Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Dental pains

October 7th, 2011

I was hopelessly early for once, expecting the dental surgery to be much further along the highway, right on the edge of Prince Rupert. Receptionist Ruby had explained that they were pretty much booked solid into September, but they could at least take a quick look, see if anything could be done.

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Back in the Yukon I sensed something wasn’t quite right, but convinced myself it was simply my recent tooth extraction settling down. Seemed to make sense. But then an old filling from an adjacent molar had popped out over breakfast, no doubt, and quite unavoidably, loosened by the removal of its troublesome neighbour.

Decided it would be wise to remedy the situation before venturing out of Prince Rupert back into the wilds of British Columbia. Didn’t want a repeat of the dental dramas in Palmer, Alaska. Six dentists in the phone book. Two on holiday. Two answer phones. Two replies. Both those booked up into next month. Short call – the uncertainty of a waiting list for possible cancellations – the only option. But Ruby at least had said they’d be able to slot me in for a brief examination, see the scope of the job. Hope.

A straightforward filling. No infection. Yet. And there was a slot in a few days. Did I want it? Yes, I said, enthusiastically. Another episode in the soap opera that was my lower left jaw. Root canal treatment in the now no more miscreant on my last day in the UK, aborted trip to the dentist in Bulgaria – they don’t do anesthetic whereas I most certainly do – again in Istanbul, Malta, then removal in Palmer and now Prince Rupert. Where next I wondered.

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Flying fish

October 7th, 2011

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In Cow Bay, Prince Rupert, southern British Columbia, Canada

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Cow Bay comouflage

October 7th, 2011

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In Cow Bay, Prince Rupert, southern British Columbia, Canada

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Breakers Pub

October 7th, 2011

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Breakers Pub in Cow Bay, Prince Rupert, southern British Columbia, Canada.

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Pioneer Backpackers Inn

October 7th, 2011

Pioneer Inn Hostel from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken finds his hostel in Prince Rupert, but has time to kill before it opens. The joys of a ferry that docks at five in the morning..

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Drippy Prince Rupert

October 7th, 2011

Drippy Prince Rupert from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken finally makes it back into Canada, the port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia… First impressions aren’t good..

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Southbound from Haines

October 5th, 2011

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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