2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 1 Ketchikan to Prince Rupert | NW Explorations
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2023 Alaska Flotilla – Leg 7, Day 1 Ketchikan to Prince Rupert

Leg seven starts in Ketchikan providing us a few days to provision and sight see. Ketchikan is an interesting mix of past, present, urban and nature. The boardwalk on Creek Street, with hundreds of pink and chum salmon swimming upstream through the middle of town provides easy prey. Humans fishing from the docks, harbor seals and even the occasional black bear venture in to feed on the copious bounty. The scene is virtually the same as it was in 1920. Only two blocks away. Massive cruise ships dock and thousands of passengers descend on Ketchikan to shop for expensive jewelry or cheap trinkets.

The Deception crew ventured 6 miles south of town to Herring Cove to view and photograph black bears feasting on spawning chum salmon. The following morning, we departed Ketchikan in calm seas and light sprinkles which was a welcome change from last night’s deluge with 25 knot gusts! The forecast today is for more of the same so we will take advantage of the calm weather, skip Foggy Bay and continue all the way to Prince Rupert to buy us a lay day to choose the best day for crossing Hecate Strait to Haida Gwaii.

During our passage to Prince Rupert, we passed many light houses, both active and decommissioned. Between Mary Island and Tree Point light houses, we spotted five or six orcas including one bull orca with its towering six-foot-high dorsal fin. They were moving in the opposite direction from us, so we only had a short window but enough time for a few photos! A few harbor seals were hauled out at Grey Island light house and Murres and pigeon guillemots kept us entertained. Prior to our arrival in Prince Rupert a call for assistance from the Coast Guard to help a small vessel running low on fuel. We provided the boat with a 5-gallon Jerry can and we were both safely on our way.

As we cruised into Prince Rupert a beautiful schooner with impossibly high masts (201 feet) was clearly visible from 40 minutes out! “Athos” is 208 feet long with a 36-foot beam. Our slips were spread out in separate parts of the harbor, but everyone was content with their slip assignment. Once docked, some crews disembarked for dinner on the town while others made dinner on board. The crew on Deception enjoyed a fresh sockeye given to us by Andy and Barb on Arctic Star, it was out of this world good!

We will remain in Prince Rupert tomorrow to provision, having a chance to explore the area more. As in most harbors in the SE Alaska and British Columbia coast, eagles perch on masts and ravens’ deep resonant calls echo across the harbor, reminding us that we are surrounded by nature.

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