Liquid Sunshine in the Salmon Capital of the World

The 610-foot long Silver Shadow is seen docked at Ketchikan's Berth 3 on June 21, 2014. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The 610-foot long Silver Shadow is seen docked at Ketchikan’s Berth 3 on June 21, 2014. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Silversea’s Silver Shadowcut her way through the fog and drizzle early this morning, coming up on the self-proclaimed “Salmon Capital of the World” just after 07:00. When I stepped out on deck to watch our arrival into Ketchikan, Alaska, I was caught off guard by just how windy it was. Winds were pushing 30 kilometres an hour as Silver Shadow started to ease her way alongside, and was a topic of discussion for the Officers and our Alaskan Marine Pilot who were controlling the ship’s progress from the starboard bridge wing.

The town of Ketchikan, Alaska, as seen from onboard Silversea's Silver Shadow. Ketchikan is noted for its salmon - and its disproportionally large amount of annual rain. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The town of Ketchikan, Alaska, as seen from onboard Silversea’s Silver Shadow. Ketchikan is noted for its salmon – and its disproportionally large amount of annual rain. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

In fact, in the five times I’ve been to Ketchikan previously, I can’t remember a single day when the wind was as ferocious as it was today. Rainstorms of varying intensity came and went suddenly, and the continuing guests of wind made the outside temperature of 12°C feel about half that.

Ever since I first came here in July of 1998, I’ve always loved this quaint little town of 8,000. Ketchikan has changed a lot over the intervening years, though. The main dock apron has been extended, with a new concrete apron being constructed about fifteen feet out from the former wooden one that used to only run to the Tongass Trading Co. building that has seemingly stood at the end of the pier since the dawn of time.

Strong winds ripped across the decks of the Silver Shadow as docking operations commenced. Even a “small” ship like Silver Shadow dwarfs the town. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Casting lines ashore in our first port of call on this 11-day Alaska cruise. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Casting lines ashore in our first port of call on this 11-day Alaska cruise. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Silver Shadow's Captain, Staff Captain and Alaskan Marine Pilot guide her into our berth in Ketchikan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Silver Shadow’s Captain, Staff Captain and Alaskan Marine Pilot guide her into our berth in Ketchikan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

In 1998, there was just the one berth in Ketchikan. At the time, two large ships could tie up at the pier, with a third potentially anchoring out in the channel. Today, the dock area has been extended past the Tongass Trading Co., with two additional berths, more room for motorcoaches, and new shops and restaurants.

Silver Shadow is docked at one of these new berths – Berth 3 – today. In Berth 1, across from the Visitor’s Bureau, is Disney Wonder, which pulled into port just after 10:00. Norwegian Sun arrived at Berth 2 directly in front of us just before Noon. For a brief period today, approximately 5,000 visitors “invaded” this small town that was founded in 1900.

Enjoying room service once again - and a piping hot cup of fresh coffee before I disembarked the ship for a few hours in Ketchikan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Enjoying room service once again – and a piping hot cup of fresh coffee before I disembarked the ship for a few hours in Ketchikan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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