Travel Guide: Ketchikan, Alaksa

The first port we went on our Alaskan cruise was Ketchikan. Known for it’s beautiful wilderness and true Alaskan Native culture.

I spent a lot of time on Instagram trying to make sure that I could see and do everything that I wanted to do while we had time. And the photos I saw, just didn’t seem real.

When our ship docked, the first thing my eyes laid was on the bright colorful storefronts. Tons of jewelry shops, salmon markets and fur retailers (sorry PETA). It was almost everything. I wanted to touch everything and walk down every nook and cranny. But we had a schedule to keep to!

What We Did

Crab Fishing– One of the first things that I knew I wanted to do when I found out I was going to Alaska was go crab fishing. I am obsessed with crab legs, especially King Crab Legs! What I wanted was to find a boat that would take me out, catch some legs and cook them right on the boat. Sounds awesome, right? Well this wasn’t it.

Instead, we met a crew of guys that previously worked on the Bering Sea ship which was featured on the Deadliest Catch. The ship famously was taken down on more than one occasion while it was out on fishing expeditions.

The crew took us aboard, told us the history of this ship and then set us off out into the water. The first place we stopped at was Inlet to watch the bald eagles. Some times they can hard to spot, so our crew threw out some snacks for the eagles to swoop down close to our boat. Magnificent doesn’t even describe the beauty I saw in front of my eyes. They’re so majestic, it’s hard to believe what I was experiencing was real life.

After the eagles, we stopped to learn about the different fishing techniques used to catch different types of crabs. Fun fact: it is illegal to hunt for female crabs. You can tell the sex of the crab based on the underbelly of the crab. Because hardly any of the eggs hatch or grow to full term, so the fishing laws prevent fisherman from catching them. If they do, it’s about a $10,000 fine.

One of the types of crabs we caught we was called a Box crab. Apparently, because they are difficult to crack their shells, they aren’t as valuable as some other crabs.

Box Crab

Overall, the tour takes about three hours, and while you don’t do any of the fishing yourself, you still learn a lot and very entertained.

George Inlet Crab Fest– Because I knew I wasn’t going to get my “fresh out of the water” crab legs. I found another solution! This “tour” is exactly how it sounds- it’s an all you can eat dungeness crab fest. You can purchase the stand alone crab fest or you can bundle it with excursion, such as a hover craft tour or Misty Ford Flight through Experience Alaska Tours . This is actually my first option but the tour sold out before I could get to it. Good thing though because the planes kept crashing, so they canceled all of the tours.

To me, this tour is kind of pricey for dungeness crab. For those that aren’t familiar, dungeness are the smaller crabs that have sweet meat. You have to work hard to get the meat out.

At George Inlet, they serve you unlimited crab legs. Don’t know how to eat them? Have no fear, they give some pretty hilarious instructions. One alcoholic drink is included in the price and soft drinks are unlimited. They give you about an hour to an hour and a half to go through piping hot crab legs.

The Town

As mentioned earlier, Ketchikan still has strong ties to the Native culture. In town, you can find very intricate totem poles. You can even enjoy a lumberjack show. I spent about an hour wandering the winding streets and found purchased some salmon filets and jerky.

Ketchikan is an ideallic Alaskan town. Not much time needs to be spent here as it is quite small. But it’s filled with rich history that must be consumed. This place is a must!

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