After our twenty-minute seaplane flight to Rudyard Bay, we boarded the catamaran for a sail back to Ketchikan. Upon leaving the dock, we had to sit down inside the boat, at a booth resembling a fast food restaurant. The view from here was limited and obstructed. Luckily, we were soon released and headed upstairs to the top deck, which was open across the back of the boat.
Inside Misty Fjords National Monument, the ride was slow and gentle. We cruised through the Punchbowl cove featuring tall, slick cliffs. From the top of the cliff to the bottom of the fjord was equal to the height of the Sears Tower! The boat floated close to the cliffs and the onboard naturalist narrated the sights over the PA system. We could see several birds nesting in the cliffs and learned quite a bit about the plants clinging to spots of soil in the rock. The landscape is certainly unique and something we would not be able to see anywhere else in North America. The glide through the monument took about an hour until we came out to open water.
Once back on the sea, the catamaran picked up speed. Although the sun shone brightly now without any cliffs to hinder it, the wind chill was much greater. It felt about 50 degrees with wind whipping in our faces. A corner of the bulkhead provided a little shelter, but it was a cold ride. Anyone with long hair needs a hat or a ponytail in order to see!
We did occasionally slow down to investigate some islands. Our captain even spotted a bear on shore and brought us in very close to observe. We also stopped to see New Eddystone Rock, which is a tall piller of rock on a patch of island. Supposedly, Captain Cook thought it was a ship's mast at first and was elated to see humans! However, it was just a rock. Nearby were some seals camped out on another island.
We spent about another hour rushing back to town. Once in the Ketchikan harbor, the naturalist again described the town as we floated past most of the community on our way back to the small dock.
After disembarking, we had approximately an hour left to explore Ketchikan before boarding our ship again.