Alaska 2023

Day 19

July 26

  I get up and out early to enjoy a little quiet solitude out on the deck.  
  We pass by many little nameless villages and I wonder how they get supplies and stuff to live on during the harsh winters up here.  

But my stomach telegraphs me that it is breakfast time so I make my way into the main restaurant for another excellent meal. Marcella is my sweet server this morning and I tell her -

"I see you everywhere doing all sorts of stuff. Do you ever get any rest?"

She just laughs and explains that she likes to stay busy. She takes my order for my grub and quickly brings me ...

  a great hot chocolate - with chocolate syrup on top! I order my usual omelet, taters and toast and it is excellent as usual. The thing that impresses me about the food service onboard the ferry is that it is very good and very reasonably priced. Even the snack machines are the same way - only $1 for a canned soft drink or a snack of any sort.  
  After my great breakfast, I go back outside to enjoy some more of the lovely views. We now are passing a hundred isolated islands laying there in brooding silence.  
  The clouds seem to be pressing down on the mountains to force them into the water, but it is an errand of futility if that is the case.  
  The variations in the width of the inland passage are pretty amazing as sometimes you could almost jump to shore from the deck of the ferry and sometimes you couldn't even begin to swim to the shore.  
  Soon we are approaching the harbor of Ketchikan, which also happens to be a cruise ship port.  
  When we get close in, we see these strange orange ribbons floating in the water. I have to assume that they are some type of algae blooms but the color is quite striking.  

The town of Ketchikan is another one of those towns that you can only reach by air or by water.

Ketchikan Creek served as a summer fish camp for Tlingit natives for untold years before the town was established by Mike Martin in 1885. He was sent to the area by an Oregon canning company to assess prospects. He established the saltery Clark & Martin and a general store with Nova Scotia native George Clark, who had been foreman at a cannery that burned down. Ketchikan became known as "Alaska's first city" due to its strategic position at the southern tip of the Inside Passage, connecting the Gulf of Alaska to Puget Sound.


  Once I again I decide to stay on board and take a look around from the deck. I spot the Matanuska - which is the ferry that originally ran this route. It's in dock for a some serious repairs and they keep finding other issues with it as they proceed with the work.  
  After a while, we are off again leaving Ketchikan disappearing in the distance.  
  I see this isolated cabin as we move along and I have to assume it is a fishing cabin for someone since there appears to be no roads in or out.  
  And once again we pass a commercial fishing trawler making its way back into its home port.  

Since I have plenty of time, I engage with several different people onboard as I am always interested the stories others have to share. I meet a young lady that has just graduated with a degree in environmental sciences. She tells me

"The problem is that they don't want to hire you if you don't already have experience."

I tell her that it is the same way in information systems and most other professions. My counsel to her is to try to find a job as an intern or something even though it may not pay very much and not be very pleasant. If she can tough it out for a year, then she's got a year's experience and that should open the door for her.

  I run into Deb, another dear lady that is riding up here by herself on her BMW. She is a biologist so I quiz her a bit to learn what I can about her experiences and occupation. She was supposed to get on the ferry at Skagway but it did not go there due to its late arrival in Haines. They did put her on another ferry and she caught up with us at Juneau.  
  It's been an interesting and relaxing day that I have really enjoyed. Talking to people helps to divert my mind from focusing on my physical afflictions. Soon it's time for supper and I head for the main restaurant. Their special tonight is ribs and a baked tater and boy are they ever good.  
  And I see no reason not to partake of just a tad bit of sweetening to cap off such a really good meal.  
  As I wander back out on deck after supper, I see that the sun is sinking low and so am I. The pain is getting easier to manage but it still takes its toll on me.  
  So I make my way back to my cabin and do my 'try to get into bed' drill without hurting myself. I succeed and before long I am sinking into the horizon of the world of sleep.