Sunny day on the docks here in Ketchikan. The morning is filled with the sounds of work crews cleaning boats, and organizing fishing gear. Clanging docks and conversation, lapping water and radios. Above it all bald eagles call from perches on pilings.
Most of our crew enjoyed a leisurely morning. The crew aboard Ajax headed downtown to explore Dolly’s House Museum on Creek Street…. The museum is the former residence of Dolly Arthur, a famous Madame on Creek Street. Creek Street was Ketchikan’s red light district which prospered between the 1920’s to the 1950’s. Oh, Anne would be pleased to tell you all about it!
We’ve been invited to gather aboard Ajax for a last supper. Anne and Melissa aboard Navigator have pooled their remaining provisions and collaborated on the menu. The evening is a chance to toast to our travels together before packing up has everyone preoccupied.
And it is Melissa’s Birthday! So we sneak in a cake and a banner and Pat manages to distract her in conversation off the back deck long enough for us to make the arrangements so we can surprise her when she steps back in. Pulling off a surprise party for a woman that is standing in the middle of the galley of a 60’ boat with 14 people already aboard is a trick. But we pull it off.
The evening is a raucous and wonderful night with an unexpected toast from Alan to Captain Brian. He shares how pleased he is to have added nine new anchorages to his list from this trip. Brian and Rowan had spent the better part of the afternoon fiddling with Aquila’s radio to get the fly bridge volume to work, and who knows what else they were all up to over there, but Alan is in high spirits. And Linda, too! By the end of the evening, they have inspired support for a pajama party (inspired by a comment on that day we sighted porpoises… it’s up to Alan to fill in the details on his blog).
Brian reviews the check-out. NW Explorations enforces a strict rule against skippers or fleet crews carry baggage off the docks. People are puzzled – really? You insist on carrying our luggage for us? Didn’t we just demonstrate ourselves capable of driving a boat several hundred miles? You don’t think we can make it up the dock without a hand? The truth is, it just ensures we have a chance to say goodbye to all of our guests that we’ve enjoyed the last three weeks of our time with.
To Alan, Linda, Hunter, Anne, John, Pat, Rick, Jack, Annette, Steve and (yes, you) Melissa – It’s been a wonderful voyage! May you all have fair seas and calm winds and we hope to travel with you again!