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.
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.
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 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.
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!