We woke early, packed up, and met my friend Ken for breakfast at Dave’s Diner. Ken is a friend I met while traveling China in 2001 and then later while passing through Seattle in 2002. I haven’t seen him since but we’ve kept in touch over the years, and this morning we all had a lovely breakfast catching up and talking about Ken’s big move from the west coast to the east. Then Shannon and I made him drive us all over to a Walgreen’s (actually, two) then drop us off at the airport for our flight to Sitka, Alaska.
Thanks Ken! I’m so bummed we didn’t think to take any pictures. That was just silly.
On the flight with us were fellow New Yorkers and friends from the shop: Peter and Robin, Dave, and Anat. The Sitka airport is a small one, though our 737 was packed with passengers and landed neatly on the runway. We were ridiculously energized by the chill in the air, the overcast skies, and the snow-capped mountain outside the airport – which is what we saw for at least 45 minutes while we waited for the little taxi to make multiple runs back and forth between the airport and town.
The taxi dropped us and our bags off at the Nautilus, but couldn’t board until 6PM so the only thing left to do was to walk around the small, rainy town of Sitka, buy souvenirs, and split a burger at the Westmark Hotel (directions: “take a left at the light”… because it was the only light).
The town center
Shannon, taking dry refuge in a local restaurant
The Nautilus Explorer
On board the Nautilus Explorer we met the crew and the other guests, had dinner, did our safety briefing, and promptly crashed as the boat left Sitka and began its overnight trek north to the Icy Strait and Elfin Cove.
Mike and Lynn – San Francisco
Bernard and Dominique – South of France
Lee and Laura – Cincinnati
Ed and Ann – New Jersey
Anya – Germany (but now in Costa Rica, I believe)
Guido and Chris – Germany
Shannon – Charlotte
New York: Peter and Robin, Allison and Andrew, Anat, Dave, John, Me
Vancouver: Emily and Charlie (Mike’s children) and Barbara (Mike’s mom)
Captain Mike Lever
First Mate: Tim
Dive Masters: Dano and Stephan
Deck Hand: Bayou
Hostesses: Katharine and Meg