The Roving Richards

A family on the move

Ketchikan

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Today we awoke to find the ship towering over the cute little town of Ketchikan. We got up early and had the buffet breakfast then went to join our Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour. They take you out on one of the old “Deadliest Catch” boats and it was suggested as a not to miss excursion for families with children. At a cost of just under $1000.00 for our family of four, we hoped it would be amazing! We started out on the top deck but once we left the port the wind picked up and even with the loaner jackets it was much too cold up there. We went downstairs for hot chocolate and the girls and I decided to just take some of the empty seats there. The first place we went was into Indian territory where the guides were free to feed the eagles, something that is illegal in the US territory.  Even though I know it’s probably not good for the eagles, it was truly amazing to watch the 18-20 we saw dive for fish right in front of us.  Next the guides, both former fisherman, showed us how they load the long lines for line fishing, and then pulled up some lines they’d set earlier. They got a few fish, one of which was a rockfish and I guess they die as soon as they are pulled to the surface because their swim bladders pop. Poor little guy. But everyone else got to go into the aquarium.  Next stop was to pull up the Alaskan Crab cages. They actually set these elsewhere and then use them on the tour for a week or so before they return the crabs and start with a new crab pot. Those crabs are massive!  An octopus had also gotten into the pot and eaten a few of the crabs bummer. Apparently the crabs can live very well in the pots and sometimes when the float breaks off and the ropes rot in the cages they continue to live in there even though they can get out, just because they like it. Every time they got sea creatures in the pots they let all the kids handle them before they went into the aquarium, so Genevieve got to handle a huge, heavy, gross and slimy sea star, and Dianne and I got to have a sea urchin walk across our hands. The next crab pot we got was a box crab.  These things are like box turtles in that they can totally fold up so that all you get is shell.There was an even larger octopus in with them but he wasn’t able to do any harm. Finally we went to see the “jails” they had set up, barrels one of which contained a wolf eel and one with an octopus. They let the octopus in the jail go and put our big one in therethey only like to keep them in the barrels for a couple of days to “think about what they have done”. Then they dumped all the  sea creatures from the aquarium back into the ocean, including the little octopus. I really liked watching the octupi, it was amazing to me how they could squeeze through the little hole that divided the aquarium into two halves. Genevieve says the bigger one ate all the shrimp in the tank while he was at it too. The boat docked and I have to say the tour was worth the money.

Once we disembarked we hightailed it to the aerial tram to get a view of Ketchikan. You are supposed to pay to ride the elevator thing but we couldn’t find anyone to pay so we rode for free. Then we walked back through Ketchikan, crossing the creek street bridge but we were about a week too early for the salmon run. One thing I will say about the people in this town is they sure are friendly. While we were in the aerial tram/elevator thing a girl asked us if we were enjoying Ketchikan. I said we were and then asked if she was staying in town for more than just the day. She replied that she lived there and then proceeded to introduce us to all the members of the German family staying with her!  Next while we were walking in the town a girl a few years older than Genevieve said “wow, I like your earrings” which thrilled her to no end. After walking through town and getting KettleKorn we returned to the ship before it left port and had lunch and then went for a swim. That night after dinner we saw the big dance spectacular, which was okay. And off to bed!

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