Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ketchikan - last port before Vancouver

May 18 Ketchikan
Mary getting all the birds!

It was another slow morning on the deck, but a little better than yesterday.  We got good looks at Pomerine Jaegers and a few other species, but we are definitely in the doldrums of the trip.  That said, we managed three checklists before breakfast. 

En route to Ketchikan

Boats on the shore suggest the seas aren't always quite as calm as they were for us.
As we passed the airport along the waterfront, the low tide allowed us to switch from birds to marine invertebrates, as Marilyn started calling out sea stars she was seeing among the rocks. We had a very rare sighting of birders on shore, who I have tentatively identified as Ben Limle (right) and Steve Heinl (left) thanks to the human field guides, eBird (for range) and Facebook (for photos).
Rare birder sighting!

If ever a town was geared to the cruise ship business, it is Ketchikan.  There is room for at least two ships, and we were the second to arrive on Saturday.  Apparently, they can handle up to six ships a day during the season! Every business along the first few streets is tourist-oriented, and the prices on some of the clothing items were temptingly reasonable.  You couldn’t walk more than a few feet without another offering of goods or services aimed smack-dab at the cruise ship passengers.  It’s also a favourite stop for the crew, and many were flooding out of the ship at the first opportunity to head to Wal-mart for some more reasonably priced snacks and personal items.  Of course, we never saw Wal-mart or really much of the “real” community in Ketchikan.  As with some of the other cruise ship ports, the tourist area is kept well away from the residential community.  It’s kind of like the circus coming to town, except the infrastructure is all there and it’s only the customers that move from place to place.

Tourist strip

Cherry blossoms in Ketchikan

Mosaic Octopus

Mosaic Gooseneck Barnacles

There’s a nice place to stroll along a small river that runs through the town.  It looked perfect for a dipper as I caught up with Jim and Jeannie after returning to the ship for an extra camera battery.  Sure enough, they had one in sight.  A little farther along, I found a recently fledged American Dipper begging for food from a nearby parent, who delivered many mouthfuls of chubby grubs. (i have hundreds more pictures of these birds if these don't satisfy you.)

Adult American Dipper.  Is that a nest?
Begging baby dipper

It worked!

I managed to get back on the ship without buying anything, and tended to blog writing and a few other things that may or may not have included a nap in the afternoon. After dinner, we got together for a bit of dessert and a photo.
Happy travellers!

A few days before our arrival, there had been a terrible accident involving the mid-air crash of two planes carrying tourists from a Princess cruise ship. Six people had died, including a local pilot.  Miraculously, 10 survived, although some are still hospitalized. As we left Ketchikan, the flightseeing community and other pilots did a flypast of the community to honour their lost friend.  On the water below, a Humpback whale paralleled our ship, breaching at least five times before disappearing out of sight.  In the air and on the water, it seemed a fitting tribute.

1 comment:

  1. yes so sad about those who lost ttheir lives in ketchikan and apparently the same company just had another plane crash killing 2 more people. just tragic. however seeing all your happy faces is uplifting so glad you had such a spectacular time you can really see it in your smiles!