On the third day of our cruise we arrived at our first port city, Haines, pop 1,715.
Incorporated as a city in 1910, this area has one the largest congregations of bald eagles in the world which feed on salmon in the nearby Chilkat River. And, we saw many! Every November Haines has an Alaska Bald Eagle Festival. Fort Seward, the site of the first permanent Army post in Alaska, was built in Haines in 1903.
Fishing is done year round in Haines with cod, crab and shrimp,as well as salmon in the summer and halibut year round.
Located in southeast Alaska and the northernmost point of the Alaska panhandle, Haines is one of the few towns in this part of Alaska which is connected by both a highway system and a seaport.
Our main activity while in Haines was a whale watching excursion on a catamaran named Fjordland.
We saw a couple whales in the distance, as well as sea otters and sea lions.
The sea lions were the most entertaining.
The highlight was seeing the beautiful Davidson Glacier.
The ride out was very rough and rocky and I was very glad I had taken Dramamine. Bill and Beth took some great pictures. I don’t know how they managed to get them with the boat rocking so much. I spent a lot of time in my seat because I could hardly stand much less walk around and I didn’t want to get sick. Beth loves lighthouses and was happy to see the Eldred Rock Lighthouse, a picturesque octagonal lighthouse constructed in 1906. The property is now for sale.
We saw seals near the lighthouse island.
When we returned from our excursion we did take a free shuttle bus around the town with a very friendly and helpful driver. Only one cruise ship visits every week and the town shows their appreciation by providing this free service. We were told that the bus is paid for with tourist port fees. We did stop in a couple small gift shops in town. Haines has a Hammer Museum with a collection of over 1,600 hammers but we didn’t have time to visit.
When we returned to our ship they were in the process of having their monthly crew drill where they employ the lifeboats. Really interesting to watch.
Many thanks again to Beth for some of the pictures and for the great sea lion video where you can actually hear the sounds the sea lions made. See/select the below video:
Bald Eagle Trivia: