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Ketchikan 8/25/2004

By Chris Guenzler

Ketchikan's history began in 1883, when a man named Snow built a salmon saltery. Two years later, businessmen from Portland, Oregon, hired Mike Martin to investigate possibilities for building a salmon cannery on the banks of Ketchikan Creek. Martin and the cannery's manager, George Clark, set up a partnership and opened a saltery and a general store. Two years later, with the fishing trade flourishing, Ketchikan was definitely in business. The town had a population of 800 in 1900 and the town was officially incorporated. With mining activities beginning in the area, Ketchikan became an important trading community, with an estimated two-thirds of miners' wages reportedly ending up in the bars and bordellos of Creek Street.

Despite a mining decline, the fishing industry and timber operations began to grow with establishment of the Ketchikan Spruce Mills early in the century. In 1954, Ketchikan Pulp Mill was completed at nearby Ward Cove, assuring jobs not only in town, but in the surrounding woods as well. Today, that industry is in trouble worldwide but the ever resilient Alaskans are starting to focus on another mainstay, tourism. Cruise ships, the Alaska Marine Highway and Alaska Airlines as well as many charter operators bring thousands of visitors to town through the summer months, while across Tongass Narrows, an endless stream of jet aircraft keep Ketchikan very much in touch with the world outside.

Waking up with the Sun Princess already in port at Ketchikan meant that after I had breakfast in the buffet, I could get off the ship. I first went to the Ketchikan Visitor Bureau to get my free Downtown Ketchikan Walking Tour Map. I decided to do the tour backwards as I would take care of all the hill climbing early during my walk.

I walked by Eagle Park then through the tunnel.

At Harbor View Park a picture of the Sun Princess as well as another boat that docked behind us.

I walked back through the tunnel then up the stairway to Pine Street.

A half block away were views looking west.

Heading one block east gave me a great view looking down Main Street. I made a left on Grant Street to Edmonds Street and it ended with another staircase down.

This gave me an excellent view of the harbor. The stairway took me down to Dock Street.

The Totem Pole outside the Library and Museum caught my eye.

I went to my next location of Ship Creek.

Here I found a Funicular Tram that took me up 150 feet to the Cape Fox Lodge.

The view looking down towards the Sun Princess.

Outside there were more Totem Poles in front of the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

I took the Funicular Back down to Creek Street.

Here are more views along Creek Street. I walked back across Ketchikan Creek to Park Ave where I followed the creek east and crossed the creek again. I was really enjoying my walk on this beautiful southeast Alaska morning. Once more I crossed Ketchikan Creek and turned onto Salmon Street to the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center.

I crossed the creek for the 5th time today to the Totem Pole Center.

Another Totem Pole out front. I then took Deermont Street west to Stedman Street.

I found another Totem Pole before I made a left on Thomas Street that took me to the Thomas Basin Boat Harbor.

I walked to the end of the breakwater for several pictures. I returned to Stedman Street crossing Ketchikan Creek for the last time and returned to where I started via the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center and the Salmon Landing Market. I made a post card stop then found a bench and filled them out on this sunny beautiful morning. I found a mail box then celebrated with a Coca-Cola this grand adventure in Ketchikan. I returned to the ship, went up to the Lido Deck and sat out in sun writing this part of the story while working on my suntan. I went to lunch at 11:15 in the buffet having some veal before returning to my room to watch "School of Rock".

Cruising on to Juneau 8/25/2004

The Sun Princess left Ketickan right on schedule with me sitting on the front of Lido Deck. We sailed north with the Gavina Islands to the west.

The ship heading into the Clarence Strait with Prince of Wales Island to the west and the Cleveland Peninsula to the east.

My front Lido Deck seating club!

We headed by Ernest Sound with Eton Island to the north of it. The Stikine Strait took off to the east as we traveled by Zarembo Island through the narrows of Snow Pass.

Snow Pass.

Here we were told to be on whale alert and we got lucky.

The ship headed northwest out into the Summer Strait where I spotted more whales. I returned to my room as darkness began to take hold. We went to the dining room with me enjoying a steak. We passed another Princess Ship so I got to see how our ship would look all lit up at night. As the ship traveled by Point Baker it was affected by the swells of an open ocean. I turned in for the night after having spent another great day on this cruise.

During the night the Sun Princess passed between the Cape Decision Lighthouse and Coronation Island as we turned northeast up the Chatham Straits. The ship then turned east into the Frederickson Strait going between the Admiralty Island to the north and the Kun and Kuprereanof Islands to the south. At "The Brothers" we turned northeast up the Stephens Passage to the Gastineau Channel to Juneau.

Click here for Part 3 of the story.