Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining Allen Marine Tours on their Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer tour. We left the dock around 8am and didn’t get back until 1pm, so it ended up being a pretty full morning of adventuring!
We met with the rest of the cruise ship passengers at Pier 3, just outside where the Norwegian Pearl was docked (ah, memories!). All of us boarded around 7:45, with the boat taking off promptly at 8am. And then, we were off! John, our onboard naturalist, spoke for about 2 hours straight about the history of Ketchikan, Annette Island (the only Native American reservation in Alaska), New Eddystone Rock, and the wildlife we passed, including a couple of humpback whales.
Along the way, Allen Marine provided four delicious and complimentary snacks: donut holes, locally-made jams on crackers, a choice of chowder (AMAZING) or chili, and smoked salmon on crackers. There was also complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate throughout the voyage. Bathrooms were super clean, especially for a tour boat. Leslie and Caleb were the ones passing out snacks; both were very friendly, kind, and helpful throughout the voyage.
At last, we arrived at Rudyerd Bay, and got to see the beautiful Misty Fjords! The captain slowed us down so that we could really take it all in, and boy, did we. While the wildlife such as harbor seals and a few local birds were cool to see, nothing could compare to the gorgeous appearance of the cliffs surrounding us. While I tried to capture it in pictures, nothing compares to seeing them in person.
On the journey back, there were three more speakers: Merle, the local Haida expert who spoke about Native culture, Leslie, a Ketchikan local who spoke about the traditional uses of Devil’s Club, and Caleb, who spoke a bit about how salmon is prepared. Throughout, John the naturalist shared more information about wildlife of the area, pointing out every time we passed a bald eagle (which he must have had eagle eyes to spot) and describing the five types of salmon in Alaska.
At 1pm, we pulled back into the pier, passing the multitude of cruise ships (I believe there were 5 as we were arriving) and returned to shore. By then, the sun was coming out (though you can’t tell from the pictures) and we were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather for the rest of the day.
Overall, I had an amazing time, saw some beautiful sights, and was lucky to have John as our host, as well as the rest of the hardworking crew. If you’re in Ketchikan for just a few hours, as many Alaskan cruises are, this is a wonderful way to spend your time, especially if you have the Misty Fjords on your list of “must-see’s”.