Well, we arrived at Petersburg 30 minutes late at 1:00 a.m. on Thursday morning and by the time we got off the boat and got to the campground and parked it was 2:00 a.m. We just found an empty spot, parked the mothership and went to bed. After a few hours sleep, we registered and set up in our actual campsite. We have no cell service but I was able to find the satellite and we have WiFi. We will just have to use the cell when we are in town. The campground is about 8 miles south of Petersburg. The campground itself is a little rundown but there aren't a lot of choices in these small towns and it will suffice for our stay.
Thursday afternoon we went into Petersburg just to look around and get some groceries. Petersburg is mainly a fishing village. They do have tourism but, since the cruise ships do not stop here, their population doesn't double or triple each day as it does in Ketchikan. The Humpbacks are supposed to be in Frederick Sound, which is where Petersburg is located, but so far we have been unable to sight any. Hopefully the trip up and over to Sitka Monday may be more fruitful.
Groceries are expensive in the Inside Passage. I guess the cost of getting it here is the reason. The Pita chips Doris likes were 11.99 in Ketchikan and 8.99 here in Petersburg, much more than we are used to spending on chips. Needless to say, she decided to wait until we could find them cheaper. Much as I did on my favorite Skittles and M&Ms. They are over 4.00 a bag each here in Petersburg, about twice what they are in Florida. Candy as a whole is much more expensive, as is fresh fruit and vegetables which are astronomical. Fresh meat is higher but not unreasonable. Doris wanted to get a small bag of frozen meatballs to make spaghetti & meatballs in the crock pot but all we could find was a 6 pound bag at over 22.00. Where is Sam's Club when you need them?
Thursday evening near dusk we went driving south of the campground to see what we could find. We did run across deer along side the road a couple of times but no other wildlife. We visited the Blind River Rapids which is an area of the Blind Slough where salmon come back each year. For some reason they are late this year and we were not able to see any. The Coho and Pink salmon should be making their trip in the fall but the Chinook (King) salmon should be here about now - no such luck. A salmon hatchery is located at the top of Blind Slough which is why they come back here every year.
Not only are groceries more expensive, everything else is as well. Gas was running 3.10 for unleaded in Wrangell, with mid-grade causing a 60 cent jump and premium another 60 cents. I had filled Libby in Ketchikan at 2.45 and hopefully that will last us until it gets cheaper. The local weekly newspaper, The Petersburg Pilot, is a whopping 16 pages and cost one dollar. It was worth it though as it was very entertaining, especially the Police Report, which took up a whole page of the 16 pages. I initially thought "boy that's a lot of crime for 3,000 people" but changed my mind as I read. They include every contact with the police department, no matter how trivial. As an example one read "A caller reported someone for leaving the house with an intent to start a fight." Another read "A person reported individuals being rude to them and their children at the ballpark." And another "A big white goose was reportedly blocking traffic on Sandy Beach Rd." There must be some very patient people answering the phone at the police department.
Friday evening we went on another long drive through the forest on National Forest roads. It was a road called the Three Lakes Loop and it took us 21 miles through the forest to an overlook for the LeConte Glacier and back around to the highway our campground is on. I have included three pics of it though we were 12 miles away and you can't see much but the icebergs that have calved and are entering Frederick Sound. The glacier itself can barely be seen as bluer than the snow a little above the mouth of that bay where the icebergs were. It took us about two hours to make the 21 mile loop and the only wildlife we saw was a beaver busily adding to his lodge. Once we started back on the highway we did see another (or the same) deer along the highway. Every time we have gone down that highway we have seen one or two deer.
Saturday morning we went into Petersburg and had breakfast at the harbor-front Northern Lights Restaurant. It was great. I just had my normal bacon and eggs with hash browns but Doris had something they called "The Friendly" which was one egg,two bacon strips and two pancakes. This was after she had planned to just have blueberry "hotcakes" as they call them and the server asked how many she wanted as they were large. So she decided to get the Friendly and just get two pancakes. You should have seen these things about 3/4 inch thick and at least a foot in diameter! She ate her eggs and bacon, but couldn't quite finish the pancakes though she did pick the blueberries out of what she didn't eat. We were also fortunate enough to have a Bald Eagle perched not far from us outside the restaurant and to see him have breakfast and remain on the lookout for more.
Right next to the restaurant was the Sons of Norway Hall and the Viking Ship. Petersburg has a long Norwegian heritage and it is perpetuated through this hall and many other activities in the area. I also got Libby filled up - 2.86/gallon. It wasn't as bad as I had feared but still worse than I would have liked. We then went south of the campground again to go to the salmon hatchery that had been closed when we were in that area before. The stream they get the adult salmon from was very picturesque so I included a pic of it as well as the fish ladder used to get the adults into the hatchery when they are spawning. The eggs are then taken from the adults, fertilized and hatched. They use increasingly larger tanks to house the young until they get big enough to be released back into the stream and future generations are perpetuated in this manner which return each year for spawning.
Saturday evening about 7:00 we went on another National Forest road drive in hopes of finding wildlife. This one was about 19 miles long and took two hours - RESULTS ZERO, NADA, NIL, not a cotton-picking thing. We didn't even see the resident deer on the way back! Oh well, it was a pretty drive through the forest anyway.
Sunday we didn't do much but go to the ferry terminal and get our lane assignments for the Sitka trip. We have to have a tag on each vehicle saying where it is going and how long it is so they can figure out what order to put you on the ship. Getting that tag is part of check-in and we have been doing it a day ahead to beat the rush and know which lane to park in but they wouldn't check us in ahead of time here. At least they told us what lane (there are six) to get in for boarding so we will not have to do a lot of maneuvering after we get there and park the first time. The ferry will depart tomorrow at 1:30 pm local and is supposed to get to Sitka at 2:15 am Tuesday. Hopefully we can find a place to park the mothership until we can get into the campground. I don't know what our cell service situation will be so I don't know when the next posting will be able to be uploaded.