Cruise Spotlight: Ketchikan, Alaska

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We pulled into our first stop in Ketchikan, Alaska around 5:00 in the morning with a series of stuttering halts.  The ocean floor in these areas is notoriously uneven and treacherous – the ship’s Captain was actually replaced by a pilot from Ketchikan who knows how to navigate the waters, as is typical for every cruise ship coming into port here.  But my, the misty mountains surrounding the hillside town of Ketchikan were beautiful.

When we pulled into Ketchikan, it was pouring down rain, and it did not let up for several hours.  After enjoying some room service breakfast, we suited up and headed out for the excursion we had booked: kayaking Orcas Cove with Southeast Sea Kayaks.

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We met our guide, Chloe, near the Liquid Sunshine Gauge in the center of town. Unfortunately, because of the rain and wind, the water was too choppy for us to safely kayak in Orcas Cove.  Southeast Seas offered us either a full refund, or a partial refund and a replacement Ketchikan Kayaking tour.  Hungry for adventure, we opted for the Ketchikan Kayaking tour!

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After suiting up in sea kayaking gear – complete with jackets, pants, and kayaking skirts – Chloe put us in a tandem sea kayak and gave us some basic lessons.  Then, we kayaked up Ketchikan Creek, which is visited by all five types of salmon during the summer, and then out to the sound.  We kayaked around the small neighboring island and saw a family of bald eagles, some starfish, and were tracked by a harbor seal.  Throughout the tour, Chloe talked to us about the history of the area, what different seasons bring to Ketchikan, and more. She answered all of our questions and was patient as we struggled with the choppy water.  Unfortunately, I didn’t snap many pictures because I was so worried about dropping the camera, but needless to say, the scenery was breathtaking.

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Our experience with Southeast Sea Kayaks was exceptionally positive.  Everyone we met with was professional and approachable, and knowledgeable about both kayaking and the region.  Although we couldn’t do the Orcas Cove tour we had booked because of the weather, our guide, Chloe, made the most out of our Ketchikan Kayaking tour and we had lots of fun.  I would absolutely recommend anyone else coming to Ketchikan try out this company!

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After we finished kayaking, we had a few hours before our all aboard, so we shopped our way back to the gangway.  Mom picked up salmon for her partner, while I picked up various types of jerky for my dad, as well as a ring dish for my engagement ring.  We also treated ourselves to some jewelry and Native American-inspired art.

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Despite the rain, we had a wonderful time in Ketchikan, and I would love to go back there some day for kayaking in Orcas Cove and more.  It was a beautiful first stop on the cruise, and a great start to our adventure!

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