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When I boarded the Alaska Marine Highway ferry in Bellingham, I had no idea that we would have a stopover in Ketchikan, our first port of call in Alaska. When the announcement came over the tannoy that we would be there for five hours, I raced off the boat, excited to have this bonus in my itinerary.
Ketchikan very much caters to the cruise ship passengers. As if the high street of stores selling jewellery, souvenirs and candy wasn’t evidence enough of this, they also got to dock right in the centre of town. We had a 40 minute walk from the ferry terminal.
The geography of Ketchikan leads to some extreme architecture. Houses built on stilts balance above the water and the main road into town, and steep wooden staircases lead up to amazing views.
Ketchikan airport is on a separate island, and I have never seen such a crazy transport hub. As the jets land on the runway, boat planes take off within metres of them, in turn barely missing boats that are also using the water. I held my breath watching those insane manoeuvres. It was really busy, too. The only place I have seen a higher frequency of planes is at Heathrow airport.
Getting to visit Ketchikan was a nice surprise, and I definitely think it’s more exciting to arrive on the ferry than on a cruise ship.