Saturday, October 3, 2015

Alaskan Cruise - Day 7

We woke up in Ketchikan!  It was a smooth docking - we didn't even realize we were here!  After a quick breakfast with a wonderful Bostonian couple, we headed off the ship early.  We walked to Creek St - where salmon and men come to spawn (LOL!) ... and even got our totem pole charm. 

Our excursion today is:

Herring Cove Bear Adventure    8:00        3 1/4 hours                         

Join this bear viewing opportunity, which is accessible by road. You'll begin with a narrated 8 mile coastal drive to the forested area of Herring Cove located within the Alaska Rain Forest Sanctuary. Meet your guide and set out on a walking expedition to locate some of the black bears that call this area home. 

You will pass thru tall stands of hemlock, spruce and cedar as you explore the sanctuary. A boardwalk and a series of 5 elevated bridges lead to a private viewing platform overlooking Eagle Creek where bears often come to fish for salmon in the stream. The nearby Whitman Hatchery ensures that the river is teeming with salmon every summer.  

Typically, large numbers of black bears gather here to feed on these huge runs of salmon that are returning to spawn in the stream. Bald eagles perch in the trees waiting patiently for scraps left by the bears. Mink and marten often frequent the area and seals can usually be seen near the mouth of the stream feeding on the bountiful fish runs.  You will have ample time to observe the wildlife activity. 

At the conclusion of the mile-long trail hike you will have an opportunity to interact with and feed Alaskan reindeer and walk through the historic Herring Bay Lumber Co sawmill established by legendary pioneer Ben Fleenor.  See bird of prey up close at the raptor exhibit and visit with a native master carver crafting a totem. Enjoy a snack and beverage at the General Store. Transportation to and from the sanctuary is by motor coach.

The Sanctuary is not exclusive to your tour, it is a multi-use site. so you will encounter guests participating in other tour activities. To minimize resource impacts and maximize wildlife viewing opportunities, this tour is available only to small groups and on a limited basis.  

We caught the bus to Herring Creek. They were very strict.  No gum or candy in your mouth; no food, candy, gum, wet wipes in your bags!  So we cleaned all those out into a bin and off we walked.

It's good luck to touch the totem when going in!

We climbed up the first ramp to the bridge and looked.  And looked and looked!  There were zip-liners going by above our heads!  

When we asked our guide about the set up and why it doesn't bother the bears.  He told us bears have no predators from above, so that doesn't alarm them.

Our guide told us all to look up the hill for bears headed our way; and here they came from down the hill by the creek!  A mom and her 2 cubs.   We took thousands of pictures because we weren't sure where they were going to stop!  But they came up to almost under where we were standing!

They are under the swinging bridge!

Here they are, almost under "our" bridge. For the first time in my life I understood why hunters wanted to take trophies!  Their coats were gleaming black and looked so inviting and cozy ... I wanted to take one home!  I think we watched them for 20 minutes or more.  

You can see the claw marks on the tree where the cubs have climbed.  The cubs stay with Mom for 2 years.  The male bears will try to kill the cubs.  That put mom back into heat and then she can have HIS cubs!

There's a joke of how you can tell what kind of bear is chasing you:  When you are being chased by a bear, climb a tree - if the bear shakes you out of the tree, it's a grizzly or brown bear.  If the bear climbs the tree with you, it's a black bear!

Here's a 'money' shot of salmon jumping.  We walked thru the forest - saw bear scat (yes, they do ... in the woods!); banana slugs and the fish hatchery.  Saw totem poles and met a totem pole artist. Here's a 'topper' in progress.

And we got back into town in time to look thru the jewelry stores.  We picked up all the free gifts I could for Miss P's new jewelry box!  How fun. But we were not in time to take the city bus out to the quilt store.  Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!  

Later that night I kicked myself.  We should have hired a taxi to take us to it, wait for us and bring us back!!  But it never occurred to us when we were there!

We were back on board for the salmon bake.  The promised rain didn't show up or at least waited until after we left at 12:30. It's been a charmed cruise, weather-wise.

The rest of the day was "at sea" so we went to "The Fragile Oceans" presentation.  I thought it would be a video from NOAA, but it was an interesting lecture.

We stayed for the Captain's Talk and had Mimosas.  He was a good speaker.  And even when asked for questions, I didn't bother to ask why we were out of dill pickles!  A serious situation for lunch sandwiches!

Then we went to the Dancing with the Stars on board session.  I really wanted to try it, but when the instructor said, bring out the sexy ... ummm, no thanks!

Tonight was Gala night, luckily no one at our table was really dressed to the nines.  Met a lovely Japanese woman - N and her husband B.  Then J&S joined us.  They knew each other too.

N is a quilter!  She asked how long I'd been quilting - 41 years.  She said I beat her.  And (thank goodness) I said, that doesn't mean I'm good, just have stamina!  WELL, it ends up - she's a Paducah Show winner!  A pattern designer! and has been accepted into the invitational Japanese shows!!!!  Canon Beach Quilt Shop carries her bag patterns.

What fun to meet her and talk. So tomorrow morning, we're meeting at 10 in the Crow's Nest with our projects for show and tell.  I let the other quilters we've met know too.  Can't wait to see N's hand quilting she's working on!  You do meet the nicest people on cruises.  Especially if they are quilters too.

Dinner was really good: shrimp cocktail; pear, blue cheese, arugula salad; sea bass with Italian veggies; and flourless chocolate cake!  It was excellent.

We went to the show "Ever After " and there were a lot of children there - but it wasn't really a kid show.  An adult version of 3 fairy tales!!  I think there was something like that on IOTSs cruise.  I don't care for them.  We got there late, because we headed the wrong way AGAIN!  So I sat partially behind a pillar! Didn't help endear the show to me!

Tried to get into the piano bar; nope! Tried to watch a video on our dvd player, nope!  So Ulli is sewing and I'm 'blogging' and we're losing an hour tonight anyway. Good night!

1 comment:

cityquilter grace said...

loving the travelogue doni.....looks like having a wonderful time....