Monday, June 14, 2010

A Blog Posting from Mary

   Finally I'm at our shared computer to add my thoughts and reflections on this remarkable journey Nick and I are sharing.  I write now, late morning, while Nick reads the recently downloaded Sunday New York Times. We went ashore in Ketchikan, our first stop en route to Haines early this morning. We spent most of the hour we had in the Best Western lobby downloading emails, the NYT, and the New Yorker onto the Kindle. We are in our full second day on board the ferry.  The days have a flow to them: much reading until eyes blur then a break gazing at the surrounding shoreline mountains and looking for wildlife – some whale spotting; then another break to walk around, up and down the three flights of stairs, to restart the blood circulation system. It is cold, sometimes raining and standing outside chatting with fellow passengers and admiring the scenery is a great pastime. Mostly we cruise through very narrow channels, protected from the pitch and movement of the open ocean. When we do pass through areas open to the Pacific, the swells are notable. Last night while sleeping, the fruit I had resting on the sink counter, rolled into the sink.  I was glad I was in bed, safe from being thrown around.

   The quality of the snack bar and dining room are mainstream America, but they mark a break in the reading and gazing. Many of our fellow passengers have brought most of their food because purchasing it on board is expensive. We too have brought some of our own food to enhance what we choose to purchase. While Nick and I have a cabin room with private bath, many other passengers spend the threes days on board living in one of the lounge rooms – generally sleeping on the floors – or on some plastic garden-type lounge chairs in an area euphemistically called the solarium. The solarium is on the upper most rear deck space, roofed, but open to the fresh air and blowing winds. On another rear deck, fully exposed to the elements, yet others have pitched tents to sleep and place their belongings. Currently it is quite cold. Those folks living outdoors wear their wool hats, fleeces and rain jackets for a little warmth. They sleep in sleeping bags.

    If I remember to inquire about the number of passengers – varies from port to port – I'll report a definite number, but I'd guess there are more than 150. There are also a large number of staff members keeping this moving hotel/living quarters operating. There are no public spaces without people, but they are very pleasant and we prefer them to our cabin. The staff present various forms of entertainment throughout the day. We have three lectures on Alaska – the Tsongess National Forest, the inland waterways, and native culture.  There are movies for kids a couple of times a day. Navigation maps of the inland waterways are posted and a staff member moves a large yellow arrow to indicate exactly where we are. I find this information most interesting.

    Back to reading…currently the Girl With the Dragon Tatoo and Blood River.


1 comment:

  1. Sitting here on a muggy Chicago summer day, it is strange to read about your shipmates "...folks living outdoors wear their wool hats, fleeces and rain jackets for a little warmth".