We off-load in Ketchikan. This time it’s out the side exit of the ferry (which probably means we’ll back up with a turn when we continue on.) The larger ferries like the Kennicott are outfitted with multiple doors and elevators to load and unload in different port environments. Very versatile and efficient!
The town of Ketchikan is located on the southern end of Revillagigedo Island. The main road extends fifteen miles northwest and runs fifteen miles east of town. We’re staying at the northwest end at the Clover Pass Resort. When we check in everyone is talking about the annual KingSalmon Fishing Derby that finished the night before. Some skilled and lucky local person won the $10,000 grand prize with a 44+ pound salmon. As we back into our waterfront space, a young bald eagle swoops in and lands on the rocks about 25 feet from us. (Must be the official Ketchikan welcome wagon.) Our views here are spectacular, the people are friendly and the Wi-Fi speedy – we have a wonderful first impression of this place.
We grab a bite to eat at the Halibut Hole, an alfresco café along the creek. This is a family run business. The current owner Amber Nygren took over the business from her aunt and uncle five years ago when they retired and she is committed to preparing super fresh local fare. We order beer battered zucchini and baskets of salmon and clam strips with chips. The batter is light and everything delivered to our table hot out of the fryer.
Later, we stop at the Tongass Historical Museum to view artifacts and learn a bit about the history of this area (which is rowdy and colorful.)
The next day, while sipping our morning coffee we are treated to a show: a convocation of eagles feeding near the dock, a mink scampering across the rocks, otters swimming near the shore and an orca cruising the channel. (It’s one of those “priceless” MasterCard moments!)
|Totem Bight Totem|
and learn about the native plants and animals of the Alaskan rainforest. What a great way to experience the nature of the area!
Later in the afternoon we head back into town and do the downtown walking tour. We stop at the Totem Heritage Center and check out the priceless nineteenth century totem poles and artifacts retrieved from abandoned native villages of the area.
At the Tatsuda Market we pick up some dried shitake mushrooms (Asian specialties are sometimes hard to find, so we get em when we see em.) While shopping, one of the employees stops us and tells us some of the history of the store. During WWII when Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese decent were being relocated and interned, members of the Ketchikan community stepped up. They took over the businesses left behind. When the Tatsuda family returned after the war, all of their property and income from the market was returned.
At the Ketchikan Visitor center we chat with the clerk and ask for dining recommendations. He suggests the Ocean View Restaurant. It’s away from the cruise ship docks and caters more to local patrons. There IS an ocean view, but the every surface in the restaurant is covered with trompe l’oile. We ask our waitress Sauta about the art and she explains that there was a traveling artist who would pass through and stay for a few months every year. Her brother (the owner) would hire him and let him paint whatever he wanted. So we dine in the Sistine Chapel of Ketchikan (with an ocean view no less!) They serve both Mexican and Italian Specialties and we opt for an appetizer of Queso Fundido, (Baked Mozzarella Cheese with green chilies and chorizo) and The Patron Molcajete (Strips of steak, chicken and jumbo shrimp sautéed with bacon in a spicy Diablo tomato sauce and topped with Mozzarella, served in a hot lava bowl.) This is definitely one of the most flavorful and vibrant dishes we have ever enjoyed. This restaurant is truly a gem. Art on the walls and art on the plates!
|yep that's us|
|What's for dinner?|
After the tour we walk over to the Arctic Bar, one of the oldest bars in Ketchikan. We order a couple of Alaskan Ambers on tap and sit back to enjoy the atmosphere. Shortly thereafter, two guys walk in with a big black dog. The dog, Hank takes a liking to us. Hank’s owner was part of the team that won the Salmon Derby with a 44.6-pound salmon… so we get to hang with a local celebrity, while Hank guards my backpack and his friend Robert clears the pool table game after game. (These guys are the Ketchikan drinking version Jay and Silent Bob and we mean this in the most affectionate way.) We are probably the only non-locals in the bar, but we feel welcome and it’s a perfect way to end another great day.
|Falls in the Fiord|
Ketchikan is a wonderful destination but alas… after six days here we have to prepare to move on, pick up dry ice at Safeway so we can turn off the fridge, hook up Dave and Dimples and board the ferry to Juneau… and so the adventure continues…
(BTW, In case you were wondering about the caption to this post; in the RV world a gaucho is not an Argentinian Cowboy, but the lounge that converts to a bed.)