Friday, August 17, 2012

Sitka Day Five

Today we anchored next to Sitka, and it was perfect weather!  I visited the Sitka Raptor Center where they care for injured birds.  I interviewed one of the bird handlers / trainers and she brought out a snow owel and one of their bald eagles.  This raptor center is a non-profit organization and they do a fantastic job of rescuing injured birds and mantain a very informative center for visitors to learn more about Alaska's wildlife.  There's also a beautiful trail that leads to a river where the salmon are packed thick into this area.  I took the trolley car which only cost $10 for an all-day pass...it sure beats walking, which we did the last time I was in Sitka.  After returning to the Oosterdam, I made arrangements to go out in a tender to photograph the ship while at anchor.  I call it my "Hero shot" and I'm very happy with how the pictures and video turned out.  I'll have to share these pictures when I return, because as I mentioned, my laptop had a total hard drive failure.  It was a pleasant evening dining in the Vista Dinning room with colleagues.  I had the Almond crusted Salmon. 

Day Six we were in Ketchikan, and I went on the floatplane and crab feast excursion with a colleague, Doug Parker, who is also a cruise journalist.  I had been on this exact same excursion several years ago with my family and enjoyed it so much it was a pleasure to repeat the experience.  The tour left in the morning shortly after we docked, however; because of the dense fog, we were told that the floatplane part of the trip would be cancelled.  We decided to go anyways because the crab feast is tremendous.  Once we arrives at the George Inlet Lodge, we were informed that our floatplane will indeed take us back to Ketchikan, because the fog cleared up. The crab feast did not dissappoint us, and the float plane ride was a lot of fun.  After we returned back to Ketchikan we walked around town a bit before boarding the ship. As we were pulling away, a guy was running along the dock trying to get someone's attention, because he had missed the ship.  Prior to departing two names were announced over the PA system, they were instructed to report immediately to the front desk, well, the guy wasn't onboard and he did miss the ship...too bad.  The expense is completely up to the passenger who missed the ship to make his way to the next port, which would not be cheap.  It would be a nightmare!  That's why it's always important to keep a close eye on when the ship departs and the times posted at the gangway. 

Apparently it was record-setting weather today in Ketchikan, sunny and beautiful with temps about 85 degrees. We had great weather as we departed Ketchikan and made our way out to sea once again.  The Captain must have really put the pedal to the medal, because the ship seemed to barrel across the water at high speed...I'm guessing 18 knots or better.  A hour or so after departing we ran into some fog, so as I am typing this, the ship's whistle or fog horn is sounding off every couple of minutes. 

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