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Cruising Alaska:
Celebrity Infinity ("Ultimate Alaska" 11-Night)

by Murray Lundberg

Cruise Day 9: Sitka

Page 1, & Trip Index

Click on each photo to greatly enlarge it.

Tuesday, May 18: today we visited Sitka, our favourite Alaska port. It was unfortunately a very short visit, from 7:00am until 2:00pm - we'd love to spend 12 hours there (or a week!).

I awoke to fog and a light rain, with the Zaandam off to starboard. This photo was shot at 04:50.

As we got closer to Sitka the fog thinned but the rain got heavier, making photography from inside the Oceanview Cafe more interesting.

Nearing our anchoring position, at 05:55.

Captain Davey and the Esther G were waiting for us. At least we thought they were - Davey was having electrical problems and couldn't get the engines started. He said to come back in half an hour, and when we did things were fixed and we were soon on our way with 4 other people from the Infinity.

The Infinity at anchor in Sitka.

Spending time with a humpback - the water was just over 100 feet deep here so we didn't see any of the deep diving that normally gives good fluke views.

We spent an hour or so exploring some of the tight fjords, looking for bears along the beaches - the extreme low tide offered the perfect opportunity for it but we had no luck.

We saw perhaps 30 sea otters, including these 5.

Bottom left, this seal was very curious, and swam quite close.

These cormorants were flying right beside our boat at almost 30mph, then crossed over right in front of us!

Cormorants on the rocks with Mount Edgecumbe in the background.

I love getting to the edge of heavy surf in a little boat!!

The ship excursion (which is with Allen Marine in all Alaska ports) offers a very different experience than our little "6-pack" boat, with people packed at the rails.

That's Captain Davey in the center.

The "Ocean Raft" excursion heading out of the harbor.

"Friends don't let friends eat farmed fish. Support Alaska's wild fisheries."

Sitka's historic Russian Orthodox church is getting a fresh coat of paint.

The lovely Alaska Pioneers Home, built in 1934.

The options on an Alaska cruise itinerary are so vast that trade-offs have to happen. To get a proper visit to Victoria, the port time at Sitka is shortened, and line-ups can happen. When we arrived back at the tender dock and found this line-up, we just hiked up Castle Hill, which overlooks that dock (it's probably the most historically significant bit of rock in Alaska).

The walk up Castle Hill.

Castle Hill offers a quiet, very scenic refuge, and the interpretive signage is very good. That's the Zaandam in the distance.

I shot the next 2 images to show you the zoom on my new Fuji S1800. The first is at wide angle - 28mm - with Sitka's Russian Orthodox church in the center. The second photo, taken from the same spot a couple of seconds later, is zoomed right in (504mm) on the church's belltower. The images I posted are full-frame - no cropping has been done. And 12 meg images to boot - pretty cool little camera!

Looking down on the Alaska Pioneers Home statue from Castle Hill.

A final look from Castle Hill before heading down to the tender dock, where the lines were down to a minimum.

To Cruise Days 10 & 11 At Sea & Victoria