We see now why every cruise ship doesn’t stop at Sitka, Alaska. There’s nothing convenient about it.
Which doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. It just takes more effort.
Like piling people into the tenders–life boats–like sardines. And then escorting them to the dock.
If necessary, the tenders hold 150 distressed people.
But this ride is voluntary. So when it looks full, we leave.
And minus the overwhelming smell of exhaust, it’s a happy little ride.
Ten minutes later, we’re here.
And three minutes behind us, so is the next one.
Which was how it worked. People piled in the tenders and came. And people piled in the tenders and left.
Came. Left. Came. Left.
From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There’s the cruise ship–as close as it will get to Sitka.
And after walking away from downtown in this direction…
there’s the ship again.
In this same area is a one-mile loop through Sitka National Historical Park, full of totem poles that tell about the Tlingit Indians.
At the tip of the walk is the location of Fort Sitka. No building remains, just a clearing with an erected totem pole explaining the significance of the last battle there.
The Battle of Sitka in 1804, was the last armed battle between the Russians and the Alaska Natives–the Tlingit–in which the Russians won in just days and drove the natives into the surrounding forests.
In the shops the Russian influence is still evident. Matryoshka dolls or Russian nesting dolls can be bought nearly anywhere.
At home our kids nearly fell over when they extracted the last hand-painted doll.
“But it’s so tiny!” they exclaimed.
And now it’s the tender ride back.
A little less exciting.
And one last view of Sitka.