Day 20: Ketchikan day 1

A day of checking out downtown Ketchikan– and then taking “The Deadliest Catch” tour…

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A view of Ketchikan marina.

A view of Ketchikan marina.


Creek Street, downtown Ketchikan.

Creek Street, downtown Ketchikan.



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The Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour

(Known as “The Deadliest Catch” tour…

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I never would have done this tour, thinking the “Deadliest Catch” hook was a tip-off that it would be hokey and touristy– but was convinced by a neighbor at our campground who had done it last year. I’m so glad I did. It was great, run by guys who had actually fished these seas for fifteen, twenty, twenty five years. They knew what they were talking about and made it lively and interesting.

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These guys would go for 36 hours straight, get three hours sleep, and then do 36 more. On a good trip they could make $100,000 as their share after expenses.

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They would burn 6,000 to 8,000 calories per shift, and they would keep heaps of peanut butter and jelly sandwichs within reach to try (usually unsuccessfully) to keep up with the calorie burn.

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This man fished these seas for 23 years. He is from Washington State and originally wanted to be a professional golfer, but signed on for a crabbing trip and never looked back.

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If you’re in Alaska, you’re going to see eagles…

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This guy is worth $10 to $12 on the open market. Fill up the boat and you can make some money. Or, at least, you used to be able to, prior to the “quota system” that, in typical government fashion has generated a host of unintended consequences, one of which is to place much of the industry into the hands of huge, non-American multinationals, and to make a lot of people who never set foot on a boat very rich through the inheritance of their family’s quota, which then they lease.

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This is Derrick Ray who appeared on “The Deadliest Catch” during the second season, taking over after the tragic death of Phil Harris. In the show he was portrayed as a hard-ass who ratted on some crew members for doing drugs. He didn’t say anything about it, but one of the other guides went on at length about how the show edited the footage and the whole story– the real story– was sacrificed to the drama they were trying to create. Ray seemed like a very decent guy during our tour. He is holding a “circle hook” which, when they were convinced to try it– and reluctantly did– increased the trips’ yeild by over 50%.

Clover Pass "resort".  Our campground.

Clover Pass “resort”. Our campground.

The beast parked for the night at our campground.

Home again to our campsite after a long day.




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