Monday, February 17, 2014

CA to AK: The Ferry Journey, part 1

After nearly 48 hours, we are halfway through our ferry journey to Sitka. We have survived the long stretch from Bellingham to Ketchikan, which is 36 hours straight at sea. 

We really lucked out with our stateroom on board the m/v Malaspina. We reserved a 4-berth room with sitting area, but they don't assign a specific room until checking in on the ship. There are only a handful of rooms with sitting areas. The rest have only bunks and a restroom, or maybe only bunks. The purser saw our  party of people and stuff and changed our assignment to the best room in the house, with two big windows and a double-size sitting area. Score! Having the extra space to be able to sit at the window while the kids are spread out watching movies has saved our sanity. If you're ever traveling on the Malaspina, request room 106 if you can. 

As we are traveling up the Pacific coast in winter, we expected a bit of a bumpy ride. We had two open ocean stretches during the day on Saturday with the waves rolling in on the port side, big enough to send our collection of water and wine bottles rolling around. At about 2am, we awoke to the bow of the ship (where our stateroom is located) rising and crashing on what had to be some pretty large waves. It continued on and off for two hours while the kids pretty muh slept through it. Ava woke once to laugh at the creaking sounds the walls of our cabin were making. We were very happy that our car full of dogs was tucked safely in the stern of the ship where it would take less of a beating. 

This morning we pulled into Ketchikan and got to go ashore several times over the course of the 7 hours we were there. There was an inch or three of fresh snow on the ground, and the kids were extatic to dig out their snow boots and kick it around. We walked the dogs three times, bought a few groceries, and ran off some energy. I even got to sneak away on my own to appreciate being back on Alaskan soil and find a good latte. 

Now that the long stretch is over, the rest of our voyage will go by much more quickly. We will be stopping in Wrangell (where this is probably posting from via my phone) and Petersburg tonight, and Juneau in the morning. The dogs will get to take their walks on land rather than the car deck. We are going through the Wrangell Narrows late this evening. Even though it will be dark, we are hoping to see some of the passage. It is said to be so narrow that you can toss a coin from the ship onto the shore. Hopefully we will sleep better tonight--we are finished with the open ocean crossings and will be in the Inside Passage for the rest of the trip. We are also in some snowy, windy weather...winter in Alaska!

The sitting area of our stateroom

Lighthouse in Bella Bella, Canada

Inspecting the shoreline 

Somewhere in Canada


Another Florida native loving his first time in the snow!

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