July 24, 2011
The ship hauled ass last night, through narrows and straits, past outcroppings and glaciers and amidst winds and swells. It was a noisy, rolling night and no one woke fresh this morning – least of all me. We had our character breakfast this morning with Disney icons making their rounds to the tables for autographs and photo ops. I had lots and lots of coffee. I think our waiter is getting worried about our new-found intent to eat like normal people and has begun putting extra, unordered food on my plate. I didn’t eat it anyway and simply drank another cup of coffee.
Oh, coffee. The stuff on board is weak, nearly flavoured and, even black, I can drink it like water. That’s not a good thing. I broke down and ordered my first specialty coffee today, for which I had to pay. It was okay, but probably tasted better than it would have on any Vancouver day. SigOther’s tea was more expensive that my mocha. Okay, he did get a bodum of loose leaves, but it’s still a bit steep (no pun intended). I am dearly looking forward to brewing my own Ethical Beans when I get home.
Today we rolled into Ketchikan just before noon. The morning was spent wandering the ship, watching for a few elusive killer whales and letting the girls play in the kids’ club. I am behaving myself and not spending a small fortune for a shitty internet connection to go online and try to update my statuses without making reference to the fact that I’m on vacation and my house is empty. So I typed, SigOther read and we watched the houses become denser and the cloud cover become heavier as we approached dock. Ketchikan was the last stop on our trip, yet we almost didn’t get off the boat. Tired travellers, wind, rain and the fact that our berth was the unqualified farthest from the downtown core made the effort to get off the boat a little more difficult. But we rallied and disembarked to make the trek through the drizzle and through a tunnel to the shops and sights. Since no one wanted to wander aimlessly through jewellery stores again, we hit the tourist centre and found out the way to the hatchery and eagle centre center. The route passed through the boardwalked Creek Street and Fox Bay Lodge, with its totem poles and, conveniently, a restaurant. It also meant another tram ride up the side of a hill. At lunch, we soon realised that the kids weren’t going to make it on the final leg of the walk and decided to return, instead, through a series of treetop trails back to the shops and boats.
Ketchikan by far has their act together better when it comes to the tourist experience. We didn’t get into Juneau and, honestly, we in no way felt compelled to visit Juneau. We were told that the shopping area was a segregated section of town and it appeared to be a strip of shops no different from those we saw in Skagway. This is, based on our complete lack of town experience, a horribly unfair assessment of the city of Juneau. But Ketchikan felt much approachable, friendly and alive. With Juneau’s population spread out over thousands of square miles, it felt vast and rural. And that was the appeal there. Ketchikan was more condensed and felt lived in, yet still with amazing wilderness all around. Despite our original misgivings, we were all glad that we had made the trip in.
SigOther, the girls and our friends took in a matinée, leaving me with a top deck 360 photo-op of our last port of call and a camera with a full card that needed culling. Having taken the final few photos, I returned to the room and couldn’t bring myself to open the computer. My legs were sore from yesterday’s hike up the mountain and our cabin is woefully inadequate for stretching. So I got changed and headed up to the fitness centre in the hopes that I could snag a spot on the floor to stretch out or, barring that, a chaise to relax with a foot massager. Bonus: on arrival there was one other woman stretching and one guy lifting weights and there were mats laid out. After a few minutes, the staff asked if we (myself and the other woman) were there for the yoga class. It was only 30 minutes but it covered all the ground I needed.
Back and geared up for dinner, the Magpie nearly fell asleep as we were getting ready. But ready we got – semi-formal for the captain’s dinner – and off we headed for lobster and seafood. As with all the other sit-down dinners, the adults menu was nothing short of amazing. The girls ate, but not much, as has been their route. They are smarter than the rest of us. We appalled our server when no one ordered dessert this evening, not even the girls. The youngsters ended the night at the kids’ club and the adults got through a bottle of Catena malbec before we took the two kids for their 2nd sleep over.
I have copied over 2,000 photos from my camera to the computer and have spent the last 30 minutes randomly deleting obvious duplicates so that I might have some room for any photo ops tomorrow. Redundancy is good. But it’s time consuming.
It’s 9:45pm and they’re both fast asleep. We just have to try to move them out of our bed and then all should be well.