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Thursday September 11, 2014

Ketchikan is known as Alaska's "First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means "eagle with spread-out wings," a reference to a waterfall near town.

In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska's claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska's fourth-largest city.

Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world's oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's colorful history. Ketchikan, with its abundance of salmon, is also a sportfishing paradise. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.


Click on a picture to view larger image.

Recently deceased salmon in Ketchican

Live salmon in Ketchican

The busiest place during the gold rush in Ketchican. Miss Dolly's house of ill repute.

Ketchican harbor


Excursion:  Town & Harbor Duck Tour


Your unique tour experience begins as board your amphibious "duck" vehicle for your 90-minute city tour and harbor cruise.

You'll ride past the bustling waterfront and pass picturesque Whale Park (named because the park is shaped like a whale), with its antique pioneer clock, colorful flowers and totem pole. You'll hear the tales of the Alaska Native totem poles and discover their meanings. Be sure to also notice the wooden staircases about town that used to serve as streets in old-time Ketchikan.

As you follow Ketchikan Creek, a rich salmon habitat, you'll find the fish ladder and spawning grounds, and learn about the salmon's amazing life cycle. As your ride continues, your guide will share stories about Ketchikan's colorful past and its salty beginnings while you pass infamous Creek Street, once the city's "Red Light District," now filled with quaint shops and cafes.

Without missing a beat, your land tour takes to the water, as your "duck" launches into Ketchikan's bustling harbor, letting you cruise past the diverse fishing fleet of the "Salmon Capital of the World." Your guide will entertain you as you motor through the channel for up-close views of fish canneries, seaplane docks and the sights of this waterfront community. You'll see neighboring islands and marvel at the spectacular scenery of southeast Alaska's temperate rainforest. Be sure to have your camera ready. You never know when eagles, seals, porpoises and other wildlife will appear for a visit while your captain maneuvers for the best possible views.

Your one-of-a-kind tour concludes as your "duck" returns to land for a quick fresh-water rinse before your return trip back to your ship.




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