Looks Like the Ventilation's Busted: Day Eighteen on the Alaska Road Trip

Today belongs to the wildlife. I woke up to a foggy morning filled with the barnacled backs of humpback whales. I was too absorbed to take any photos, but not to worry -- I got plenty of pictures during the day.

First there were the mammals...

Harbor seal haul-out.

Pod of orcas!


Male and female orcas in a playful feeding frenzy (just guessing here).

Sea lions, harbor porpoises, and Dall’s porpoises also made the list.

And then there were the reptiles.... (Did I say reptiles? I meant... reptiles! Yes, birds are technically considered reptiles these days.)

Pelagic cormorants.

Rhinoceros auklet. 

Common murres.

A bunch of common murres.

I guess that's why we call them common!

We also saw a herring gull, bald eagle, raven, pigeon guillemot, Canada goose, glaucous-winged gull, mew gull, Bonaparte’s gull, belted kingfisher, crow, and the good old rock pigeon.

I caught up on some blogging.

My favorite office, the sun deck.

The trees are getting mossier as we motor south.

We got in line for lunch in the ship’s cafeteria, but after a few minutes we had to stumble outside for a gulp of fresh air. The cafeteria was filling up with smoke! We looked around for a sign that we should be worried, but the workers just fanned the smoke away from their faces and kept taking orders. The line piled up, the smoke billowed out, and controlled mayhem ensued.

One chef took charge and began hollering for people halfway down the line to place their orders.

“Whadaya want?!"

“Fish and chips!”

“Fish and chips? You’re number six! NEXT?”

“Chicken strips!”

“You’re number four! NEXT?”

“I don’t know yet!”

“Well ya better decide!”

I ended up winning the last order of fried oysters. I took my prize up to the front, eager to leave this smoky hell. The lady at the cash register, suffused in a yellowish-gray cloud, took my money.

“Hmm. Looks like the ventilation’s busted,” she noted without glancing up.

I guess you learn to take things in stride when you work on the Alaska Marine Highway.

A lavender hue before sunset.

Passengers retreated to their solarium chaise lounges when the sky began to spit.

Our last sunset on the Great Alaskan Road Trip.

End of day summary:
  • Day of road trip: 18
  • Start: Malaspina ferry (Ketchikan), Alaska, United States 
  • Miles traveled: 390 (ferry) 
  • Hours driven: 0 
  • Favorite bird sighting: rhinoceros auklet 
  • End: Malaspina ferry (Queen Charlotte Strait), British Columbia, Canada