Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan ak hats armed us coast guard escorting cruise ship in ketchikan

By now we were in main stream tourism in Ketchikan. Ketchikan, with a population of 7,500, it is the fifth most populous city in Alaska. Ketchikan's economy is based upon tourism and fishing, and the city is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." (as I said they all have to be world capitals of something)

Ketchikan is named after Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town. Ketchikan comes from the Tlingit name for the creek.

The U.S. Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies ramped up security measures in Downtown Ketchikan in 2008 after a report of a "non-specific radio threat". A number of Coast Guard gun boats spent the day actively patrolling Tongass Narrows, while officers carrying weapons walked Ketchikan’s cruise ship docks and helicopters hovered over head. As we saw in May 2009, they were still at this patrolling. I seem one of the few to notice it on the ship, I asked an officer of the Volendam, who had no idea why they did it, but said that it happened in a handful of US ports. I can only conclude that the local Coast guard chief likes to show off his toys, as I cannot see any more of a terrorist threat in Ketchikan than on Homer, Sitka or Kodiak, which did not provide the Volendam with this "protection".

ketchikan airport harbour ketchikan

The airport is across the narrows we sailed up, and they are very narrow. A bill was approved to spend $230 million on building a short bridge across the narrows, but a public outcry caused the plan for a bridge to be dropped.

swim on Volendam in Ketchikan

HAving docked in Ketchikan, Chris had a swim.

church building ketchikancreek st ketchikan ak

Then we went ashore to see the delights of this tourist town. Every day in summer they expect 4 cruise liners, and ours at 1500 people was on the small size, so on any one day there are as many tourists as locals

Creek st ketchikan ketchikan ak creek street

The top draw in Ketchikan is Creek Street, which dates back to the old Gold Rush days. It is a wooden street or board walk in the old "red light district" on which Dolly's House is located - this being today a rather tawdry tourist attraction, but in olden days the town's leading brothel. Creek Street today is a collection of museums, historic homes, and shops built on pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The board walk starts just upstream from the Thomas Basin boat harbour. The good thing is that it has been rescued from decay by this development.

tourist orse tram ketchikan

We walked on up the hill and came across this tourist horse drawn tram.

ketchikan harbour ketchikan alaskas first city

The setting of Ketchikan was certainly striking, and we were there early enough in the season to still see the snow on top of the mountains. Ketchikan is a rainy place so we were lucky too to have blue skies.

We pulled away from the cruise dock and headed south for the Inside Passage

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