Day 3 Continued. T spent the day behind locked doors, with all visitors, except David, wearing rubber gloves.
He is apparently immune to anything T might pass on (touch wood). T only ventured out of her isolation ward once again, at about 4.30 PM, to visit the doctor – good news: by then temperature was down, eyes had lost their red glow and the cough had started to recede. So why are we so down on the drug culture?
Our stateroom (not cabin or room, if you don’t mind) is on the port side and so for for most of today all we could see was the ocean, stretching to the west. T sent D out to get some exercise and to check out the starboard side. There he found that all he could see was the ocean, but stretching to the east. Looked much the same. Fortuitously, D ran across some of the other members of the touring party and, feeling the call of duty, was obliged to join them for the happy hour. Many were preparing to don their glad rags for the first of the formal dinners: as previously noted, we will unfortunately have to send our heartfelt apologies.
Otherwise, a quiet day, with all meals delivered by room service – and yes, wearing those rubber gloves. Twice during the day a team came through to disinfect the room but left D alone.
Stepped outside onto our balcony after dinner for some very fresh air (that 30 degree temperature is well behind us) to spot lots of whale blows, but not many breaches.
Day 4. Monday 22 August.
Arrived in Alaska, at the small town Ketchikan which hugs the narrow finger of land in the south-east corner.
Once the canned salmon capital of the world and yes, the smell says it all. Nowadays, it stays alive with tourism for 6 months each year. The cruise ships come in early morning, disgorge their cargo, then leave in the afternoon. Next month the ships head for the Caribbean for the other half year. A beautiful morning, mild and fine.
D set off for shore on a tender leaving the “isolated princess” to take in the view from her stateroom. At 10am she was summoned to the clinic and deemed no longer toxic, flu A&B (reference to swine and avian strains) have been eliminated, so “You’re free” said the nurse. Very excited to be out without the mask, princess boarded a tender and headed for shore, presuming she would find her prince among the thousands of tourists in town. She couldn’t believe her eyes when she spotted D, sitting on the top deck of a tender heading in the opposite direction back to the ship! She could continue to shore and wander on her own or go back to the ship and search for D. No surprises in her decision.
D had searched high and low (having found the stateroom empty) and then, just as in the classic “An Affair to Remember”, he and she met up as D stepped out of the lift.
Both back on land, it was time to track down the smell and an excellent coffee. Behind the front road, the town rises into cedar forest. The only way into Ketchikan is by water or air.
Running through the centre is Ketchikan Creek and therein catch ye can….big, big, big salmon. They hang about in schools of hundreds, the old ones have gone grey around the gills. Having served their purpose, they come into the creek to die, while others are heading upstream to make whoopee. D said he watched a guy jag and then land a 3kg one through its t side flesh– that’s how thick they are in the water.
The town has a little totem pole museum where Margaret at the front desk asked where we were from, hoping that Canberra was near Melbourne….we might know her daughter Miriam in Melbourne. Miriam had done a gap year at Geelong Grammar, met a guy and stayed. Unlike many in the tourist industry, Margaret actually lived all year-round in Ketchikan…where else do you go when you have dogs and no money?
The museum’s collection of authentic 19th century totem poles was gathered from several island-towns in the south east, and the textile crafts, while modern, showed beading, weaving and applique skills. A pity there were not original textiles in the collection. Margaret mentioned that she had recently come across an original, pre -woven fur blanket /cloak, literally being thrown out by a local resident who’d been sorting and downsizing!
Back on board in good time, to watch what we can only presume as a trainee have several attempts to bring the tender alongside. In the meantime at least two others just jumped the queue. When he finally succeeded, needless to say he earned a great cheer.
So, underway again. We discovered the ‘eat anytime’ restaurants, which are much more informal than our allotted dining place, the Bordeaux, so we’ll probably go there most of the time. Spent most of the afternoon lounging on the open upper deck just watching the scenery slide by at 14 knots. T remarked on the absence of birds – very few, apart from the usual ferals such as sea gulls, and not a lot of those either. But lots of jumping fish, a glimpse of some dolphins or orcas, and later some ‘ordinary’ whales, but quite small ones. The hills above the fjords are occasionally logged but T wonders how that is done, as they look too steep for machinery to move through.
We had a chat to our delightful steward this afternoon. She is from the Philippines, and has been working on cruise ships for 14 years. And like so many from her country, she leaves behind her family for extended periods – nine months at a time – to undertake these contracts in order to remit money back home. She has16 year and 8 year old children, whom her husband looks after in her absences, or when he can’t there is another arrangement. She thinks 3 months per year intensive time with her kids has serious benefits.
But as you can see, there is more than one techno addict in this family!