Shakedown Cruise

In a way it was like riding the state ferry, only with much better food, more luxurious accommodations and a ship that stops for whales. 

Alaskan Dream Cruises invited a group of Sitkans to take a Memorial Day “shakedown” cruise on the Chichagof Dream before the start of the regular season.  Some of us have known each other for a very long time.  Some folks we knew by reputation and this cruise gave us a chance to get to know them for real. Very muh like riding the ferry.  We were group of Alaskans out on the water playing cards and swapping tales.

At dinner, as we went through Sergius Narrows, we each told our tales of going through that waterway during the wrong tides.  Some were funny, in retrospect, like a boat spinning out of control and shooting out the other side.  One was tragic, a tugboat going down taking two hands.  We shared fishing tales, moose and bear stories, and diving incidents.  Then we started swapping traveler’s tales about the world outside Alaska.  It was a congenial complement.

I salute the bravery of the “Expedition Leaders” (“ELs”) young people hired from “Outside” (A proper noun in Alaska) who had to lecture on, for instance, the fishing industry, to an audience that included folks who had fished these waters for decades.  Or the EL who lectured on Alaska History to an audience including a local history museum curator.  They were personable young folks who sought us out to ask about this pronunciation, that fact, or perhaps grab a story to enliven their own presentations.  One lecturer asked “and does anyone know how the native carvers got the teal blue color for their totem poles?”  Perhaps a rhetorical question for most cruises but on this one everyone called back “copper.”

Then there was Alaska trivia.  I expect our cohort got more right answers than later sailings will.

It was fun to watch the excited young crew members run to the window when there was a porpoise, whale or bear sighting.  We Alaskans never become blasé about a whale sightings but watching recently arrived waiters’  glee as they ran to the starboard, reminded us of our first time cruising these waters.  Most of us came up for the first time on the State Ferry.

3 thoughts on “Shakedown Cruise

  1. Wow! This sounds like great fun breaking in a brand new ship.
    Thanks for sharing what you did of it!

  2. Nice. Happy for those young people having the opportunity to see these sites and the marine life. First whale sighting is something unforgettable these many years later. Expect the same will be true for them.

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