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We went sailing north to Alaska

By Jan Edwards/ The Bulletin

Husband Roy and I can cross one item off on our bucket list – sailing to Alaska.

At our children’s suggestion that we go with them, we took our first cruise recently through the Inside Passage. We had always wanted to see Alaska, but something always got in the way. Not this time.

All totaled, we sailed 2,526 nautical miles. That’s a long way not to get seasick, not even once. That even surprised me, a first-time cruise vacationer.

The view from our balcony stateroom in several places was worth the price of the trip, not to mention the things we saw and did on this adventure.

The motto of the cruise line we enjoyed is, “Come back new.” Now, I don’t know if we came back new, but we did come back with a different perspective on life – a better point of view.

We made four ports of call – Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway (all in Alaska) and Victoria, Canada. The first stop was Ketchikan and was the only stop we did not have planned shore excursions.

But, hey, it is the Salmon Capital of the World. However, it wasn’t salmon season. I would have liked to see them swim upstream, even though that effort has a sad ending, and we were on vacation to “come back new.”

Since you asked, salmon swim up to 6,000 miles before coming back home to spawn. They sometimes swim 200 miles up the river to find their preferred places to spawn. They have been using the same river to spawn for thousands of years.

After spawning, they usually die of exhaustion. Not a good way to go, but that’s life.

Alaska is a pretty dry state, but the average annual rainfall in Ketchikan is between 140 – 160 inches a year. It’s one of the rainiest cities in America.

In 1949, Ketchikan got 202.55 inches of rain. But it shows no signs of flooding because the water runs off into the ocean. What a grand idea. We need to try this at the mouth of the San Bernard River and see what happens.

The mixture of fresh and sea water creates a natural wonderland filled with all kinds of wildlife.

Ketchikan’s weather is regulated by its coastal environment and its location in our nation’s largest forest – the Tongass National Forest. It is nearly 17 million acres in size – just a little larger than West Virginia. It is also the largest temperate rainforest in the world.

Only being in port a short time, there wasn’t time to fully explore everything, but we did get to visit the cultural center and learned a bit about why the natives carved totem poles and some of the associated legends. That’s for another column, though.

(Jan wants to hear from you. Write her in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)