Sunday, June 10, 2007

SE Alaska--Getting there and Sitka

Uneventful, sleepy flight from Minneapolis to Seattle (up at 4:30 AM to finish packing and get to the airport). Even though we booked our flight from MSP to Seattle and Lidblad Expedtions booked our flight from Seattle to Sitka, NWA allowed us to check our luggage through to Sitka--saved the hassle of picking up and re-checking baggage in Seattle.

In Seattle--after a 2 hour layover--after everyone was on the Alaska Air plane, they told us "this plane will not be able to fly"--they had another plane for us--one concourse away. Delayed us a little over an hour.

Flying into Sitka--Amazing, Mountains all around--sea spotted with forested Islands, plane take a sharp turn to the left and drops to a runway that looks like it's built on fill. Fast stop. Terminal is tiny. Luggage for two families (including one the flew with us from Mpls) doesn't show up.

See our first Bald Eagles--three flying above the airport parking lot.

Tour bus is an old school bus--not a problem since there is only 14 miles of roads you can get to from Sitka--we go about 4 miles to the Alaska Raptor Center--a great (and BIG) free-flight training area for recovering Bald Eagles.

Sitka historic national park is mainly about the local Native American culture: totems, great carving, A native women doing some amazing beading with the smallest beads I've every seen. (They are not made any more--some are her grandmother's, some she gets from antique shops.)

See more Bald eagles--flying above the totems and on the tidal plain eating a fish they caught.

Drive by a Bald eagle nest--right in the middle if Sitka.

The ship stays in Sitka until midnight (waiting for the last flight from Seattle to see if the missing luggage shows up). Get a chance to walk around Sitka.

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