May 22nd, 2016 | By: Gregory Smart | Leg 1: Inside Passage
The sun still sat below the eastern horizon as we filed out of the quiet harbor and through the twisting shallow passages west of Prince Rupert. A low regular swell welcomed us into open waters and rocked us awake as we crossed towards Dundas Island and the open strait beyond. We crossed the border before midday and pushed our clocks ahead one hour. Alaska!The ragged Lord Islands and wild hills above the Tree Point lighthouse passed slowly by to starboard. The sun shone and far off we spotted the flukes of diving humpback whales, feeding on the baitfish that are found so abundantly here. Eagles and ravens sit watchfully on the shoreline of every island and soar overhead as we cruise by. Deer peer out of the trees, waiting for us to pass so they can swim from one island to the next.At long last, the islands squeezed together and we found ourselves in Tongass Narrows, the town of Ketchikan spreading out along the starboard shore. The wind began to blow as we stopped at the fuel dock to top off and clear customs, and by the time we tied up in Thomas Basin at the head of historic Creek Street, it was howling and we are all glad to have left early.Ketchikan is first and foremost a fishing town, and we share the docks with seiners, long-liners, hand trollers, and sport fishers. Alaska prides itself on being the “last frontier’, and the feeling begins as soon as you step off the boat. The town lives from hard physical labor, but hardscrabble sweat and skinned-knuckle feel is tempered by the friendliness of the locals and the beautiful scenery. We excitedly head out to explore the historic district by foot and sample some of the great food available at the many restaurants. It’s great to be here in Alaska, and after a couple long days of cruising it will be great to relax here for a few days.