Leaving Alaska thru the Inside Passage – Alaska Marine Highway

When we were planning our Alaska adventure early this year we learned that the classic itinerary from the Western states is to drive the Alaska Highway one-way and take the Alaska Marine Highway the other way, or vice versa or backtrack the same way again.  Also, the mantra for any Alaska-bound traveler is to be in Alaska by Memorial Day and out of there by Labor Day. With that knowledge we chose to drive the Alaska highway going in and take the ferry outbound from Haines, AK to Prince Rupert, BC.  We made our  reservations for the outbound ferry portion early in January, with a departure date of Sept 6.

Inside Passage  Route Alaska

Route Map of Inside Passage from Haines, AK to Prince Rupert, BC

MV Matanuska

We learned from Birdie, the lady we met several times in our journey, that she saved about $300 dollars by separating the motorhome from her tow vehicle for the trip on the ferry.  When we initially made the reservation back in January we were asked the total length of our motorhome with the tow hooked up and that was how we were charged.  So at check in we told the agent that we had unhooked the tow from the motorhome and our total length was shorter . In doing so we received a refund of over $200.  Yay!

Although we already had a bit of experience on the ferry as we were city/town hopping in Southeast Alaska a few days before, there was a little bit of apprehension as on the day we departed  the tides were low. We thought we might have trouble getting Betsy on the ferry.  But we were impressed with the crew as several of them guided Steve as he was driving into the ferry and squeezed Betsy into parking to her designated  spot.

Haines Ferry

Vehicles waiting to be loaded

Alaska Ferry

The ramp

Alaska Ferry

Driving into the Ferry

Inside ferry - Alaska Inside Passage

Crews directing Steve

Inside Ferry - Alaska Inside Passage

Tight Fit but no damage done

Stateroom, Inside Passage Alaska

Our stateroom

Alaska Maritime Ferry

Outside Lounging Area

Alaska Marine Highway

A pose 🙂

Alaska Marine Highway

At the cocktail lounge with new friends we met, Ed and Denalle from California

We departed Haines with stops at Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan (Southeast Alaska), finally arriving at Prince Rupert, BC.  As our vessel glided through the waters of the Inside Passage the captain called out when whales ambled around.  The ferry also passed along the Alaska’s rugged coastlines allowing us to see small fishing villages and bustling maritime activities in addition to birds, sea otters and sea lions.  We explored the town of Wrangell for an hour and Ketchikan for a couple of hours, given the short layovers allowed.  We did not go out when at Juneau for we already visited it separately.  We were fast asleep when the boat stopped at Petersburg for only a half hour in the middle of the night.

Wrangell, Alaska

History of Wrangell

Wrangell, Alaska

Town of Wrangell

Wrangell, Alaska

Town of Wrangell, as we leave

 Ketchikan, Alaska

Interesting house at Tongass Ave, Ketchikan

 Ketchikan, Alaska

On this day two cruiseships were also in Ketchikan

 Ketchikan, Alaska

Where the beer was not too pricey, Ketchikan

Alaska Marine Highway

Goodbye, Alaska

We arrived at Prince Rupert at 2:30am local time and for the seventh time crossed a border, this time into Canada.  After a few questions, we hooked up and off we went and rested at Smithers, British Columbia.

And so that ends our Alaskan Adventure, an exciting, memorable,  awe inspiring journey to the last frontier. We made it in one piece. Betsy and our tow has no cracks, no dings, no mishaps despite the torture that both went through. We had a FANTASTIC  time !

Goodbye Alaska!