After sailing from Seattle, we finally arrived at the very first stop in Alaska – Ketchikan!
My excitement of finally being in Alaska knew no bounds and breakfast disappeared in a flurry as I hurried to hop into appropriate clothes and head out to explore Ketchikan.
The plan for the day was pretty simple, hop on a boat, catch ourselves some crabs and come back to shore to have a might crab feast!
I also wanted to explore Ketchikan, of course, but I figured we’d do that after our crab feast.
*The Inside Passage, by the way, is like the route of waterways between the huge islands that line us the Pacific North West coast of the US (and British Columbia in Canada). This Wikipedia article here should help shed a bit more light on what it is and its nuances.
And so off we went on our boat (a small one this time – not the Celebrity Solstice), marvelling along the way at the mountains that just dominated the landscape and pretty much just rose up to the clouds! They’re absolutely huge here and the whole thing just feels so dramatic!
Along the way, you can even see bald eagle nests – along with said bald eagles (though at the time, I’d just gotten a new set of lens so I apologise for the lack of photos of the eagles – don’t worry, I figured out how to use the lens pretty quickly and more than made up for it later on 😉 ).
We stopped off in the Inside Passage to check up on the fishermen’s crab traps, where we hauled up a pot full of Dungeness crabs. (Random fact – Dungeness crabs were actually recommended by Seafood Watch as a good alternative to “overfished fishes or indeed to fishes that are caught in a way that harms other marine life or environment”.)
The crabs we caught alas, wouldn’t be ones for eating right now. The ones we would be eating were already on the boil, ready for us as soon as we got back to the harbour we took the boats from.
With that, we headed back, eager to get our crab feasting on!
By the way, can you see what I mean about that Alaskan landscape? It’s just so beautiful.
On arrival back at the harbour, we got ourselves some Alaskan beers, crab crackers (or whatever those things used to crack the shells are called) and clarified butter – ready for our freshly cooked crabs!
Now, here’s the thing, when the crabs first arrived – I was like “What? Just one? I thought this was supposed to be a feast!” and almost (almost) began to sulkily eat the crab when I noticed that this initial piece was just the start and there were loads more to come!
By this time though, we were quite ravenous so we wasted no time and got cracking straight away!
Oh, I needn’t have worried for a second about how many crabs we’d get – you get pretty much ALL the crab you can eat! It doesn’t stop coming till you say stop!
I got so carried away with eating the crab, especially when we were told that the table with the highest shells would win a prize (“Easy!” I thought, “I have no plans to stop easting any of these crabs until they run out of them in the kitchen!”).
I didn’t even realise how much crab ‘juice’ I was getting on myself – it was only when I got back to the Celebrity Solstice and put on the same jumper later for dinner that evening that I realised that I probably should have worn a bib. 😆😆😆(All I could smell on it was crab – suffice to say, I didn’t wear that jumper again for the rest of the trip.)
Alas, despite out pretty good effort, the crabs defeated us and we didn’t win the crab-shell-stacking prize!
We did, however, leave with tummies full of the most deliciously cooked Dungeness crabs and I think that a victory in and of itself.
Anyway, we arrived back in Ketchikan in good time and ready for a jaunt through the city.
Ketchikan is a fairly compact city and is super walkable so it’s the perfect spot to explore when you have just a few free hours. It’s not the busiest of places but when you’re here, be sure to pop by the Red Light District.
Ketchikan’s Red Light District is perhaps the cutest Red Light District you’ve ever seen.
Colourful chocolate box houses (some of which you can explore for saucy tales of what it was like back in the day) and others to grab yourself an Alaskan souvenir.
We did neither and instead ended up distracted by movement in the creek. Turns out, the creek is home to quite a lot of salmon which actually travel up this creek to lay their eggs during spawning season, and those salmon for some reason seem to dart about a lot in the water.
The darting, however, made a bit more sense once you also realised that, along with the salmon, there were seals here who called this creek home too! Seals love salmon and suffice to say, these seals certainly had a full platter in this creek here.
I proceeded to just spent a ridiculous amount of time just watching the seals play about, totally unbothered by the people going about their daily business here until the clouds opened and we rushed back about the Celebrity Solstice.
By the way, before I forget, the actual Crab Feast was something we’d booked on Celebrity Cruises before even boarding.
You can book on board too for excursions (or just venture out yourself) but Alaska is not a place we visit every day and I just wanted to make sure we had all our experiences sorted out well in advance (you’ll totally understand why when you see what we got up to in Juneau – our next stop 😉 😀 ).
The view as you sail, leaving Ketchikan by the way, is still pretty amazing so be sure to grab yourself a drink and take a spot anywhere on the boat (we got a bottle of bubbly and our balcony, for the former and latter) to take it all in.
^If you squint really hard at the photo above, you can make out at least 4 bald eagles perched on the tree.
And so off we went, with a taste of the beauty that Alaska promised to unfold even more over the coming days… 😁