We got on the ferry the evening of the 18th and watched the moon rise. It was hard to believe that this part of our journey had come to an end and we were making our way slowly back to Bellingham where we had begun 2 months ago.
No surprise when we meet more interesting people on the ferry. The first person was George an 81 year old man from Petersburg. He was reflecting on a recent experience and he shared it with us. He also gave us a book that he had written. George was all smiles as he told about his experience with God and how his life right now was so fulfilling.
As we were eating some food a young couple came by, turned and said Mr. Ford? It was friends of Jeff's from high school, Shannon and Alec. They were on their way to the East Coast where Shannon was going to start Medical school. We had a good conversation and then since the ferry was going to stop in Sitka for 4 hours, we invited them to see the Totem Pole National Park with us. It was somewhat of a sprint to get there, but worth the effort.
We made it back to the ferry and checked out our boats which seemed sad, that they were parked between two cars, rather than being on the water.
The itinerary had us arriving to Petersburg, our destination at 1:30 in the morning. That time came and passed. The ferry had slowed way down and we were beginning to think that there was a problem. Some of the crew members hinted that there was and the ferry would not be leaving the Petersburg dock until a mechanic could look at the engine. We, however, happily got our gear and boats and left the ferry. It turned out to be a problem that left the boat and all the people with their vehicles stranded there for an extra four days. We were on contract to work the next day so glad we did not have to figure out how to get here.
We met Corey, our other instructor and concurred that was him that had paddled past us when we had left the Juneau area. We take the obligatory instructor photo pre to meeting the students.
Our 25 day paddling course with 9 Naval academy students traveled over 220 miles. They had all finished their freshman year. We were blessed with amazing scenery and good students!
We had our share of fog as we paddled around the islands in the area.
In certain areas where the sea is protected, the under sea life is magnificent. Below is a photo of closed anemones. When they open they are large frilly filter feeders moving their feathery tentacles in the waters current.
The course ends successfully and we spend several more days in Petersburg waiting for the departure date of the ferry. We see this replica of a can of Salmon on the street and wish that we had take a course photo here.
The day or should say evening comes where the ferry departs. The ferry is routed thru a very narrow and shallow channel so departure is dictated when the tide is at its highest, which today is about 1 in the morning. Our friends drop us off at a reasonable hour and we begin our wait, reading and just hanging out.
We are on the same ferry that had broken down a month ago, but are assured that all is well and we will be in Bellingham in two days. We have a five hour stop in Ketchikan and walk the streets that we had avoided when we had paddled by here in mid June. Only one cruise ship is here today and the streets are relatively quiet. The summer season is coming to an end. This is the last stop the ferry makes until it reaches Bellingham. We will soon be in Canadian waters and the ferry just moves thru.
Before it gets dark we pass by a Canadian Light House that we had camped nearby.
We see several other places that we recognize and then the sky begins to darken and we find our places between the chairs to go to sleep. When we awaken we will be close to Bellingham!
Our friend Kurt, who had dropped us off three months ago meets us at the ferry terminal and we go get our car. A visit with friends at Orcas Isalnd that we met 30 years ago in Baja and a short visit to hike in the Olympic National Forest round out our time in the Northwest.
Our Inland Passage trip is now a memory that has touched us both.