We spent our final week in Alaska in Haines – the place we enjoyed so much when we first arrived in Alaska at the end of April. In my original blog regarding Haines I jokingly stated I’d found a new place to live. Strangely, as we travelled from Valdez to Haines, it did feel like we were returning home and all of us were looking forward to coming back here. Now that we’re here, it feels like we’re on vacation. I guess it may be difficult to comprehend what I mean when I say “it feels like we’re on vacation”, considering we’ve been travelling for almost a year now and haven’t had jobs or regular school to worry about. The whole week had a relaxing feel to it. The children made friends with local children at the playground and went to play there every day. Rhys and Dylan also went fishing down at the harbor with two boys staying in the RV next to us – I didn’t need to be with them every minute to fix their gear, unhook the fish, etc. I relaxed and read books. We all went to the local swimming pool a few times and the children met their new friends there. We didn’t worry about visiting the local attractions or taking any long hikes since the children were all enjoying mixing with other children as much as they could – something they’ve missed being on the road for almost twelve months. All in all, it was just, well, relaxing!
On our final night at the Oceanside RV campground in Haines, Joyce (the owner) put on a shrimp and salmon cook-out for all the campers due to leave Haines on the Columbia ferry the following night. It was a fun, friendly and, at times emotional event.
What next? Well, the next leg of our journey will provide us with another perspective on the Alaskan experience – we’re catching a ferry from Haines to Bellingham, WA. It’s a three day trip, saving us 1500 miles and about 7 days of driving, bypassing Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and dropping us back into the “lower 48 States”. We’ll be travelling on the Columbia ferry – the biggest in the Alaska Marine Highway fleet. Anwen is simply ecstatic about the prospect of sleeping in a bed on a boat! However, Rhys isn’t so keen on the idea, having watched a documentaries on the “Concordia” cruise ship and Exxon Valdez oil tanker disasters. To make matters worse, the ferry company called me on Friday to let me know that the departure from Haines was going to be delayed from Monday evening until Wednesday morning because of mechanical problems with the vessel.