SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ferry System
By Stephen Smeltzer


February 03, 2008

I'm not sure what all the controversy over the ferry system is all about. The ferry's were set up as a highway between the larger towns especially for Southeast. They were fun to ride in the 60's and 70's, and had some of the best food in their dining rooms. While doing sports at Kayhi, we took several ferry trips to other towns for meets, and the basketball players flew.

Nowadays the food is not as good, being cafeteria style, but you can still get around easier than flying. I had my car moved to Juneau by ferry. I have taken several trips to Ketchikan, Haines, and Prince Rupert, with no problems. Except the time I almost missed the YPR trip. They held the ferry for a few minutes while I scrambled down to the ramp, but didn't feel so bad about it when we laid over in Hoonah for 3 hours.

On that trip I took my passport, and when I presented it to the Canadian agent, she took it in the back room, and came back 5 minutes later, and said to drive carefully. I guess she didn't like my answers.

I am getting ready for another ferry trip to Ketchikan later this month.

Summer time folks visiting Juneau usually drive to Skagway and take the fast ferry or mainliner. This is a 4 to 6 hour trip. Prince Rupert to Ketchikan is 6 hours. Not much of a difference, but from Skagway is about a days drive or so to Prince George, whereas from Prince Rupert it takes 7 or 8 hours.

For you Bellingham folks, I don't know what to tell you. My folks got tired of flying (my dad was racially profiled being native) so they took several trips to Bellingham. They enjoyed it, was comfortable, and on time. No airport hassles.

I guess if you don't want to get a passport, the Bellingham run makes sense. I prefer to drive through Canada.

Now that the ferries stop at Hoonah, and Kake, the run is a bit longer, but a portable DVD player passes the time.


Stephen Smeltzer
Juneau, AK

About: "40 some odd year Ketchikan resident now living in Juneau"

Received February 01, 2008 - Published February 03, 2008


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Ketchikan, Alaska