Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Alaska, Day 6 and 7 -Ketchikan and my birthday

Back last year when I got the itinerary for our cruise I was delighted to see that we stopped in Ketchikan. I knew (thank you Facebook) that one of my Household Sisters from FUS had moved up there. So we got in contact and she met us in her cute cute town. It was such a blessing in the middle of this cruise to visit a home and have the local gym, library, middle school pointed out. People LIVE in Alaska - not just visitors! We also got a great tour of the Catholic School (the only Catholic school in the diocese of Juneau). Even though Ketchikan is another town that you can't drive into  - only by plane or boat it is still important to have Catholic education available for the diocese. My old pal is the principle of the school and is doing a tremendous job. It was inspiring to see her in her place and working to bring Christ into this somewhat isolated place. She is doing such a good work there.

Alaska is as filled with animal skins and heads as you might imagine.

Ketchikan was small enough that we could return to our ship to eat lunch for free. It's also nice to visit the ship on a port day - it's so empty!

They have a cute canal bordered by wooden walkways up against the mountains.

The view from my friend's deck where she is sometimes woken up by the whales spouting. Apparently they are quite loud! And they are RIGHT THERE!

Ketchikanians use cisterns to gather their water. with rain 300 days a year they don't seem to run out. There year round average temperature here is in the 50s. Thanks to the temperate rainforest. It's significantly more mild an existence then we have in MD (as I write it is in the mid-90s with nasty humidity). They get less snow then us too.

We stopped to see this (most likely female: "how do you know it's a female?" - "The girls have big butts") bear fishing in the stream near a salmon hatchery. 

Earlier in the day my friend's husband had been mowing the lawn and the looked up to see a mom and triplets in his yard. Apparently their bear-dog only cares to warn about bears presence if the girls are home.

This was the second bear we saw haunting the same stream.

Thanks, Nicole for the family picture!

As we were eating dinner on the ship we finally saw just a tad of the famous Ketchikan rain.

Getting ready for bed with with Gran. Thomas is hanging from the berth that comes down out of the ceiling and Gran is sitting on the couch that turns into another bed. 
This is the room without the berth lowered down or the couch turned into a bed. There were four sleeping spots per room so we had adjoining ones.

A nautical mile is just over 1 regular mile.

Singing "Let It Go" and RUNNING for breakfast. The best part of some people's days.

The last day - our Day At Sea sailing back to Vancouver was also my birthday! I had an Alaskan birthday!!! Dream come true.

The kids swam. I sat shivering on the side. But they claim all the water is heated. 

AND watching Frozen on the big screen while swimming. Obvi.

She was MIRACULOUSLY tall enough to do the big water slide. Finally, things are shaping for little Cath.

Over. And over. And over. We had to drag her away eventually.

Warming up in the Quiet Cove Cafe (grownups only :)) while still enjoying the scenery. 

"Let me take a low quality picture of my food and text it to people who don't care." - Jim Gaffigan.
However, this calamari was the best I've ever had. And it was my birthday so I get to do this.

John's mom and brothers wrangled the kids for our last dinner on the ship so that he and I could get a massage (our first, hopefully not our last) and then go to dinner at the grown-ups only restaurant on the ship. It was such a lovely gift. A little charge-up for both of us before returning to all the prep of moving across an ocean that we are in the middle of here at home.

I turned upper 30's. But he'll always be older, at least there's that. 

Post dinner movie on deck for them.

Post dinner Alaskan sunset for me. Happy happy birthday!!!!!
In conclusion, I can't thank my ever-generous, ever-optimistic, ever-energetic Mother in law for this gift enough. It was the fulfillment of a major bucket list item for me and absolutely lived up to my expectations. I only wish that I could go longer, farther and take everyone I know! Alaska forever!!!

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