Day Six – Sitka (a capital city)
Morning Y’all from Sitka Alaska. Where cultures collided almost as much as the island-studded harbor views and stately forrests meet at the water’s edge. Steeped in History, Sitka began as nothing more than a place you would expect to find Tlingit’s (native Indians) with nothing other than their natural surroundings. By the late 1700’s Sitka saw the first Russian settlers, who were never quite accepted by the natives who grew evermore suspicious of their intentions and viewed them pretty much as marauding invaders to their land. After a brief war in the early 1800’s that tnearly rubbed out both peoples, the area became known as New Archangel and pretty much as a fur-trading center and the Capital City of the Alaskan territory while under Russian control until 1867, when then U.S. Secretary of State Seward, spearheaded the purchase of Alaska from the Russians.
Though it’s been a long time since the hostilities, you will still continue to see a great deal of Russian architectural influence in Sitka’s buildings and churches. (St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church on Right), Sitka is also known for being one of the largest Raptor (birds of prey) capture, rehabilitate, and release centers. If this is an interesting subject for you then definitely you will want to stop by the Raptor Center to view their exhibits as well some of the birds who never do fully recuperate to fly capability and remain housed there taken care of the volunteer efforts. Also there is the Sitka National Historic Totem Park (seen below) which is a frequent must see visitor attraction that offers a fine collection of Haida and Tlingit Totem Poles. If you’d care to take in some authentic Russian dancers be sure to stop by the Harrigan Centennial Hall (at right) which is one of the most close-by points of interest in close proximity to where the cruise ships tenders dock. Whatever your individual tastes might be, there is something for everyone here in Sitka, and it’s certainly an easy port to just walk around at a leisurely pace on your own.
Sitka is made up of a series of barrier islands and other than water or air has no means of getting into or out of this fourth largest (in landmass) city in Alaska but only boasts a population of about 9000 people with about one-third of those being descendents of the original native inhabitants. First, I should tell you that Sitka is what we refer to as a Tender stop, which means we will be using our tenders as a means of getting from the cruiseship to the shore. Normally they will use anywhere from 3 to 6 tenders as dedicated ferries to go back and forth during our time here in port. There are a variety of things to do here including hikes, adventure excursions involving high-speed raft craft as well as RV nature encounters. While there are about fourteen miles of road in Sitka, they all lead to nothing but Sitka. The most distinctive point of interest being Mt. Edgecombe (pictured above left), which is a 4000 year old extinct volcano, which on a sunny day is easily visible but when overcast disappears into the cloud cover. Sitka is a brief port stop as we arrive at around 7am and depart at 1pm, so it’s a quick experience but never-the-less an interesting place. Tonight is formal night so everyone will be able to get back on board and gussied up for pics tonight. We have a couple of surprises in store for two members of our group tonight which will be taking place at dinner. I’ll just provide a brief peek (click here to view the video) of the goings on, otherwise known as “Happy Birthday” which was performed in Grand Philippino Style by our wonderful wait staff. Here’s a Tip: Birthdays, and Anniversaries are something that you can easily celebrate while on a Cruise and range from FREE to Minimal Costs, depending on the cruise line. You can arrange for this on-line before you depart, and with Holland America they also allow you to arrange once you are on-board, you just need to stop by the Front Desk and make the official request, How Cool is that!!
Your Cruise Planning thoughts: I do hope that this series of informational blog postings have been seeds for possible hopes and plans on an Alaskan Adventure Cruise for yourself in the future. There are basically three types of Alaska Cruises which are Inland Passage Sailings: which offer just a glimpse of what the Alaska Coastline reveals with stops in a couple of Alaska cities. Generally these cruises are well suited for first time Alaska Cruisers. Then there are the Adventure Cruise Sailings which is the type of sailing that I am reporting on here. Finally for those who wish to see and experience the most that Alaska has to offer there are the Cruise/Tour Sailings, which feature an in-depth interior experience of 2 to 5 days either before, or after your on-board cruise experience. While these are the most expensive of Alaskan sailings they also offer you the most in what Alaska is all about, and are quite often are summed up as once-in-a-lifetime adventures by those who experience them.
Well it’s been quite a busy day and I must admit I am a little tuckered out!! But, I will write again tomorrow. Hope to see you then!! – “CruisewithMike”
CruisewithMike: Thanks for visiting our weblog for updated information on this continuing story or interest. If you would like to obtain more information on Alaska Cruises and Cruise Tours, or you wish to reserve your space on one of these magnificiant adventures, you can contact Mike at email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow mike on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . Join our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com .