Alaska By Sea

This is Ketchikan, Alaska, but the scene is very similar approaching the other coastal cities of Southeast Alaska by sea: rugged and rustic buildings set at the foot of steep coastal mountain ranges and surrounded by beautiful forests.

Like Juneau and many other towns in this part of Alaska, Ketchikan is accessible only by air or by sea. So the seaplane in the lower left is an essential part of the transportation system. And the residents have a pioneer spirit that is consistent with Alaska's description of itself on its auto license plates: "The Last Frontier".

Its population of 14,000 makes Ketchikan pretty large -- a really "big" Alaska city has 30,000 residents. You can imagine the impact of several hundred cruise ships, each with 1000 passengers, all arriving during three summer months. So tourism is big business now, supplementing Ketchikan's logging industry and the commercial fishing that led to its recent proclamation as "Salmon Capital of the World."