuff on our drive over to the Alaska Rainforest
Sanctuary. He pointed out the mooning eagle totem - it actually
looks pretty impressive from the front and side but when you come at
it from the back, like we did, yep, it's mooning everyone. :-)
They had a huge windstorm last fall, with winds of 120 mph(!), that
blew over lots of trees, and they were without power and phone for a
week. We could see downed trees all over.
We had about a 20 minute ride to the Bearcreek Zipline place. And
they didn't waste any time getting us going - they loaded us into a
Unimog to take us up to where they were going to gear us up and
train us. After a bathroom break :-) they harnessed us up - lots of
straps and buckles and carabiners. We all got helmets and gloves,
too. We were allowed to take our cameras, but they had to have a
strap so we could secure them to the harness, or be small enough to
fit in a pocket with a zipper. It was cool enough that we still
needed some kind of warmer layer, but that worked fine with
everything, though we couldn't take it off once we had it on. :-)
Though we were told to bring our own raingear they actually had
jackets available, but we didn't need them today!
They took us up to a 20' "training" zip line, which was about 12'
off the ground. One of the guys got on and showed us where to put
our hands, what position we should be in, how to turn, and most
imporantly, how to stop. :-) Most of us had not ziplined before
(neither Lee nor I had), but the guys made it look pretty easy and
not scary at all. I was a little nervous but felt a lot better
about it after the orientation and then going down the line for the
We did 7 different zip lines - the longest was about 400', and we
were about 80' in the air. It was really fun! We were always
clipped onto a cable, even when they were moving us off one zipline
and onto the platform for the next one.
We also did a suspension bridge. Actually I was expecting this to
be a lot scarier than it was - I thought we'd be walking on a rope,
or on a single plank, but it wasn't bad - I would have been
comfortable doing it even if I wasn't clipped on to the cable
Did I mention how much fun it was? :-)
After the zip lines we had a 35' rappel down to ground level. I was
really not looking forward to that, having had a not-so-good rappel
experience years ago, but this was nothing like that at all, and
actually I was disappointed that I didn't drop faster. :-)
They took off our harnesses (but we kept the gloves and helmet) and
the last thing we did was a slide - we got into a big burlap sack
and then went down. That was actually a little more scary than the
zip line, because they warned us that if you didn't keep your feet
up you could somersault when you hit the carpet at the end. But
that didn't happen.
We rode the Unimog back down to (what else) the gift shop, though
that's also where all of our personal stuff that we hadn't taken
with us had ended up. They had complimentary hot coffee, cocoa, and
tea for us, as well as cookies and salmon pate.
The bus picked us up there. We had a different bus driver on the
way back, and she was really good, and told us lots of interesting
things. One thing she told us to look for is a prototype catamaran
constructed in Ketchikan for Homeland Security - it was berthed
right next to our ship. It's called the Susitna.
She dropped over half of us in town since we wanted to walk around
before going back to the ship (it was about 5:50 by then, and all
aboard was 7:30).
We wandered down Creek Street - which used to be the red light
district, but now it's lot of shops and a couple of restaurants.
And we saw a few more totem poles.
Here's the eagle from the front.
The day had gotten overcast and rather chilly because the wind had
come up down by the water. But there was still sunshine off in the
Everyone must have been back on board early because we pulled away
from the dock at 7:35.
The captain came on with his nightly report about 8:00, and
explained (again) that the reason we had come up on the west side of
Vancouver Island on the northbound portion of our cruise rather than
coming up the Inside Passage was because anytime a new ship cruises
Alaska for the first time, it has to be certified (I don't think
that's the word he used, though), that it is able to navigate the
rather narrow passage safely. Our cruise is the only Disney Alaska
cruise that is scheduled to go north the way we did - all of the
others will cruise the Inside Passage both north and south. (Good
news for anyone who is worried about being seasick, since they
should not experience the rough seas that we had on our second day.)
It was semi-formal night, and we had dinner in Animator's Palate.
The Captain's Gala menu is my least favorite, although the chocolate
lava cake is quite good. As usual, Balwan and Tita took excellent
care of us.
When we got back to the stateroom it looked like Christmas! Lots of
things left on our bed. The two pink and silver "coins" say "Happy
Mother's Day" - aw. And the swans were very cute.
The biggest surprise was the box, though - there was a note with it
from the captain thanking us for cruising the Inaugural Alaska
cruise. Inside the box was a commemorative napkin set, embroidered
with the dates and some of the Disney characters. Wow, first the
lithograph, then this! No wonder people want to go on these
The seas are a little bit heavier tonight, and we're moving a lot
faster - 21.5 knots. And that extra hour that we got at the
beginning of the cruise? We have to give it back tonight. Oh
well...better tonight than tomorrow night, which is the last night
of our cruise. I don't want to think about that, though.
The previous post in this blog was Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 11 - Juneau.
The next post in this blog is Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise - Day 13- At Sea.