Lone Passenger

Wonder what she’s wondering…

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“Bridge to Nowhere” Not Needed Here

The Tongass Narrows is part of Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage. The waterway forms part of the Alaska Marine Highway.  Many types of vessels operate on the channel, such as charter, commercial fishing, and recreational vessels, as well as commercial freight barges and tanks, kayaks, sailboats and passenger ferries.  There is also extensive seaplane traffic on the Narrows, as Ketchikan is the regional center for air transportation to isolated communities.

A proposal to build the Gravina Island Bridge across the Tongass Narrows was shelved due to a national-level controversy over the “bridge to nowhere“.  The bridge was supposed to replace the ferry that currently connects the town of Ketchikan with Gravina Island, where Ketchikan International Airport as well as 50 residents are located.  The bridge was projected to cost $398 million.

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Totems

AS A MATTER OF FACT: The territory occupied by the modern Tlingit people in Alaska is not restricted to particular reservations, unlike most tribes in the contiguous 48 states. This is the result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which established regional corporations throughout Alaska with complex portfolios of land ownership rather than bounded reservations administered by tribal governments. (Hm-m-m… why can’t the other 48 accomplish/adopt this!).

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So many more totem poles throughout Ketchikan area (as well as the Pacific Northwest in general). Check out Totem Bight State Park, the Totem Heritage Center, and the Saxman Native Tlingit Village. Having only one day in Ketchikan, we would have enjoyed learning more about the Tlingit (“People of the Tides”) culture, explored the town and/or take a hike.  As it was, we chose another excursion without regret.

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The Chief Johnson totem pole stands 55′ tall and is carved from a single western red cedar log!

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Ketchikan

Founded as a salmon cannery site in 1885, Ketchikan’s livelihood was initially fishing and for years, it claimed to be the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Logging became an important industry as well, and when cruise ships started plying the waters of the Inside Passage, Ketchikan naturally became a popular port of call. It’s typically the first stop for those heading north.

The city is backed by Deer Mountain and the Tongass National Forest and faces Tongass Narrows, an extremely busy waterway.

Historic Creek Street is the heart of Ketchikan – it’s constructed over boardwalks that run along Ketchikan Creek which is typically loaded with salmon and trout during their migrations in the summer. Visitors can stroll the boardwalk and enjoy book stores, art galleries, bars and restaurants while watching locals fish for their lunch!

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Sunup

To the right, the higher mountains bask in a purple glow.  Thousands more will soon feel that same warmth.  Sometimes, nature keeps things perfectly simple!

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Buoy, Channel Marker, Beacon…

… can only mean one thing…  land ho coming up…  meanwhile, still watching for the sun…

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What Lies Beneath

Everything is big in Alaska!!

a slight alteration…  additional editing…  busting away from the norm…  = BIG FISH!!

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Turn Around and Look

It never ceases to amaze what the slightest turn of the head can yield!

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Incoming….

In much less time than it took me to post the earlier “Solitude for a Lone Fisherman”, it took these purse seiners and/or gillnetters to catch up to that early bird.  Game’s on!  (BTW – these links refer to job openings in Alaska!!!)

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Solitude for a Lone Fisherman

Canada was left behind in the still of the night, the ship glides through the Revillagigedo Channel, a cup of coffee warms the belly and hands, eyeing a faraway boat and waiting for the sun to rise over Revillagigedo Island.  Shortly after the channel comes the Tongass Narrows… and Ketchikan, Alaska, here we come!

Backstory:  In 1793, George Vancouver named the island for the viceroy of Mexico, Juan Vicente de Güemes, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo (reh-villa-GIG-ee-doe) because of his well-known sponsorship of exploration.

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