Tried to book a ferry all the way to Seward, but found out that it doesn’t leave for a week. So much for my ferry timetable reading skills. Bought a ticket to Juneau instead and went and waited in a car queue to board the boat at 7:30am. Before getting onto the ferry it was necessary to go through US customs and as each car pulled up to the inspections officer he asked them if they had any fruit in the car. When I got to customs, he asked me a few friendly questions about my bike trip and gave me the ok. Being the good boy I am, I asked him if he was gonna ask me about all the fruit I had hanging in plastic bags from my handlebars and guitar.
“Ah, it’s a stupid rule anyway”, he said, and waved me through.
The ferry ride was similar to the BC ferry ride, mostly through beautiful but monotonous hills filled with trees. Did spot two humpback whale tails this morning but haven’t looked out that much. I’ve been getting absorbed in my two new books, Lance Armstrong’s “It’s not about the bike” and “Doctor Zhivago”. I claimed a spot in the lounge, grabbed a coffee and started reading. A really cute, blue-eyed, brunette sat down in the seat in front of me, with what I assumed were her parents. As the dad went past he asked me about the coffee in a familiar accent so I used the opportunity to ask him where he was from.
He was an old farmer from Wagga in New South Wales, and was with his wife Barb and daughter, the cute one, Meg. Meg was taking time off from her cruise ship job to show Barb and Peter around Canada and the Alaskan Inside Passage. Peter and I got talking about farming and retired farmers and the subject came upon his health and he told me how he has Coeliac disease, the intolerance to gluten, as well. So this got us really talking about our experiences and so there was plenty to talk about between farming and having the shits to fill in several hours.
When we stopped at Ketchikan, Megan invited me along for a tour of downtown. The ship only stops at the port for thirty minutes, but Meg, who had been here many times before on the cruise ship, knew exactly where to go and what to see. It was hilariously funny because we were literally running between sights and every time we passed a nice shop, Barb would give a tortured sigh. Thirty minutes was not enough time for shopping. Meg’s mum was a little hard of hearing so the tortured sighs were always quite loud, and she was often the loudest person in the ship’s lounge. Meg confided that when they were kids, Barb, even with her “bad hearing” could hear Meg or her twin brother mutter a “fuck” quietly under their breaths from over fifty yards away.