Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Days 3 & 4 - Sea Day and Ketchikan

After spending just about 24 hours in Vancouver, we headed over to the cruise ship terminal so we could board the boat, the Statendam by Holland America Line. Here is our boat, the Stately Statendam, as the lady on the intercom would call it daily.

The line to go through customs and security was very long. After that, we were able to get on the boat and take our bags to our stateroom. Luckily, the rest of our bags had already arrived ahead of us. We dropped everything off and went about the ship to explore a little bit before we had to go to the lifeboat practice. We grabbed a quick snack at the Lido Restaurant; the ship's Golden Corral-like buffet. The food there was just OK (we much preferred to eat in the nicer dining room). After eating a snack, we had to go to the lifeboat practice. That took awhile because people had to find their correct lifeboat station and then we had to learn how to put on our life jackets.

After that, we went around the ship a bit more to explore and see what was there. We found the shops, the casino, the dining room, the gym, the showroom (where all of the nightly entertainment shows are), the movie theater, the art gallery and the pool to name just a few places. I even found the laundry room. After looking around for an hour or two, we decided to get ready for supper. The boat was still in Vancouver and was not able to leave at its scheduled time because someone on the boat was sick and they had to send another boat out to take this person off and take them to the hospital. So, we headed to eat while enjoying a view of the Vancouver bay. The dining room was nice, although the service was pretty slow. It took about 2 hours to be served and eat our meal. After we ate, we headed to the show. Once we sat down in our seats, someone asked if we wanted to be a part of the show. We said sure, not really sure of what we were getting ourselves into. It turned out to be a really fun contest in which we raced another couple in making a bed and also creating a towel animal (a cruise ship staple). We ended up making a snake! We tied the other couple and we each won a book about how to make different kinds of animals out of towels. You might be the lucky recipient of one next time you visit us.

After the show we went and got some sleep because we hadn't gotten too much the past few nights due to our travel schedule. The next day, which was a sea day, we participated in many on board activities including a tour of the main ship kitchen. Below is just a small part of the kitchen.
We also got to "sea" many cool animals and shapes made out of bread, such as this lobster.

We also got to attend a cooking show where the chef cooked up some salmon. There were also some seminars relating to shopping in the ports, which were not that helpful. Although the speaker did give us some coupons so we could get some free earrings and necklaces from some of the jewelry stores.

Then we prepared for our first port stop in Ketchikan, Alaska, which was the following day (new entry #102 on the list).

We had an exciting excursion booked on the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour.

It was a boat that used to be on Deadliest Catch, named the Aleutian Ballad, but was then converted to a boat for passengers (i.e. tourists). They took us out on the boat and showed us how to catch bait fish for the crab pots. They also showed us how to pull up a crab pot on to the boat. This first pot had king crab (part of #86) in it. Here you can check out a nice Wikipedia article relating to fishing for king crab in Alaska.

The fishermen held up the crab and we all got to "pose" with it. It's pinchers were a little too strong for us to be trusted to hold it ourselves. ;)

After the king crab, they pulled up another pot with Opilio crab (part of #86). These crabs do not have the same bumpy and rough shells that the king crab do. They also do not have such large pinchers, so we were able to hold these ourselves.

After looking at and learning about the crabs, we also got to see octopus, sea stars and various kinds of fish that live in Alaskan waters. Then, we got to our favorite part of the tour. There is a small island off of the coast of Ketchikan that is owned by Natives. The waters around this island are also owned by the Natives as well, so in this area, Alaskan state regulations do not apply. Usually, in Alaska, feeding eagles is illegal. However, the fishing boat company has entered into a joint venture with the Natives and we were able to throw pieces of fish from the boat and feed the eagles. It was pretty impressive; there were about 30 eagles flying around our boat picking up the fish out of the water.

After we saw the eagles and all of the other animals, we headed back in to shore. The tour was great and we were planning to walk around Ketchikan for the rest of the day and explore Alaska's first canning city. We went to the museum that was attached to the local library and we got to learn about the city's history. Ketchikan has a rich Native Alaskan history too. Members of the Tlingit tribe lived here. There were also many great totem poles which were restored to their original condition.
After a long and busy day, we headed back to the boat to get cleaned up for supper. We took one last picture of our boat in the port of Ketchikan, Alaska's First City and the Salmon Capital of the World.


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