We woke up to rain, but the small shelter at the small park provided us cover. We were glad that we were the only ones here as the park is quite small. The bugs are bothersome this morning and we have our bug nets on. About the only time we have had to deal with bugs was when we are near a stream. Another reason to keep our droms full and dry camp. The tide is ebbing and the water's edge is getting farther away. We continually have to move our boats out each time we bring a load down. Alas the last time I did not quite make it and had to drag my boat over fortunately soft muck.
With boats finally floating, we headed off to visit the Native village of Saxman,
There were many totem poles representing different styles and stories. With no written language the Natives used the Totem poles to tell stories of the past.
As we left Saxman and headed toward the main part of Ketchikan, the activity level of the area increased immensely. There were 4 cruise ships in town and we had to paddle by them. Cruise ships often spend the day at a port. This enables the passengers to visit the area and spend their money on tours. With 4 ships at the dock there were around 10,000 visitors checking out the town. It was crowded on the land as well as on the sea. The wind was blowing from the North and the ships that we had to paddle by was like paddling next to a cliff.
Ketchikan is spread out for about 2 miles along the shore. There are several boat harbors and we were looking for the one with the US custom station. Somehow with all the activity we managed to miss it. We paddled to the last harbor where the harbor master was located, Upon calling the custom office we discovered that we had missed the offices by a mile. I was not going to paddle back, I would walk back if need be. No worries said the officer, just stay there and we will be there as soon as we can. Sure enough in about 10 minutes, here comes Mark, the enthusiastic kayaker custom officer that Don had talked to in Prince Rupert. He was not actually working in customs that day, but the woman who had come to check us out invited him along. He had paddled the route that we were about to do to Juneau and shared a lot of information with us. Finally the other officer said we need to get back to work. Mark said that there is usually only about a dozen people that check in at Ketchikan. Guess that is the reason we are not seeing many kayakers. We are the first ones to check in this year. After we had cleared customs so to speak, we checked in at the harbor master and got permission to stage for the next leg of our trip outside on the lawn in front of the building.
As I unloaded the boats, Don headed off to get our packages that Jeff had sent. When he returned it was major organization. One of the small packages was from Ryan who had sent a boat ornament for Don's boat and Jeff had replaced mine since I had lost it in a wind storm.
We are about 15 days ahead of where we thought we would be so plan on sending several boxes to Petersburg. This will give us an option of perhaps getting to Skagway before the course we are planning to work towards the end of July in Petersburg. So going with the flow and will see what happens. Don talked to his Dad and brother his Dad is stable, but does not seem to be getting much better. We treated ourselves to ice cream and fresh fruit! This stop has taken longer than we planned, but to our good fortune, the wind has died and we will have some current with us with us. We want to stop at a place called Totem Bight. It will be closed, but there is access from the water and we should be able to see the totems. Our timing could not have been better as we pulled into the park, the sun was at a level to make everything glow.
The first building was a replica of a long house. The CCC had worked on this park in the 30's and the attention to detail was obvious.
Scattered around in a circle were a number of totems. All with stories to tell.
We hated to leave this place , but the sun was setting and we had to find a campsite. All along the shore were people sitting around fires. We were beginning to wonder if we might be sleeping in our boats. It was a beautiful evening and a lot of people were out enjoying it.
Just as we beginning to give up hope, we approached a beach that had just what we needed. A place to put our tent in the forest. A good thing cause the light was beginning to disappear.
Nautical miles paddled 12