This morning we took our last ferry, at least for a while. We went from Juneau to Haines, Alaska, where there's a road which cuts inland to meet the Alaska Highway. View from the ferry
Once again we waited a long time for the ferry. The company adamantly insists that vehicles arrive two hours in advance of sailing (three hours for international trips) but today they willingly accepted vehicles right up to the time of departure. In our case we drove on board the ferry just after she sounded her whistle, about five minutes before the last lines were cast off.
The scenery is about the same as on our previous ferry rides. Green forested mountains capped with snow cover the mainland and the islands; spring runoff leads to rivers and cascades and waterfalls tumbling into the sea. Of course the further north we get, the colder it is. The snow line is lower, and we passed another couple of glaciers. We saw seabirds but no sea animals, and did not spot any wildlife ashore. There are few signs of human activity.
The ferry passengers were the same mix: schoolchildren on trips, working folks, young people with backpacks, and a sprinkling of retirees like us, hoping to get an early start on the season. There was an elderhostel group on board Port lifeboat the ferry; they were continuing to Skagway.
Part-way through the trip, the captain conducted emergency drills; some of the crew assembled to don fire-fighting gear including helmets and breathing apparatus, while others, in life jackets, worked on the lifeboat drill. In the calm waters, almost in touching distance to land, it's still all too easy to die from hypothermia; it was good to see this practice, and to gather from the crew's behavior that this is a routine part of their work.
This time we didn't have a cabin, as our trip (not counting waiting in line) was only four hours. We sat in rather beat up recliner chairs and read, between turns around the deck. The scenery is raw and beautiful, and we took some more photographs.