After leaving Sitka, we traveled through the night down the coast until we docked at the town of Ketchikan bright and early in the morning. We decided to traipse around the town and see what it was like. There were several funny stories my sister told me about her first trip to the seaside town. There was a bar with a risque picture that we just had to get a shot with us standing in front. There is nothing funnier than two women of a certain age trying to stand in front of a couple of mating bears. I will spare you the picture because this is a family-friendly blog, but if you are curious you can look up the Artic Bar in Ketchikan where you can see their happy bears.
Pay attention to this pier, it will become a main player in the story in a moment.
My sister and I spent the morning walking through the last stores available in Alaska thus, the last chance for souvenirs. How can anyone resist gathering up shopping bags full of trinkets all labeled Alaska before leaving the great state? We were unable to resist. Needless to say, the kids all had a very Alaskan Christmas. With tired feet that were only rushing to get back on the ship we turned around and headed back to the dock. Once on board, we went to the Lido deck. I mean it was lunch time, and there is all that food. What’s a girl to do?
This is where the activity started. The time to be back on the ship was getting close and as you can see, people were scurrying to get back on the ship. They make the return time very clear at each dock. In our comfy window seats, we watched the passengers lining up and returning to the ship. The Westerdam was about to head out to Victoria British Columbia for its last stop of the trip. We see the line thinning. The last passengers trickling up the gangplank.
Once the dock was empty, the overhead speaker starts paging two passengers. Asking them to make their presence know. The page is repeated several times, imploring the two people to make contact. After a few moments, we begin the sideways trip away from the pier. Now, until this trip, I did not know that a ship could go sideways, but when it leaves port, it slides into position then moves forward. It is an incredible process to watch. Still at our window seats we see two shoppers loaded down with bags come running across the street straight for the now folded away gangplank.
The couple is immediately approached by an official looking man who confers with them and begins to walk them over to two little white vans. He loads them up and they drive off the pier. The Westerdam continues to pull away from the dock and we all look at each other and grimace. People start talking about the great fines and fees for remaining over your allotted time at the pier. The ship had no recourse but to leave at its scheduled time. The captain did wait on them almost fifteen minutes. Who knows how much that cost the Holland America cruise line. There were titters of nervous laughter and great sighs of relief that it had not been us that had been carted away in that little white van. A few moments later a seaplane takes off. Was that our mystery couple? I am not positive, but in my mind it was.
The green-roofed building is the most astounding and reasonably priced souvenir shop ever. Plus they give you these amazing totes for your purchases. It was lovely! I still have my tote, it is red and it screams Alaska in bold print. I love it just as much today as the day I got it.
Several hours later we attend the Captain’s get to know more about me event in the showroom. We were excited to be going and seeing that sweet Captain again. Once he gets comfortable in his chair and begins to tell us about the wonderful ship that we are sailing on, it gets time for the questions and answers.
The first question. What happened to that couple that missed the ship?
Captain assured us that they had been whisked away to Victoria British Columbia where they could meet up with the ship or go on to Seattle. All their belongings would be safe and secure. This would, however, be on their own dime. They would be put up in a hotel by the cruise line, but the other expenses like the flight home, they would have to pay. Ouch what an expensive lesson to learn, never miss your ship’s scheduled departure time. They must keep to their schedules.
Next port of call, Victoria, British Columbia