Keith and I woke up around 4:00 AM. It is daylight at 4:00 in the morning here in Petersburg. I hear different bird sounds and some road noise. The hotel is in the middle of a small town that seems to be a one road town. Today we will walk around Petersburg until it is time to catch the ferry at 11:45 AM. The weather is nice in the low 60's with a chance of rain.
We walked around town and saw many beautiful plants that we took pictures of. We stopped at what Keith called "The world's greatest hardware store"....real name is "Hammer and Wikan". It is a True Value. Keith talked to one of the owners. The store is family run and has been in business for 90 years. It is owned by shareholders that help keep the store up to date in modern day merchandise.
The sun did come out a little, but when it went behind the clouds it was really cold! Eagles are very common in Petersburg. We see several of them fly over, like buzzards do back in Texas. We went back to the hotel room to play Farkle until Janette and Jerald are ready. After a game of Farkle and Dominoes (which I won at both), we went downstairs to wait on Janette and Jerald and they were already there. They did not know we were waiting on them nor did we know they were waiting on us. By then, Keith and I were getting hungry. Janette and Jerald had eaten late, so we set off to eat and they went sightseeing. Right next door to the hotel is a very small restaurant that only had outdoor seating. The building where they cooked was a small storage shed converted to cooking area. It was really cute with the picket fence and seating arrangements. Keith had the halibut sandwich with cabbage "stuff". He liked the sandwich, but not fond of the cabbage. I had grilled rockfish tacos with french fries. It was great!
After lunch, it was time to take the hotel shuttle to the ferry which would set sail at 1:30 PM. We are now on the Taku Alaskan ferry. This is still part of the Alaska Marine Highway System. The Taku is smaller than the Columbia ferry. Taku was built in 1963. It is 352' long and holds 372 people. The rooms are larger than the Columbia, but are still bunk beds. The Taku seems more organized. I really like this ferry, plus the food is better. There are more choices for hot meals. I talked to a crewman who said there were about 100 passengers on this ferry today. It was really nice to have so much space. Our next stop will be Sitka around 1:30 AM Tuesday morning.
We went to the front of the ferry where we watched the ferry go straight for what seemed to be miles as it headed toward large mountains with a lot of snow on them. The pictures I took do not show near the beauty and size of these mountains, but the memory will be with me forever. It seemed we were a half a mile before the captained veered right into a canal that was so small we couldn't even see it until we were right up on it.
We met up with Janette and Jerald and played some Farkle. We then went to the cafeteria where it was mentioned over the intercom that we would be seeing whales two hours after setting off from port. We did! While we were playing dominoes in the cafeteria, we saw several humpback whales blow water out of their blowhole. They never surfaced more than that.
Jerald went up to take a nap, so Janette, Keith and I played Hearts. Janette then went to take a nap, so Keith and I did some walking around the ferry for about 20 minutes. Again, it is very hard to get a fast pace on such a small ferry, but we succeeded. After the walk, Keith and I sat on lounge chairs in the Solarium. Since there are so few people on the ferry, it is very quiet, except for one strange man in his 20's that keeps talking on his cell phone. No one else is getting cell service so I wonder who he is really talking to.
We went back to our room around 8:00 PM for a nap. The three hours difference is starting to take a toll on our sleep patterns. We woke up around 10:30 PM with still three hours to go until we are in Sitka. We went up to the front of the ferry where it was dark inside because the lights need to be out so that the captain can see the water for land. We are extremely close to land on both sides of the ferry. I think the reason the ferry is smaller than the first one we were on is because the first ferry would be too big to get between the canals we were going through. There were some people sleeping, but most people were watching as the captain maneuvered the ferry between the tight spots. Surprisingly, there were no lead lights at the front or sides of the ferry. There was a crewman standing at the front of the ferry with a large spotlight that would shine it when he saw chunks of land in our path, then the ferry would make a turn to avoid it. There were lights in the water every so often that seems to be showing the captain which way to turn in the various routes of the tight canals. It was a little eerie seeing how were we being guided through the dark.
We arrived at Sitka on time. We met up with the taxi driver that was prearranged by Janette to take us to the bed and breakfast, which will be our home for three nights. It will be nice to stay at one place and one that is not moving for several days. We arrived at the B&B with welcome notes from the owner. Janette made sure Keith and I got the upstairs master suite, since we are still "newly weds". The suite is very room with a balcony. The bed had lots of pillows that looked so comfortable after sleeping on bunk beds on metal frames. I was ready for a good night’s sleep at the B&B. We got to bed around 2:00 AM.