Inside Passage: Ketchikan

Our small cruise ship docked at Ketchikan, Alaska, in the morning. With an afternoon flight, we walked through town and saw old totem poles.

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Inside Passage: Rainforest Hike

On the fifth day of our Inside Passage cruise, we hiked through ferns and downed trees in a temperate rainforest (above photo) and kayaked in a fjord.

As we went ashore for the hike, the calm, dark water emphasized  undulating ripples with bright reflections. We were anchored in Yes Bay, where the ocean’s wave action is flattened by the islands and fjords of the Inside Passage.

undulating ripples in the still waters of a fjord
undulating ripples in the still waters of Yes Bay

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Inside Passage: Humpbacks and Orcas

After seeing Sawyer Glacier on our Inside Passage cruise, the next day we cruised Frederick Sound looking for humpback whales. Humpback whales live and feed in Alaska. To calve and mate, they migrate to Hawaii in the winter.

In the early morning we searched for humpback whales. Above, a humpback whale dives, flipping its tail high. At mid-morning, orcas appeared, and the humpbacks backed off.

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Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier

I woke up early the first night of our Alaska cruise. It was light outside; I went up on deck to enjoy the wilderness and the quiet. From the photo capture time, at 4:32 am in July, Alaska has enough sunlight to see these mountains and a glacier.

At breakfast we got underway. By 8:00 we had crossed the inlet and were sailing up a fjord with steep sides.

Tracy Arm Fjord
Tracy Arm Fjord

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Alaska Cruise in a Small Ship

For the third leg of our Alaska vacation, we cruised the Inside Passage in a small ship that could sail up narrow fjords where the big ships can’t go. Shown above, our ship, the Wilderness Explorer, accommodates 74 passengers. Kayaks are stored and launched from the stern. We sailed with Un-Cruise Adventures, which New York Times recently described.

For a week we had the vast wilderness that is Alaska to ourselves, seldom seeing towns or other ships. We sailed up fjords, hiked up to a glacier, saw a glacier calve into a saltwater fjord, saw a humpback whale breach dozens of times, saw a pod of orcas, went kayaking, did yoga, and took a polar bear plunge.

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