The Marine Vessel Columbia was the ferry we took from Sitka to Ketchikan. It can hold up to 600 passengers and 134 vehicles. It has two car decks, some cars are brought up to the 2nd deck via a big elevator. There are also 103 cabins, and we got one of them so we have our own bathroom with a shower.
We departed Sitka at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday for a 22.5 hour ferry to Ketchikan, Alaska. And of course it was raining.
This is a big ferry. It has two large observation decks in the front, a Solarium, an outside passenger seating area, and two tent camping areas. There is also a snack bar and a very nice full service restaurant as well as a cocktail lounge and a movie theater.
Remember, this is a ferry, not a cruise ship. People camp out in the solarium with their sleeping bags and small tents. They use duct tape to hold the tents down. Others who do not have cabins are sleeping in recliners or benches wherever they can find a spot. They just can’t “camp out” in the observation rooms.
We are on this ferry for only two days while some of these people are on it for a week.
The last few weeks in Alaska has been so cloudy and wet for us. Today was no different. It’s still beautiful, we’re traveling in and out around hundreds of islands and mountains, but a little sunshine would make for more colorful pictures.
And then it got worse. A dense fog set in and the captain stopped the boat. We sat still for the next eight hours while we waited for the fog to lift. Dodging all these islands, and squeezing through “The Narrows” was too risky to proceed.
Finally! The fog lifts and we’re on our way again. We even got to see some blue sky and sunshine. We have missed that. Now we can walk around outside. It’s still cool, around 60 degrees, but that’s ok.
We made two stops on the way to Ketchikan. One in Petersburg and one in Wrangell. Each time they asked Bernie to move the RV off so they can off-load some trucks and then he can re-load the RV. Then they have to let some cars off and then load up the new passengers. These people really have their act together and things went smoothly. They wanted to make up for lost time as we were now 8 hours behind schedule and they managed to keep their stop time down to around 30 minutes each time!
This is the best way to travel in Alaska. The state is almost all mountains or water and roads are few and far between. It beats driving!
We arrived in Ketchikan at 9:15 p.m. Eight hours and 15 minutes behind schedule.