Reviews of Ketchikan, Alaska
Reviewed by rcrford Review Date: 08/25/2014
Rating: (10) Recommended
We did the Neets Bay Bear Watch by Floatplane excursion. In a word:Wow!
First of all, it was rainy and windy for our entire stay in Ketchikan. We were told this is not unusual since it is the Rain Capitol of North America. So, be prepared to be damp.
Our excursion started later in the day so we had time to wander around the town a bit. Found some great gifts and the prices were not outrageaous.
At 2:00 we checked-in with our excursion hostess and boarded the bus to the floatplane port. (This was the only driver who did NOT point out any areas of interest, or even talk at all. She seemed rather cranky. Maybe it was the rain.) They divided us up into groups of 8-9 and we climbed into our floatplane with little ceremony. Everyone wore headsets to muffle the noise of the propellers & engines, but there was music and some little narration during the flight. The flight: it was bumpy. We hit air pockets and currents that jostled and dropped us like we were in a kite. It might have been scary if the pilot wasn't used to flying in these conditions regularly. What an adventure so far!
Once we landed, we met our guide for a short walk through the woods to the salmon hatchery -- he stopped to point out bear markings, dens and sleeping spots. He explained the hatchery and how they aided the "circle of life" for salmon. Then we walked down to the bear viewing area -- there was a stream with a small waterfall and you could see large salmon leaping up through the stream. There were even seals hearding some salmon along a fence so they could catch them easier. There were a mated pair of bald eagles up in one tree across the stream too. Then the black bears started to show up! They totally ignored us and walked right into the stream opened their mouth and, as if by magic, a salmon appeared in it. They made it look so easy. It was fascinating watching them catch and eat the salmon. At one point, there were six bears out. We watched for about an hour, then had to head back to get the floatplane back to Ketchikan. (Yet another bumpy ride!) This was definitely a highlight!