Returning home on the ferry was one of the best parts of my nine-week trip to Alaska. I was able to totally relax, so much so that I took only a few pictures. Since for most of the voyage we were out at sea and away from land, I saw few birds or mammals that I wanted to photograph. Leaving the driving to the captain of the ship, I had plenty of time for socializing. I enjoyed many long and pleasant conversations with interesting people who also had no time pressures.
The 1,629 mile trip from Whittier, Alaska, to Bellingham, Washington, took us out to sea for four and one-half days. When I reached Bellingham, I had only 1,413 miles to go before reaching home. Had I instead driven from Marveen and Wayne’s home in Nikiski to Boulder, I would have had to drive at least 3,400 miles.
While most everyone calls this the Alaska Ferry, it’s really the Alaska Marine Highway System, which is a rare American example of a shipping line that offers regularly scheduled service more for transportation than for leisure or entertainment. I sailed on the M/V Kennicott, the newest ship of the line and the one that accommodates the most passengers. The ship has nine decks with a capacity of 748 passengers, including me, and about 100 vehicles, including mine. The Kennicott’s amenities include a hot-food cafeteria; a cocktail lounge and bar; a solarium; forward, aft, movie, and business lounges; a gift shop; 51 four-berth cabins; and 58 two-berth cabins.
Click on the picture above to enlarge
Some of the cabins had facilities, but mine was a “2 berth roomette without window, no facilities, or linens.” I was able to rent a blanket, sheets, and a pillow from the purser’s office, and since my cabin was approximately 4’x8’ I consider myself fortunate that I didn’t have to share it. Since I had made my reservations only five months in advance, I was lucky to get any room, and in fact, my roomette was all that I needed. But, otherwise, I would have had to sleep on deck with most of the passengers.