Alaska

5/22: Wrangell, A Change of Pace

22May-1A

No kayaking or hiking on today’s agenda – the anchor was up and the engines were on shortly before breakfast. We were headed to the small town of Wrangell, 155 miles South of Juneau. Wrangell sits on Wrangell Island, and you need a boat or airplane to get there. It has a strong cultural history, with the Tlingit people having settled here long ago. (Note – Tlingit is pronounced like “Klink-it.”)

The time stamp on this photo says 3:48am ...

The time stamp on this photo says 3:48am … early morning was the best time to catch the water when it was eerily calm

One of the Alaska Ferry boats - the Marine Highway is the primary transportation system for people who live or visit island communities like Wrangell

One of the Alaska Ferry boats – the Marine Highway is the primary transportation system for people who live or visit island communities like Wrangell

While underway, Hannah - one of our five Expedition Guides - gave a talk about Tlingit Art and some folks tried their had at the techniques.

While underway, Hannah – one of our five Expedition Guides – gave a talk about Tlingit Art and some folks tried their hand at the techniques.

Chris, our favorite bartender, surprised us with his "Drink of the Day" special before lunch - it was available with or without alcohol

Chris, our favorite bartender, surprised us with his “Drink of the Day” special before lunch – it was available with or without alcohol

Here are some more photos from the morning as we cruised to Wrangell

And a few more photos before we reached Wrangell

The final approach into Wrangell.  Could we have had a nicer day?

The final approach into Wrangell. Could we have had a nicer day?

Since we were a small ship, we could dock at Wrangell. During the summer, there are often kids at the dock selling garnets - which only they can mine in the local pit.

Since we were a small ship, we could dock at Wrangell. During the summer, there are kids at the dock selling garnets – which only they can mine in the local pit.

We had a hamburgers for lunch onboard before setting off to explore. There was an option to take a group tour to Chief Shake’s Tribal House, or wander around on your own.  We knew we would have the opportunity to learn more about Tlingit culture next week, so we opted to stroll around on our own.  We visited the Wrangell Museum, which was very well done, and the Totem Park. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many flowers in bloom already.

A couple of our friendly fellow passengers were kind enough to pose for a photo before we all took off on our adventures

A couple of our friendly fellow passengers were kind enough to pose for a photo before we all took off on our adventures

Wrangell is home to the oldest Catholic Church in Alaska

Wrangell is home to the oldest Catholic Church in Alaska; it’s called Saint Rose of Lima.

One of several nice photos Lou took of the flowers

One of several nice photos Lou took of the flowers

Lou took photos at the museum, and during our walk around town.

We were all back onboard and ready to roll by 5pm. I think everyone had a good time in Wrangell, and we certainly enjoyed the perfect weather. We were also looking forward to dinner - Chef Jo was serving crab legs.

We were all back onboard and ready to roll by 5pm. I think everyone had a good time in Wrangell, and we certainly enjoyed the perfect weather. We were also looking forward to dinner – Chef Jo was serving crab legs.

Delicious Crab Legs with boiled potatoes and lots of butter - tasty!

Delicious Crab Legs with boiled potatoes and lots of butter – tasty!

I haven’t mentioned the evening programs held most nights after dinner – mostly because I was usually on deck taking photos, or already in bed.  Lou managed to stay up for several of the programs and enjoyed them. We were treated to talks about our route, about Alaskan Wildlife, Intertidal Creatures, and more.  There was also a library on board where you could read about many Alaska-related topics.

As we cruised towards Yes Bay for another day of water activities and hiking, we were treated to some amazing evening light.

This was taken at 8:50pm, just before sunset, and the pink clouds were just getting started

This was taken at 8:50pm, just before sunset, and the pink clouds were just getting started

More of the evening sky – there were more folks out taking photos than we’d seen earlier in the cruise

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