Mo & Terry Smedley


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Winter 2010 Rail & Sail

Ketchikan, Prince Rupert, Jasper by ferry & train

(new stuff is posted at the top, so if you're following along - just click on the topmost link)

Part V - Jasper to Vancouver (click here)

Part IV - Prince Rupert to Jasper by train (click here)

Part III - Prince Rupert (click here)

Part II - Ketchikan (click here)

Part I - Bellingham to Ketchikan


In January, 2010, we're traveling through Southeast Alaska and British Columbia by ferry and train.  Betsy Seidel and Bob Martin are accompanying us on this winter trip.  We're using a mix of public transportation, including Amtrak, VIA Rail, and the Alaska Ferry.  I made similar trips mid-winter when I was supporting Rayonier offices in Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, and have wanted for a while to bring Mo back to these places in the winter.  Just getting started working through the bucket list....

We started our journey at the Olympia Amtrak station, where we boarded Amtrak Cascades (Talgo) service to Bellingham.  We stayed overnight in Bellingham, and visited with Dr. Mark Wicholas, now retired from WWU, the next morning.  Mark was my undergraduate research advisor at WWU, and we've stayed in contact since I left there in 1975.  We enjoyed catching up on his travels, and we got a tour of some new construction going on in the Chemistry Department.

Friday evening, we boarded the Alaska Ferry Malaspina for the 36-hour journey to Ketchikan.  The ferry had a full load of vehicles, but the passenger count was pretty low.  That's one of the clear advantages of traveling off-season - no crowds to contend with.  The weather cooperated nicely for our journey.  As we awoke near the North end of Vancouver Island on Saturday, we were greeted with sunshine and only partly cloudy skies.  Winds were light, which made for a mostly tame crossing of the open waters in Queen Charlotte Sound.  We shared a four-berth room with Bob & Betsy.    The Purser referred to it as "Casa Grande" - it was one of the largest rooms available on the ship.  Situated up front, the windows faced straight ahead giving a full view of our destination.   Another advantage of wintertime travel - little competition for accommodations on the ship.

We arrived in Ketchikan at 7:30AM Sunday morning, and walked to our hotel right across the street from the ferry terminal.  We were able to check into our room early, so we're now figuring out our plans for exploring Ketchikan.  More to follow....


We stayed at the Fairhaven Village Inn, from which we could see the Alaska Ferry terminal.  Our ferry (the m/v Malaspina) is facing away from us in the foreground.  The m/v Kennicott is in drydock in the background. The Malaspina ready for automobile loading. The Kennicott is in a floating drydock for annual repairs. The Amtrak station is right across from the Alaska Ferry terminal.  This is the Northbound morning train from Seattle.
A pufferbelly display in the ferry terminal. Beautiful weather on Friday.  This is looking North across Bellingham Bay, from Fairhaven. Fairhaven is a dog-friendly community.  This shopkeeper used a "Canine Containment Force Field" to keep his dog in the store. Betsy and Mo made friends with a dog in another Fairhaven shop.
Prof. Wicholas and Terry, in the Chemistry Department at WWU. Mo, Bob, and Betsy in our "Casa Grande" four-bunk room on the Malaspina. The windows in the room looked forward, directly over the bow. We had an hour or so to do a quick exploration of the ship before darkness.
Looking back torwards Fairhaven from the Malaspina (before our departure). A bug on the windshield. Bodily fluid notification in our room. Saturday morning at sunrise, just South of Port Hardy.
      Hardy souls slept outside in sleeping backs in the aft shelter on the Malaspina.  In the summertime, the open area here is filled with tents.
Make no mistake about it - this is not a fancy cruise ship.  This passenger grabbed a plastic chair, and set up for some nice viewing on the aft deck. Mo near the Purser's Office lobby. Inside the forward observation lounge. The Observation Lounge
The fishing village of Namu is visible in the background.  I'm guessing this is a towable structure that might be used at a remote logging or construction camp. Details of the "house on a barge". I remember this as the "big left turn".  On summertime trips, I remember waiting here for large cruise ships to exit the narrow passage before the ferry could enter.  No cruise ship traffic today! Bella Bella, another fishing & timbering village.
The lighthouse just North of Bella Bella....      
Lighthouse with Bella Bella in the background as we make a sweeping turn to the West on our way to the open waters of  Milbanke Sound. Another lighthouse marks our entry to Milbanke Sound from the Southeast. Nah.....did I really hear somebody ask why they weren't flying a US flag????? Beginning of Sunset, looking East from Milbanke Sound.