“Blinded by the light…” That song came immediately to mind when I opened our curtains on the morning we arrived in Ketchikan. After two days of drizzle and overcast skies, it was almost a cornea-burning shock to see the pristine sapphire blue skies and blazing early morning sunshine that greeted us that morning.
My first thought of Ketchikan? Storybook! This was quite possibly the quaintest town I’d ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on. I couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for us today!
Knowing we had to meet our tour guide at 7:00 AM, we made the short walk into town and were greeted with a sign by our kayak guide from Southeast Sea Kayaks. We had a half day kayak trip booked, and we were more than ready for it! Having river kayaked several times on vacations to Colorado and such, we were very excited to try sea kayaking for the first time. One of the main reasons we chose Southeast Sea Kayaks was because of their guaranteed small groups on their paddling trips. We were told at the time of booking that there would be a maximum of six guests per paddling trip, but upon check in we learned that they had a cancellation and there would instead only be us and one other couple with our guide today. Woo hoo!! The other couple who came on the trip with us was on holiday from Australia, and they were also enjoying a cruise. This was their first trip to the United States, and they were lucky enough to be touring the entire nation during a whirlwind six week stay. I quickly found that cruising has become one of the best ways to meet some of the most interesting people!
After a ten minute boat ride out of the immediate port area, we came to where our sea kayaks were tendered back behind a small island, and we made our way into our kayak for two. From my seat I could no longer see the shore, nor the ships in port. It was as if we were truly in Alaska for the first time. No cars, no ships, no people, no Diamond’s International…this was just us, three other souls, and some of the biggest and most breathtaking landscape I’d ever seen. Our paddling trip was blessed with warm temperatures, glassy seas, and cloudless skies. We saw several bald eagles, lots of purple starfish, a lion jellyfish, and deer on the shore of one of the islands as we paddled around. Even a playful otter popped up not two feet from the edge of our kayak! He decided to hang around for a while and followed us as we slowly made our way around small islands and rocks. Our guide was simply a delight and she really taught us quite a bit about the local wildlife and the even about the town of Ketchikan, itself.
Too soon it was time for us to head back, as we were only scheduled to be in port until noon that day. We had just enough time left for a nice stroll around town and got the opportunity to take in several of the gorgeous totem poles and one last look at the famous Creek Street. Even though we were back on the ship early, I knew we were going to be treated to some spectacular sights from the comfort of our balcony for the rest of the day. And speaking of treats, the ice cream machine was calling my name!