Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ketchikan, Alaska, Totems, Eagles...

Saturday, June 11...

It was hard to believe this was day 6 of our cruise and we were due to arrive at 1PM in Ketchikan, the southeastern most city in Alaska, and its 4th largest. Our excitement was building because at Ketchikan we were going to see eagles, totems, and a lighthouse.

Lighthouse, Totems and Eagles
It was mid-morning and we still had several hours before we reached their dock. Meanwhile, as we cruised the Inside Passage, the water sparkled beautifully from the reflections of the sun.

Inside Passage
Dali and Disney

This was the opportunity to see a one-time only screening of Destino, a fantastic brainchild of one of the most unlikely pairings in the history of Hollywood and the Art world. We had plenty of time before docking in Ketchikan, so we made it a point to show up at Dazzles where this screening was held. It was very interesting and I am very glad we took the opportunity to view this screening. Jack Warner held a dinner party in 1945, and this concept of Walter Disney and Salvador Dali corroborating began to evolve.

Disney said good new ideas have to be fought for; they do not just come. He felt Dali bubbled with ideas and was communicative. He also felt it was important to keep breaking new trails.

Destino was the name of a Mexican ballad Disney had envisioned for a musical short film project for which he had been compiling short features for theatrical release. Dali was attracted to Destino's title and the concept. In late 1946, for eight months he became an employee of Walt Disney Studios, arriving at 8:30 and working to 5PM. Twenty seconds of film, several paintings, various pen-and-ink drawings, and many storyboards came out of this period of time.

Dali talked about this collaborative in his own newsletter, saying it would "offer to the world the first vision of psychological relief". He was a pioneer in printmaking in the 20th century. All printing methods used by Collectors Editions in the publication of Destino artwork are the same ones Salvador Dali used throughout his career, and performed the same way, with his artistic vision and sensibilities firmly in mind.

The Art of Disney's Destino was an Academy Awards Nominee for Best Short Animated Film.


Alaska's first city was founded in 1885 as a salmon cannery site, with fishing being its initial livelihood. This earned it the title "Salmon Capital of the World".

1st City in Alaska
Now over 8,250 people within the city limits make it the 6th in the state for population. As we docked, we were pleased to see the easy walking distance from the dock to tours, shopping, etc.

Easy walking from the dock to tours, shopping, etc.
As we left for our tour, I noticed across the street from the dock the extremely long stairway nearly three stories tall at the far end of the street.

Long, tall stairway at far end of photo
Totems and Eagles 

On our boat tour, we had many opportunities to look for eagles as we viewed trees with their nests at a distance, but it was a challenge focusing in on the nests with my 5X zoom camera.

See eagles nest three branches down from top of tree in center.
Ketchikan, we were told, has the largest collection of standing totems. I counted six totems as we passed by this state park that is accessible only from the water.

Totems in state park accessible from water

Two eagles on this side of the highway can be seen on the rocks.

Two eagles
For safety reasons, the lighthouse portion of our tour was aborted. The waves were predicted to reach six feet high.

Rough waters with predictions for 6-foot waves
Our guide explained that what appeared as an island up ahead is very dangerous. The tall shaft in the center is there to warn ships of extremely dangerous rocks totally hidden from view when the tide comes in.

Warning of dangerous rocks ahead
These and other rocks in the area will be totally covered when the tide comes in.

Rain Capital of Alaska

No one waits for the weather to change. Average rainfall tops 200 inches, so all visitors are likely to experience the "liquid sunshine". Remember you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

Rain gauge near ship dock
Fortunately, we enjoyed sunny skies with no precipitation. After our tour we took the opportunity to visit several shops within walking distance, where I purchased several items I could easily fit into my bag and take with me traveling in the RV. They were a pair of Alaska State Flower "Forget-Me-Not" wire earrings, really nice, and Cariloha (extremely soft to the touch) towel wash cloths made of Bamboo (yes, that is correct -- soft and made of Bamboo), and some Del Sol color changing nail polish that changes color in the sun. (Del Sol also makes apparel that changes color in the sun.) Several links are included at the end of this post if you are curious.

Elephant in our cabin

Back at our cabin, the ship employee responsible for making up our room had left another fine creation in our room. About every other day he would create an animal using a bath towel, first a bunny, then a monkey. This time we found an elephant resting on the bed to welcome us back. All were adorable!

Elephant created from one bath towel

Tonight, we enjoyed another table with a view while eating our dinner.

My sister and I ready to order dinner

Enjoying this Alaskan vacation with my sister has been fantastic! Thanks to my sister who did a superb job of pulling it all together! Alaska is so fascinating, perhaps because much of the beauty of Alaska has been untouched!

We had a total of five people in our group, but to protect their privacy, I have purposely not used any photographs of the other three.

Activities offered on the ship included a huge variety of things too numerous to list here. This was a non-smoking cruise. However, in the casino on board people were allowed to smoke if they were playing the machines. An exercise room, spa, library reading room, plus entertainers, game shows, bingo, shopping, and dancing were only a small fraction of on-board activities. Golfers got to take part in a "hole-in-one" challenge down the main staircase one afternoon as passengers looked on from several levels.

Two individual entertainers that we particularly enjoyed on several evenings were Brian Rath who sang and accompanied himself on the guitar, and Tim Kruse, who played the Grand Piano. Brian's programs included evenings where he featured James Taylor hits, Radio hits of modern masters who made their mark on contemporary music, All-time hits, Acoustic Pop, etc. Tim featured programs of nice soft jazz, piano bar hits of the 50's and 60's, tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John, classic rock, and even a sing-along program. The musical entertainment provided by these two guys kept us coming back to hear more.

Celebrating a Beautiful Cruise with Festive Balloons

Day 7 was mostly getting our bags in order and making sure our passports were easily accessible. The last evening on ship the five in our group enjoyed dinner overlooking the water from a round table with a window view in one of the main dining rooms. Later my sister and I joined others along with the cruise director in a sing-a-long of familiar songs, after which festive, colorful balloons were released to float down from the ceiling near the central staircase.

Festive balloons released after group singing.
Thank you everyone for following my sister and I on this Alaska adventure... the next post will talk about Vancouver, where we disembark after the ship docks. Our flights for home leave later, so we still have another full day to sightsee in Vancouver before I resume posting about RV full-time living and traveling.

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