I don’t know how we managed to luck out on this cruise that we actually docked in Sitka. Normally this is a tender port, which would have made it off-limits to me, so we felt very lucky. Instead of taking my electric scooter, I decided it would be wise to rent a manual wheelchair in case there were some places I couldn’t get into otherwise. I never would’ve beenable to do this if Erin hadn’t been with me to push my chair.
The town of Sitka is located on a small but very scenic island off the coast of mainland Alaska. In the late 1800s it was controlled by Russia, so it has a large Russian cultural influence. We signed up for a “Birds, Bears, & Barnacles” accessible tour that took us to a birds of prey rehabilitation center, where we got to see bald eagles up close. It was absolutely amazing! There were also many other species of raptors at the center in different stages of recovery from various injuries. After that, we went to a rehabilitation facility for bears. They had grizzly bears and black bears, and there were also many bald eagles just flying around like it was no big deal. Maybe for them, but for me it was absolutely incredible to see our national symbol just flying around in the wild. Our third and final stop was at a small Aquarian and fish hatchery.
We had some free time after the tour, so we went to get a late lunch before heading back to the ship. In the midst of eating some of the best fried halibut nuggets of my life, I was introduced by our Latin waiter to a waitress who is from–you’ll never guess–Cuba! Trust me, it’s weird running into a Cuban outside of Florida, let alone in Alaska. I was thrilled! We finally headed back to the ship, got cleaned up, and enjoyed another wonderful evening of singing and good times with new friends.