Posted by: travelrat | October 11, 2016



Ketchikan: 12th May 2016.

 We didn’t book a tour at Ketchikan. We’d heard a few negative things about it, including ‘Take your waterproofs! It’s always raining’.  So, it’s best to wait until the last minute, so you can better plan your activities according to the weather.

 Now, if you remember, ‘they’ said the same thing about Bergen when we visited three years back. In each case, we got lucky. It was a beautiful day; not only did the rain hold off for us, but the sun came out.

The city was founded in 1885, when a salmon cannery was opened here. It used to be known as the ‘Salmon Capital of Alaska’, but the cannery is now closed, and the boast is simply the First City, for it was, indeed, the first settlement in the state to achieve city status.

The tour operators were on the dockside waiting for us, anyway. From the many on offer, we picked the ‘wildlife and totem pole’ safari …although we were warned that the wildlife wouldn’t appear to order. It was, for instance, a bit early for bears … although there was an off-chance that there might be the odd bear that hadn’t read the book. No bears this trip, though, but the lady in the coffee shop said she’d seen ‘evidence’ of their recent passing on her way to work that morning. I guess they don’t only do it in the woods! We did see plenty of eagles, and, a fair distance away, a group of sea lions. And, one passenger claimed to have seen a whale.

The totem poles, however, weren’t going anywhere, There’s a whole collection of them in several parks, and we spent a fascinating half hour looking around one of them. I do have to do more research into what they’re about … especially as we’re going to see more in Vancouver.

We got off the bus at Creek Street, the oldest part of town. Once, it was a notorious red light district, catering for first the cannery workers, then the loggers. But now, the clientele is long gone, and the street of wooden houses is mainly a collection of gift shops and souvenir shops, for Ketchikan is now noted for arts and crafts. The houses have been authentically preserved,  and one of them, ’Dolly’s House’, recreates the days of its original purpose. However, the $10 entry fee (included in the tour fee!) does not cover the ‘services’ of its staff!


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