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Ferry Hopping, Killer Whales and Floatplanes


The ferry hopping is in it’s final stages. One more 42 hour stint to go, dodging perfectly blue iceberg sculptures. There’ve been a couple of notable moments, both announced over the PA in between Petersburg and Juneau.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you look to the port side you’ll see a killer whale. I repeat, killer whale on the port side”.

Not an everyday phrase! There was a massive killer whale a few hundred metres off the boat. It was moving fast, and even from a distance it was clear to make out the spray. A jaw-on-the-ground moment to see something like that first-hand and not through the eyes of the BBC. It emphasised just how much big life is in the water up here. Definitely a “pinch me” moment for all viewers judging by the gasps and air of excitement. A downside to travelling light is only carrying a small selection of camera gear (no telephoto lenses), so here’s blurry pixels.


There’s been a high pressure spell recently too, so it’s been hot. The perfect weather for hanging out on the sun deck on the boat and taking a nap. When you get woken up mid-nap with an announcement over the PA that says “Welcome to Cake!”, it’s really exciting. Cake? Where? Unfortunately it had nothing to do with cake at all – we were just pulling into a port in Kake to drop some passengers off.


Floatplanes are cool. Ever since first seeing a floatplane land on water, it’s been something that I’ve longed to try. Seaplane docks seem to be a part of every small town in South East Alaska – they’re used to drop people off in remote places, to search for schools of fish so the locals know where to go for maximum success, or simply for commuting between islands. Whilst in Petersburg I bumped into Doug from Nordic Air, who was in between flying jobs. He didn’t have any time for a proper interview but there was time to make a 5 minute flight from water to land, catch a few brief words and capture some aerial footage. It was a ton of fun. Hope you enjoy it.

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9 comments on this post

  1. Steve Grice says:

    Hi Davey!
    It’s been a while… Sounds like you’re still having a thought provoking sand inspiring tiime…
    Am justback from a six week spell working in the Shetlands -Briatians far North :-) Had a great time – a real adventure.

    Your latest post has reminded me of a gorgeous article in one of the climbing anthologies ‘The Crooked Road to the Far North’ by Lito Tejada-Flores – I think it’s in Games Climbers Play but not sure – it’s a beautifully romantic portrait of ferry hopping as I recall – no cake tho…
    Cheers lad

    • Dave says:

      Cheers Steve, sounds like fun in the far north! Will attempt to hunt out that article, thanks for the heads up. Hope all’s well back across the pond.

  2. Katy M says:

    You’re in a great part of the world. Word of warning – Take care and keep an eye on your stuff in Juneau though. It’s a lovely place mainly but there’s some shady people and a lot of drug activity = lots of theft.

  3. kevin ford says:

    hey im thinking about doing a big trip soon. whats the gear that you reccommend the most? hows your bike holding up

    • Dave says:

      Hi Kevin,

      The bike’s doing alright at the moment. No problems there.

      Erm, tough to answer because it’s such a broad question. Here’s three really useful things:

      * Wheels – invest in a good strong set of wheels. Don’t count grams. Go for the strongest.
      * Bike lock & alarm – your bike trip sucks if your ride get’s nicked.
      * Drybags for keeping your valuables dry.


  4. Ned Brinkley says:

    We’re enjoying all the posts! Killer Whales – you’re a long way from Cape Charles, VA. Keep riding strong, man.

  5. ron kotyk says:

    Dave, as old time Alaskans like to say,”I’m very glad yo met me!”. Really I get the Bipolar analogy about periods in our lives. Start or restart your conversations with your creator on your journey and your travels will take on a whole new dimention in my opinion. It was very good visiting with you on your way to the Auke Bay Ferry terminal in Juneau . I hope you got your flat fixed and have a wounderful time. Be safe on your journey., Ron Kotyk Juneau
    Anchorage and
    Wasilla Alaska PS Check out Off the Chain bike coop in Anchorage or their website.

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