Before I even start–yes, I know that Victoria is not in Alaska and not even in the US. It was a port of call on our “Alaskan cruise,” though so I consider it part of our Alaskan adventures.
We started our day bright (well, okay, misty) and early with our first excursion in Ketchikan: ziplining. We were bussed and then transported via Unimog for our adventures. We were helmeted, harnessed, gloved, and tethered. I had never zip lined before, so, although I was excited, I was slightly nervous. I don’t exactly love heights, but I am somewhat inconsistent about freaking out about them. I am fine enclosed at the top of the Sears Tower (no, I am not going to call it Willis Tower) when I feel like there is no way I could accidentally fall, but put me anywhere near the edge of a cliff, and I start to sweat and want to hug the ground. I have been (indoor) rock climbing, and, although I was securely belted and belayed, if I looked down when I was up too high, I felt my stomach creeping into my throat.
As it turned out, I was a-okay with ziplining. Not only was I always tethered to something, in the forest it was actually kind of hard to tell how far down the ground was. That’s not to say that we didn’t have some great views. Once again, despite the mist, the scenery was gorgeous, and the ziplining, which was followed by some brief rappelling and a mountain slide was great fun. As if that wasn’t enough, when the excursion was done, I was presented with a major award! All right, so everyone got a medal, but I’m going to tell myself I actually got it for being the best beginning zipliner ever!
After we were done ziplining, we had a while to wander around Ketchikan before our next excursion. We perused totems and other artwork from local craftsmen in a shop that, as it turns out, is co-run by a woman who grew up not far from where I live now. Yup, it’s a small world, and apparently, Superdawg is at the center of it.
With our new treasures purchased and wrapped for transit, we headed for our next excursion, a Duck tour of Ketchikan. For those who are unfamiliar with Ducks, they are amphibious bus-like vehicles that, these days, seem to be ubiquitous in tourist towns (at least those on or around bodies of water). Although I was slightly concerned that quacking duck whistles were sold to children at the beginning of the tour, the excursion was good, and our guide, Camillo, was entertaining ands informative.
A few interesting facts about Ketchikan…
- Ketchikan is home to the world’s largest collection of totem poles
- Ketchikan is also known as the Salmon Capitol of the World
- It rains about 360 days a year. Rainfall there is measured in feet instead of inches, but snow is actually fairly uncommon
When the Duck tour was over, it was time for us to get back on the ship. It was time for a much-needed nap. After all, I had to rest up so I could stay up for the late-night chocoholic buffet.
The next day, we had a fair amount of time on the ship before we docked in Victoria at around 6:00 pm. We filled our time, in part, by attending a margarita tasting. We really did not know what we were getting into. During the tasting, we got “samples” (read, pretty much full-size portions) of 5 types of margaritas: classic margarita, banana piñarita, green iguana, gingerita, and Mexican margarita. Additionally, the bartender insisted that he wanted us “Happy happy,” and offered us free shots of tequila if we correctly answered trivia questions. When we got the questions wrong, he kept asking different ones until we got one right. In the end, I had 2 shots and 4+ margaritas–I tried the last one but didn’t like it, so I didn’t finish it. Happy happy indeed!
I needed a bit of fresh air after all of that, so we hung out on our balcony for a while and enjoyed the scenery (and finally sun!) as we neared Victoria.
When we got to Victoria, it was time, of course, for more eating and drinking! We were bussed to Butchart Gardens and escorted to a dining room where we tasted wine, tapas, edible flower petals, and chocolate. Yum! With full stomachs, we had a bit of time before sunset to explore the gardens before sundown. Butchart Gardens is the former site of a limestone mine and is now totally unrecognizable as such–so beautiful! When the sun went down, we watched some fireworks, and then it was already time to get back to the ship and bid Victoria adieu!
The next morning, we were back in Seattle, and alas, the cruise was at an end. We flew home later that day with our souvenirs, our memories, plenty of photographs, and (unfortunately) a few extra pounds!