With its 44'000 passengers yearly, Ketchikan's seaplane base adjacent to the normal airport, is the busiest of its kind in the whole state for commercial flights, and the 11th-busiest airport in the whole of Alaska. Definitely the right place for a little seaplane adventure then!

 

Since I was looking for a ride in the most classic bush plane there is, Pacific Airways with its Beaver-only fleet was the perfect choice.

GPS-Track: [url]http://de.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=2583749[/url]

 

At 5PM sharp, it was time to go flying, and we were welcomed by the pilot - a former airline captain who had only come to the bush six weeks earlier, and was still totally happy with his new job. Quickly all three passengers were strapped to their seats, and the prop was started with its signature sputtering. Soon after, the pilot advanced the throttles forward, and off we went!

We climbed to a mere 800 feet and started the 20-minute cruise over the scenic landscapes of bays and islands that make up southeastern Alaska. Twice, the pilot even pointed out whales down on the water - cool!

The sun found some gaps in the cloud cover, too, and graced the gorgeous scenery with its presence. Some undescribable beauty there, which is why I leave the next few shots uncommented :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time literally flew buy, and before long, we were in the approach to Thorne Bay, followed by a smooth landing on the calm waters of the sea. Thorne Bay had once been the biggest logging camp on earth, but is now only home to some 600 people who are enjoying the calm and serene beauty of nature here.

 

We dropped of the two other passengers, and headed for our next stop, the village of Hollis, five minutes away. Since it was now just me and the pilot left, I got the chance to ride shotgun on the copilot's seat. Amazing!

 

Unfortunately, the cockpit wasn't as original as I had expected, and most of the old dials had been replaced by modern avionics. Quite impressive though!

 

 

Here we are already taxiing to the mooring at Hollis, which is another former lugging camp, home to about 150 people.

 

 

Here we picked up another two passengers and then departed back to Ketchikan. I tried to capture the take-off on video (even though there was clearly too much noise for the tiny mic of my camera!) - it's interesting to see how gentle the pilot is on the throttles - no firewalling there!

 

 

Departing into the endless Alaskan skies :)

 

 

There was again lots to see of course! Like a black lake...

 

 

...or a rock full of seals, for which the pilot descended a bit just to show it to me!

 

 

And even without such special landmarks, the scenery was breathtaking!

 

 

 

And before I realized it, we had already reached the Tongass Narrows again, the channel where Ketchikan lies. The trained eye can already spot the International Airport as a speck of light green in the distance on the right.

 

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