Our Ketchikan Zodiac Excursion, A Whale Of A Time


zodiac boat close to whale
Up shut with whales on a Zodiac tour in Ketchikan Alaska, 2018 Photograph by Kristin Barclay

Ketchikan Backcountry Zodiac Tour Is An Journey

On my first go to to Alaska, I used to be so excited to be visiting a state on my bucket checklist, I uncared for to do any analysis. Days earlier than my NCL cruise was scheduled to depart Seattle, I scrambled for issues to do in port. As an alternative of researching greatest excursions in Ketchikan, I regarded on the NCL excursions provided. Flying in a seaplane sounded terrifying, the lumberjack present sounded a bit boring, and everybody was doing the Deadliest Catch sea crab fishermen’s tour. However once I found the backcountry zodiac expedition, I knew it could be an epic journey.

Quick ahead to the summer season of 2019, and we’ve now carried out the backcountry zodiac tour in Ketchikan, THREE instances! These are small excursions and every time we’ve had the zodiac to ourselves. And each expertise has been completely different. The zodiac, is an inflatable boat that seats 4, and I’ve been fortunate sufficient to drive the zodiac on each tour. There’s one thing thrilling about piloting a small boat within the frigid Alaskan waters whereas actively looking for bald eagles, whales, bears, and different Alaskan wildlife.

Exploring The Alaskan Shoreline

people in zodiac boats

Now, you’re not alone within the wilderness. The excursion includes a knowledgeable guide that pilots their very own Zodiac within the lead place. Your information is aware of the place the eagles are nesting, sea otters are sunning and whales may be surfacing. The information “pilots” the way in which within the lead Zodiac boat whereas the others observe in a line from a secure distance. And whereas the air may be fridgid as you’re zipping alongside on the open water, the guides offer you gloves, boots, rain gear, face masks and a dry bag. Once you’re suited up within the yellow rain gear you’ll resemble the Gorton’s fisherman.

There’s a cause we’ve chosen the zodiac tour on all three of our visits to Ketchikan-there’s nothing else prefer it. We’ve watched a bald eagle swoop down simply ft away from our boat to catch a frozen fish, thrown by our information.

bald eagle flying over coast
Bald eagle flying alongside shoreline in Alaska Photograph by Kristin Barclay

And whereas on our honeymoon we hit the jackpot after we stumbled on a pod of whales bubble feeding lower than 50 yards from us. Our information was so excited, we spent over half-hour simply drifting whereas watching the whales feed.

whales feeding
Whales feeding off the coast of Ketchikan Alaska Photograph by Kristin Barclay

Whales, Eagles, Bears & Extra

In fact wildlife are “wild” and there’s no manner of figuring out if you happen to’ll encounter whales or possibly catch bears in search of salmon. However that’s a part of the enjoyable, not figuring out what you’ll see as you pilot your fourteen foot inflatable boat throughout the water in search of surprises on the water, land and within the air.

starfish in hand
Holding a starfish off the coast of Alaska Photograph by Kristin Barclay

Throughout our most up-to-date excusion, we had our youngsters with us, and whereas we have been unhappy to not see any whales we nonetheless had a blast!

salmon swimming upstream
Salmon spawning on Creek Avenue in Ketchikan Alaska Photograph by Kristin Barclay

Whether or not you e book your Zodiac tour early or later, make certain to permit a while to discover the distinctive procuring in Ketchikan. You may simply stroll from the cruise ship dock to Creek Avenue in Ketchikan and browse native artists work within the retailers.

Creek Street Ketchikan Alaska
Creek Avenue Ketchikan Alaska Photograph by Kristin Barclay

In case you’re fortunate you’ll catch the salmon spawning upstream, and naturally the salmon typically entice bears. Whereas we have been capable of see the salmon on our final go to to Ketchikan in August, we didn’t see any bears “fishing”.



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