It was a glorious day in Seattle on Sunday, the “Amsterdam” berthed in the cruise terminal, waiting for my arrival. I am always wary of glorious days in Seattle, it usually means that the high-pressure system responsible for this lovely weather is going to push the low-pressure weather systems to the north, over Alaska; it also increases the chances of reduced visibility on our way there.
Departing slightly late, due to shipping movements and completion of our fueling, we set off through Puget Sound, heading for the Juan de Fuca Straits and the open Pacific.
We disembark our (compulsory) pilot off Port Angeles and head west, through the Traffic System towards the Pacific, the glorious sunset bodes ill for visibility prospects.
Sure enough, having gone to bed early after a long day and jet-lag, my bedside phone rings just after midnight, “we’re in fog, Captain”, not entirely unexpected, however I could have done with more than a few minutes sleep 🙁
All closed-up, whistle sounding, we make our way north through the murk, paralleling the west coast of Vancouver Island. The fog lasts on and off all day, interspersed with periods of sun and blue sky, giving us the opportunity to point out to guests the humpback whales feeding and cavorting.
Low cloud begins to build from the west, an approaching weather system is due over southern Alaska, surely it will be raining in Ketchikan, our first call; (on the other hand, it’s always raining in Ketchikan 🙂 )
Tuesday morning, drizzle and scudding low, grey clouds as we embark our South-East Alaska pilot just south of Ketchikan. A transit of the Tongass Narrows, salmon fishing boats are out in force and we dock in Alaska’s First city, the salmon capital of the world.