October 17, 2013

Ketchikan, Alaska

Due to bad weather our port call schedule changed and we stopped in Ketchikan, Alaska first.  It calls itself the shopping capital of Alaska.  The downtown area is right next to the piers and is lined with shops.  There are totem poles around and Creek Street is a short walk.  I’ve heard that it’s also one of the rainiest cities and I believe it.  I’ve been there twice now and it’s been pouring both times.  If you ever visit, make sure to bring your rain gear.

Many Waters Ketchikan AL

We had decided to do a Duck Tour in Ketchikan.  We’ve done the Boston Duck Tours more times and I can count and we love them.  The Duck Tour concept began in Boston and they do it well.  I didn’t realize that we had high expectations but did.  Mom & I DID NOT enjoy the Duck Tour at all.  At the end, I knew more about our tour guide (a 28 year old woman who was heading to Baja, Mexico to nanny for an American family and she grew up in Colorado & Kansas) than I did about Ketchikan.  She did give us some information on salmon and we did get to see the salmon elevator.  We also drove by the city park that used to be a salmon hatchery.  We drove right by Creek Street and the Totem poles while she was cracking corny jokes.  She did make sure to tell us about where Burger King used to be and why it went out of business.  I really don’t care about Burger King and would have preferred to learn more about the beginnings of the town. 

Many Waters Ketchikan Duck Tour

After driving around a little we headed to the water.  While in the water she told us about three kind of fishing boats and how they work.  It was interesting.  Then we “sailed” around for no reason.  I had the feeling that it was to waste time and fulfill the hour and half requirement of how long the tour was supposed to be.  Overall I was very disappointed in this tour.  If you find yourself in Ketchikan, do yourself a favor and skip this one. It’s not worth your money.

The good news is that Mom & I still had plenty of time to walk around.  We did some shopping (yay for end of season sales! I scored a warm Alaska sweatshirt for $10 and mom got a fleece jacket for the same price, both normally priced over $50).  Munchkin made out like a bandit!  I love buying stuff for my little girl.  Some of it will be for Christmas.  I had wanted to get her a stuffed puffin and after looking in several shops I finally found one.  Everything else was icing.  She got books, socks, pj’s,and t-shirts.

Many Waters Ketchikan Alaska

We walked Creek Street and did some shopping.  There were still a lot of salmon in the creek.  There were also a lot of dead salmon along the edges, spent from spawning.  In the creek lives a family of otters who like to feast on the salmon, as it’s easy pickings since there are so many.  We saw two, maybe three of them.  One was white and the other one or two I saw was black.  They were having a great time! 

We made our way through the downtown, see and taking photos of a couple of the totem poles.  I’m not big into totem poles (as in I don’t want to buy small replicas to bring home) but I do think they are cool looking.  I know they are culturally significant and I would love to know more.

Overall we had a great day in Ketchikan.  We were excited to get back on the ship though, to warm up and eat some lunch!


  1. Woohoo for good deals!!!! But too bad about the tour! When we went there were no salmon in the creek yet, and we didn't do a tour, because, well, tours with a toddler = expensive ;) We walked around (in our rain jackets ;)) and then enjoyed coffee in one of the local shops. I used to want to live in Ketchikan - I don't think I could handle all the cruise traffic though ;)

  2. Just about all the tours in Alaska are expensive! I wasn't prepared for it the first time, as the tours in Bermuda (where I normally cruised to) were much more reasonable. Guess that happens with float planes and helicopters! I do enjoy walking around Ketchikan, it's so pretty. As for cruise traffic, I think that downtown pier side part of town closes down completely in the winter.

  3. What a bummer about the tour! I really want to do the one in Seattle, I actually didn't know they did them other places. But, yay for the rest of the day being nice.

  4. I really want to do the Duck Tour in Seattle as well! I'm hoping it will be good...I'll let you know how it is once I do it (if you haven't gotten to it first!)


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