A New Ferry Experience

The Kennicott Ferry has a different stabilization system than the Columbia, so it can go whichever route its captain wants to take between Ketchikan and Bellingham. I started to catch wind of this when two hours went by and we were still bobbing up and down in swells with an open sea to our left. I asked the purser why the different route and he said, “captain’s perogative”. I sure wish the captain would have consulted with my delicate stomach before making the choice. Most of this day since we entered the exposed Pacific Ocean north of Vancouver Island, I’ve gone between snoozing on my sleeping bag and walking the outside decks to keep the nausea at bay. All of this morning’s gastric discomfort was forgotten when I saw a pod of about 5-10 harbor porpouses off the starboard side.

This afternoon I finally felt enough equalibrium to take a nice hot shower – my last for the next 10 days at least – and I felt much better after it. This ferry is definitely less luxurious than the Columbia in that there are no laundry facilities. I have packed two sets of street clothes. The first I wore starting yesterday morning. Somehow by this afternoon they were soiled. I put on the clean set after the shower, then handwashed the first set as best I could and hung them over the heater in the bathroom to dry. It’s interesting how my thoughts went to how much easier everything will be when it’s just me and BABS and all my gear. No noisy ferry taking the rougher yet beautiful outside route to Ketchikan. I can do laundry at my pace when I need it on my beaches. Just as I finished my shower an announcement came over the loud speaker that there were whales at 2 o’clock on the starboard side. Mercifully I was dressed enough to run out to look and there were two humpback whales spouting and showing me their most impressive of tails.

The spot I picked yesterday for the tent ended up being too exposed. It was so windy that I ended up taking out the IKEA bags and other heavy items and then dragging it by the lower tarp over to the staff entrance hallway on the same deck. If I had tried to take it down I to move it, I might have lost it as it turned into a kite. The dragging tore up the tarp that goes below the tent, and even put a few holes in the bottom of the tent. There has been no rain on this ferry ride this year and I will have time and a calm spot tomorrow morning in which to field patch the holes in the tent bottom. I will pick up a new tarp when I go to the marine supply store in Ketchikan later tomorrow morning.

Last year on the “shakedown” trip, I purchased many of my charts from the marine supply store in Ketchikan. A nice woman helped me pick out the charts I needed during whch she commented that it reminded her of helping her father pull out his charts at the beginning of the fishing season when she was a little girl. After we got my charts pulled together, she asked me if I liked crab dip. I replied that I love crab dip and she signaled me to follow her back into the depths of the store to the staff room where she had just finished placing a fresh bowl inside another bowl of ice. She handed me a bag of kettle chips. I took one out, dipped it in the crab dip, and ate it. It was delicious. As I was dipping my second and third, and so on chips into the dip, she explained to me that it was her co-worker’s recipe. The co-worker was out sick that day but the crab fishers had brought them the crab so she made it up. “The secret is the jelapahnos”, she said. “Even moreso the jelapahnos juice.” My brain went into action. I’d not heard of the jelapahnos. Was it an island somewhere in Alaska? Was the juice something they extruded from an Alaskan tree I didn’t know about? Wait a minute… Thinking about the basic ingredients that might go ino a crab dip. Jalapeno peppers. Ginni and I grow them. Well, Ginni grows them and I usually get to harvest them after she’s returned to Mexico and she has harvested most of them before she goes. From this day forward, I am inclined to pronounce them in the Alaskan dialect due to the absolute yumminess of that crab dip. I’m not expecting it to be there again magically tomorrow when I visit that store to pick up my new tarp and a printed tide book, but these days a certain comforting feeling comes to me when visiting marine supply stores – especially this one (and Englund Marine in Astoria).

Despite going along the outside, this ferry will arrive at the same time as if it had gone the alternate route at 8 am tomorrow morning. My plan is to take the three IKEA bags up to the office to stow, bring the kayak up next to the office and stow, then hit the grocery store nearby for perishables, hit the marine supply store, then walk the bags and roll the kayak the 1/8th mile over to the harbor, load everything up, and paddle south to my first camping beach. If I can launch before noon, the predicted tide/current should work well for me to get to my desired beach by mid-afternoon.

Arriving in Ketchikan
Ready to launch after blessing with cedar branches Dan Heiner gave me.

Written by

kyleenaustin

I am passionate about outdoor exploration. In the recent years I have discovered how much more I can experience from a kayak. I am a professional musician and own a dairy where we produce raw milk, butter and cheeses. My son tells me I have "too much on my plate". He is correct, but I wouldn't live life any other way.

2 thoughts on “A New Ferry Experience

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: