Last year, I went on a fly-cruise with Princess Cruises, flying from Singapore to Seattle and setting off from the port for a 7-day cruise to tour the Alaskan seas, stopping at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska, America and Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.
This post will be covering the shore excursion I went for in Ketchikan, the southeastern most city in Alaska.
Ketchikan’s history dates back to 1883, when a man named Snow built a salmon saltery. By 1900, with a population of 800, the town was officially incorporated.
The city currently has a population of around 8,000 people within city limits with a total population of around 13,000 if you include the surrounding outlying areas.
For the shore excursion, I visited the Totem Bight State Park and then watched the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. These two presented a great combination, providing a mix of culture and tradition in the new and old Alaska.
Set amidst the peaceful forest, the Totem Bight State Park is home to 14 totem poles, each telling their own story. There is also a replica of a 19th-century clan house, offering a look into the Tlingit and Haida Native Alaskan cultures.
I won’t be revealing the stories behind each of the totem poles. It is more interesting to hear them from the guide when you are at the venue.
For the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, a few world champion lumberjack athletes staged a friendly competition, performing springboard-chopping, buck-sawing, Axe Throwing cranberry, log-rolling and a 50-foot tree climb to entertain.
We then spend some time shopping near the port area. Watch out for the taxidermy artefacts which I find rather spooky yet captivating at the same time:
Ketchikan is also know as the salmon capital of the world, where five different species of wild Pacific salmon are found in the Alaska waters surrounding the area. For those who like fishing, it might be worth going salmon sportfishing in Kechikan.
Otherwise, if you prefer to just look at the salmon, the salmon ladder on Park Avenue, near the port, has a viewing platform where you can view these determined creatures complete their exhausting journey to the spawning grounds.
Stay tuned for the next post where we will travel to the final stop – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.