When cruise ships dock in Ketchikan, Alaska, travelers choose from excursions that include bear watching, zip lining, ATV adventures in the coastal rainforest or simply walking around the colorful clapboard buildings that crowd the port. The rain-prone area is known for sports fishing, outdoor adventure, plentiful shopping and the remote Misty Fjords National Monument.
When Alan and I arrived in Ketchikan as part of a Regent Seven Seas Mariner cruise traveling from Vancouver to Singapore, we immediately sought an escape from the crowded port filled with cruisers looking for jewelry bargains. Our choice? A seaplane tour of Misty Fjords National Monument, which is only accessible via plane or boat.
Since we booked our excursion through the ship, a bus transported us through Ketchikan to the Promech Air office (now called Taguan Air), for this experience. The group, most of whom had never flown on a seaplane, stood on the dock nervously watching as the planes landed gracefully on the water. Although it was a misty, rainy day, the adventure went on as scheduled.
Each plane held 6 or 7 passengers and, of course, a pilot. Passengers needed to be nimble enough to climb up a narrow metal ladder of about 5 steps to enter the plane. Each of us had our own window seat plus headphones for listening to pre-recorded commentary or comments from Captain Larry.
As the plane took off, we soon had a birds-eye view of the many tree-studded islands that dot the Tongass Narrows. Since low-lying clouds hampered the main approach to Misty Fjords, Captain Lary announced, “I’ll be taking you to a different area of the “mistys.”
With 2.3 million acres in Misty Fjords National Monument, the pilot had plenty of choices. The plane dipped low over a hillside as we looked for bear, mountain goats and bald eagles. Then, Captain Larry swooped the plane down into a narrow fjord landing gently on the water.
Alan and I jumped at the chance to walk down the slippery metal ladders to stand on the pontoons. As mist floated around us, we experienced the quiet of an Alaskan wilderness. The mist, as well as slippery conditions, made photography challenging.
This seaplane adventure included a 65-minute flight plus 10 minutes on the glacier.
Taking an Alaskan cruise and having a hard time choosing between all of your excursion options? Check out our favorite Alaska Cruise excursions!