We lined up for the ferry at 2:00 – arriving to find that there were at least 25 other rigs in front of us. We pulled into line . . . and waited. After several hours, our rig was officially measured at 45’ and we were told to report to the custom’s office to get tickets and instructions.
Then more waiting. The word seeped up through the line that the ferry was several hours late! By 7:30 pm we were slowly being directed onto the ferry with some kind of master plan that would allow some of us to get off at Ketchikan, while other’s remained on for destinations down the road . . . uh . . waterway!
The ferry left at 9:30 pm – precisely three hours late – for the 6 hour ride to Ketchikan.We were packed into the hold of the ship, settled Charlie Button in the Silvermine, and climbed the steps to the upper decks. The Matanuska was an old girl, but had everything needed for a comfortable 6-hour cruise.
We passed by the private cabins and the cafeteria, and headed for the upper rear deck. A mother that we had met, traveling with two kids in a small motorhome, had her tent all set up on the deck and was in the process of securing it firmly with duct tape! Her children are home-schooled . . . and the lessons never stop!
We busily got pictures in the fading light, and settled on the open deck as the ship got underway. After an hour, the chill chased us inside where we had our choices of lounges. The one at the front of the ship was very crowded with a view out the front of the ship. Up another level and more towards the back, we found a completely different type of lounge with recliner chairs set up in pairs, with ample room to stash our gear and lean back for a side-ways view.
After it was dark and there was no more view, napping and reading and gaming and napping some more got us through the next six hours. When the announcement came that we were 30 minutes out from Ketchikan there was a migration towards the cafeteria for a last cup of coffee. When fully docked at 3:30 there was an exodus to the vehicle deck. It didn’t take long to disembark, and drive three miles to a friendly Walmart to spend the rest of the night! There was a time-change, and so our Alaska Adventure began at 2:30 Saturday morning! Goodnight!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown