We didn’t have to wait long after we arrived at the head of Redoubt Bay. A very large brown bear appeared momentarily from out of the trees, looked at us and then disappeared. Reappearing moments later, he looked around unconcerned and walked deliberately across a large rock and into the water, swimming swiftly across a narrow channel and procuring a silvery meal enroute before climbing out and marching into the trees again. Our fingers hardly left our camera shutters the whole time. Welcome to Alaska! Jim Seeland skippers a smallish, but sturdy and comfortable cabin cruiser around Sitka Sound, along Alaska’s Inside Passage, expertly guiding visitors to close-up looks at spectacular scenery and wildlife. We spent three cool and sunny hours on the sound witnessing close hand a humpback whale surfacing and blowing, several bald eagles perched on trees or flying, sea otters floating contentedly on their backs, harbor seals sunning on rocks, and at the very last, one very large Alaskan Brown Bear (known elsewhere as Grizzlies). We’re on a three-week trip with Janet’s sister Gail cruising through Alaska’s Inside Passage on ferries, then on to Anchorage, Susitna, Denali National Park, Talkeetna and Kodiak Island. In between and along the way we are working on family history with Janet and Gail’s cousin Karen and her husband Ish. On this first leg we explore Ketchikan and Sitka. Sitka, our second port of call in southeast Alaska, exceeded our expectations, as did our first stop, Ketchikan. We arrived in Ketchikan on Alaska Airlines via Seattle and got a good look at the small town hugging the shore. On advice of our innkeepers we met the water taxi driver at the terminal where an 18 ft. aluminum outboard took us to a dock across the street from the New York Hotel, our cozy home while in Ketchikan. Said to be the rainiest town in the U.S., Ketchikan turned out bright and dry for us. Our water taxi passed a departing cruise ship so when we arrived the town was quiet. We enjoyed the peace and evening sun as we wandered along the plank sidewalks of Creek Street, perched above the creek.
Gail, Stu and Janet in Ketchikan, Alaska