Wednesday, September 27, 2023


 We almost didn't get to visit Ketchikan on this cruise. In fact some of the bigger ships were unable to dock.

Remember that storm I mentioned yesterday which sent the ship a rocking and a rolling. It was pretty bad the winds were high and the bigger ships had no easy or safe way to dock.

By the time we arrived at the mouth of the harbour the winds and waves had dropped a bit. Our captain said he would give it a try if the harbour master okayed the docking. We waited with bated breath until we were given the okay. It did take much longer to dock, but at least we got to see what we could of Ketchikan.

Many of the excursions were canceled because of the weather. Ours wasn't, but part of it was. We were supposed to get a tour of the historical part of the town, but someone had set the American Legion on fire (arson) and that road was shut down. They did catch the person who did it though so that is a very good thing. 

The rain was pelting down in the township itself so we were glad that our excursion was happening at all.

We boarded the trolley and set off for the Saxman Tribal Center to see the totems. 

This was the totem of the first chief to live in this area. They are made of redwood and we learned something new. These totems rot from the inside out so after about 200 years become very unstable and need to be removed. Also learned that the black paint was made by women chewing a certain type of seed (can't remember what now, I should have wrote it down) and spitting out the juice. Now as are guide says the paint is bought at the nearest hardware store.

While we were unable to go into the carving area we at least got to look in some windows. The older gentleman on the right is the Master Carver. He no longer does much carving, but rather watches over and leads others through the process.

The younger man kind of between the two figures in front is a young Haida carver who was working on a special order for a place in the United States. 

Haida carvers, carve the whole pole, while the Tlingit carvers (Saxman Village) only carve what they need to on the poles which is why you will see some are very bare.

There was even a canoe in the carving house for us to see. What excellent workmanship.

We then traveled a few meters to the totem circle in front of the Clan House. I just got a few of the totems, but there were many more.

Must look at Harvey's camera to see if he got the one of Abraham Lincoln. The carvers gave Lincoln short legs so that he would look more like them.

In the background of the last picture you can just make out the Clan House. As we stood out front with our guide we were told that in the early days, since the men would be out hunting, or fishing, leaving the women and children alone, the door was made so only one could enter at a time. It was also not very tall. This enabled the women to defend the Clan House against attackers. 

Here we are grouped together to hear on of three stories the Tlingit have about how the Sun came to be in the sky and how Raven became black.

We then headed back to the ship. We did get a little bit of a walk around the dock area as the rain had let up just a bit. Slight drizzle instead of a constant soaking.

Our lovely cruise would end in another day and a half. This time our window opened on the ocean so not much to see, and the weather was slightly topsy turvy so us old people had a bit of trouble walking around. 

Many a night through the cruise saw us playing crib in the games room, or sitting and listening to music, or watching a movie in the theater. 

Such a lovely, relaxing trip.

Everybody have a wonderful evening.

God bless.


  1. Oh how cool. I have always been fascinated by totems. The craftsmanship is just astounding. I did not know that about rotting away from the inside. Learned something today!
    Rain or not - it all had to be just incredible.

  2. Sounds like you have had a lovely, relaxing time and seen some very interesting things despite the weather.

  3. What a wonderful excursion. I'm so glad you were able to dock and leave the ship. xx

  4. I'm sorry you didn't get to visit Creek Street and other historic places, but the totems are really interesting.
    It's funny, I've been to Ketchikan three times, and it has been sunny every time. But it is known for the rain it receives.

  5. Oh, how neat to get to see the totem poles and the workshop even if you didn’t go inside. That is interesting about them rotting from the inside. How said someone set fire to the American Legion. I hope they didn’t lose a lot of history.

  6. Jackie, I am thoroughly enjoying your trip! Thank you for sharing all the information & pictures of places I've only read about. I wouldn't mind visiting it someday. Have a lovely evening!

  7. Seeing that many totem poles must have been impressive and watching them being carved would be fun too. Sorry about the rain although it sounds like you made the best of it.

  8. Such an interesting trip to see and learn about totem pole carving.

  9. I remember going to Ksan village near Hazelton when I was visiting my daughter. It is fascinating to read about life as it was then. Really enjoying your trip Jackie.

  10. The totems are amazing. Glad you got to do at least pert of your excursion. Looks fascinating.