One of the many, many bald eagles in Dutch Harbor, Alaska
Why We Did it:
I ’ ve been wanting to take this ferry since moving to Alaska. We live in a eldritch and fantastic state and I want to explore as much of it as I can. The press to actually koran the trip this year was the Governor threatening to cut all Alaska ferries. These ferries are vital to connecting alaskan communities and were never built to be a money manufacturer. That is why they called them the “ Alaska Marine Highway System ” because roads besides don ’ t make money. They make communities. All of the communities on the aleut ferry can only be accessed by ferry or plane. many are excessively modest for a land strip .
We flew to Dutch Harbor and rode the ferry up the chain to Kodiak. We were told by ferry staff that we rode the “ locals route. ” The tourist path is the reverse one : homer or Kodiak to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska ( The harbor is called Dutch Harbor, but the town is called Unalaska, so you fly into Dutch Harbor, but the town and the island it is on is Unalaska ). Ferry staff told us that during the “ tourist road ” the bantam towns come out in full force at each end with stopover tours, local donuts, and bantam keepsake stands. Though we ’ rhenium sad we missed the tours and donuts, we ’ re beaming we got to see the ferry precisely as it is used by chap Alaskans .
Dutch Harbor – and some of the famous Deadliest Catch boats in the harbor
As a tourist, I would credibly recommend you take the other way. Homer is a 4-hour repel from Anchorage, but one-way rentals are hard to find which is why we chose to end in Kodiak. We flew into Dutch Harbor from Anchorage and flew back to Anchorage from Kodiak. Flights to these areas ( particularly Dutch Harbor/Unalaska ) can be very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars for a one-way flight. This can be a good consumption of Alaska Airlines miles. Instate flights are bum using Alaska Airlines miles – Dutch harbor can be a low as 7,500 one way and Kodiak 5,000. Keep in mind that inclement weather cancels flights in Dutch Harbor very frequently, sol add a few days of a buffer in your travel if you get stuck in Dutch Harbor at the end of the journey so you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate miss your Anchorage trajectory home. We left Dutch Harbor at 4pm on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Kodiak on Tuesday good morning at 2:15am. The ferry travel was $ 361 for each adult, $ 181 for kids 6-11, and rid for kids 0-5. Our 4-person cabin with toilet was $ 635, so we paid a total of $ 1,719 for this ferry travel ( and used miles to pay for flights each way ).
Fossil Beach, Kodiak Alaska
The Solarium on the Tustumena
While it is legal to duct tape a tent to the top pack of cards of the ferry, this path international relations and security network ’ t the best to do that. We watched a class attempt, but closely lose their poles to the scent. finally, they gave up and headed inside. One man did set up equitable a crib in the sun parlor at the top deck ( it ’ randomness both overlay and heat but identical, very loud ). We got a 4-person cabin and one of the kids slept on the floor between the 2 bunk beds. Our cabin had a minor bathroom in it, but many don ’ thymine. There are, however public bathrooms and showers on board. You ’ re besides able to sleep in the sofa chairs or the few booth tables in the lounge, but booth benches fill up FAST by locals that ride the ferry frequently. I recommend a cabin. It was deserving quiescence in a layer in iniquity ( admonisher : Alaska doesn ’ thyroxine drive dark all night during the summer ) .
Our fancy cabin on the ferry
food on circuit board is available in the full-service restaurant on the M/V Tustumena. The restaurant is merely open 1-1.5 hours for each meal and has a limited menu with prices $ 10-12 per entree ( and no lean servers because they are all public servants and can ’ triiodothyronine accept tips ). besides, they are limited to ingredients on control panel. After the irregular morning, they ran out of syrup for breakfast. There are besides 2 public microwaves and a Keurig that offers barren hot water. We ate two meals in the restaurant, but ate the rest using the microwave and blistering water options. We brought oatmeal and hot cocoa packets for breakfast, lots of snacks for lunch, and just-add-water pho bowl and microwavable indian food and rice packets for dinner. We brought our own microwavable roll ( cups were available for coffee ) and never had to compete for the microwave .
besides, the ferry is in the unfold ocean for much of the travel in a identical windy/rainy separate of the earth. We lucked out with 5-8-foot swells but the crew said 20-30-foot swells aren ’ thymine uncommon. I was decidedly on Dramamine for the ride .
The ferry has a “ movie room ” where the purser will load movies during the slower times on board – the days with fewer stops. She played a few kid movies and a match alaskan documentaries. We besides brought lots of games to play as a class. My kids besides had Kindles and workbooks for when we needed them to calm down on the gravy boat.
Bring a well camera and binoculars and be quick to merely watch the waters. We saw cute otters, some fin whales, a pod of killer whale, some porpoises, tufted puffins, horned puffins, and many, many other kinds of birds. Bring lots of coats and hats and gloves because sitting outside the boat in the wind instrument and rain can be identical cold .
Cute Little Otter
Since we were on the “ locals ’ route, ” we didn ’ t have offered tours and most of the towns weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate close adequate to walk all the room into “ town ” ( they ’ re all truly little ) during our small stop, but we made indisputable we got off at each one and walked around the dock and took pictures. We besides got good views of each township as we pulled up and drove away on the ferry. Akutan is the one township that is right at the dock. The whole town is car-less and has boardwalks between all the houses for 4-wheelers. In 20 minutes we were able to walk all the direction from one of township to the other. Each town has its own cute little russian Orthodox Church and most have pisces process plants .
Who Rides the Ferry?
There were 5-6 other Alaskans that took the governor ’ s threat seriously and bought a ticket like we did and there was one explorer from California, but the remainder of the people on control panel were using the ferry for real number life. We were there at the end of the school year, so there were 4 teachers from several of the islands that were moving to other villages to teach the adjacent year. There were sports teams riding to compete with early villages. One family was moving from Dutch Harbor to Colorado. Two of the towns are on the lapp island but have no road between them. One town has the airport and the early has the harbor. many residents of one township got on the ferry to get to their fish boats in the other.
Us watching the car elevator on the Trusty Tusty
We spent a bunch of time at each stop down on the car pack of cards watching them load and drop all sorts of things onto and off of the ferry with the ferry ’ second singular car elevator system. The dock at each period is at a different altitude, so the cable car elevator allows vehicles to be loaded and unloaded at each blockage despite the stature differences. Every catch was a dispatch logic puzzle. They loaded garbage trucks, semitrailer, respective boats, many 4-wheelers with trailers attached, and a whole carnival of rides !
Loading a boat onto the car elevator
Was It Worth It?
I absolutely loved the tripper. It was beautiful and crazy and fun. It was so fun to talk to locals about how they use the ferry, lecture to the staff about how they ended improving there ( many, many crazy stories ), and see the landscape of the Aleutians. We were besides able to learn a lot more about the history of WWII in Alaska in Unalaska and Kodiak which are important stories all Americans should discover ( you should at least know about the Battle of Attu and the Aleut Relocation Camps ). We were able to explore old bunkers and lookout points at both Unalaska and Kodiak .
Hiking up Bunker Hill in Dutch Harbor
The boat drive through the tree-less cliffs of the Aleutians was artificial. It was a fit from a movie and I am so gladiolus I went !
Treeless cliffs of the Aleutians