Across Continents

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Southbound from Haines

InnerPassage (1)

Ferry made with at least twenty minutes to spare. I’d have arrived a bit earlier but had taken a short detour into downtown Haines to find a working ATM. Hadn’t encountered a single one during my travels in Canada. The few that did exist were either empty, offline or just refused my card. The only consolation being the wide acceptance of US dollars, but this had almost depleted my small stash.

I needed more cash otherwise I’d be surviving at sea on cold porridge. But the one ATM in Haines I could find had just be refilled and, the teller explained, wouldn’t be available for a while. Quickly explaining I’d a ferry to catch, could she dispense me funds from the till? She could, and she did, but with such a methodical slowness I could barely contain my frustrations. Glacial.

But now I was at last onboard. Trusty steed secured down on the car deck. Luggage stowed in the cabin. A sign in the shower asked passengers – and crew – to refrain from using the facilities in harbour. Just a small holding tank. Pondered this briefly, then decided the exertions of the previous couple of days justified an exception.

The ship would take me south along Alaska’s Inner Passage – or Inside, I could never quite remember – a relatively sheltered coastal route along fjords and amongst a multitude of islands. Strong tidal streams and treacherous waters. Forty hours or so and I’d be back into British Columbia, but now a thousand miles or so closer to Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. But it would still leave a further thousand to ride to reach the city, and the short hop over the border to Seattle.

Wrangell (2)

A few stops en route. Juneau, Alaska’s capital. Petersburg, Wrangell and the charmingly named Ketchikan. Finally Prince Rupert in the early hours. Deep joy.

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