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one man’s account of his ferry deck adventure

ABOARD THE M/V COLUMBIA, HEADING TO ALASKA The sky: a promising cerulean blue. Bellingham Bay: calm. The passengers: swarming the decks of the M/VColumbia, thrilling to that landlubber novelty the kind that sometimes attracts amused eye rolls from regular, workaday riders of state ferries.

And the Columbia canada goose outlet online uk is a state ferry the largest in Alaska fleet but pretty much everyone seemed canada goose outlet online store kitted out for summer vacation up the Inside Passage with real cameras, crisp backpacks and Patagonia all canada goose asos uk weather cargo shorts.

Nicknamed poor man cruise, some tourists ride the Alaska stateferries for thrift and (relative) solitude from the cruise ship casts of thousands, plus a touch of that riding the rails ambience. You can smell the engine canada goose outlet online store review grease; see smaller, more remote harbors; feel a little closer to something like a daring expedition.

Camping on deck is cheaper than getting a cabin, and those staying in the Columbia 101 staterooms watched us couple dozen outdoor sleepers canada goose jacket outlet store with mild curiosity as we settled in on deck: some (like me) repurposing plastic reclining chairs as cots in the covered solarium, others pitching tents and exhaustively taping them to the deck.

A few hours later, the crowd evaporated, leaving the rest of us to do what humans do in new habitats: establish individual territories, then turn outward, congealing canada goose outlet michigan into an ad hoc community, asking each other where we from and what we up to.

I was there to recreate an early adolescent voyage, announced by my parents after I, allegedly, threatened to run away and follow the Grateful Dead.

Either way, my parents decided that summer was an opportune time to pack up the canada goose uk head office kids (10th grade me, 5th grade brother, 4th grade sister) and take the canada goose outlet orlando ferry. My parents and siblings took a cabin. I got to sleep outside, free to talk to whomever and do whatever I pleased. But, you know, on a boat. How much trouble could I get into? (Answer: a little.)

“The idea seemed just interesting enough for you,” my dad, a retired Coast Guard captain, says. “Controlled freedom more apparent than real!”

Which sums canada goose outlet up the feeling of riding those ferries, sacking out on deck again, 25 years later.

It sounds adventurous on paper. to walk to the rail in your shorts and long john top, the breeze cold enough to crystallize your brain, and stare, ice faced and still, at the moon and its rippling path of silvery light, a celestial highway on the water between you and the hulking silhouettes of glacier laden mountains that look improbably close. When you canada goose t shirt uk get back to your pallet, your neighbor canada goose gloves uk perhapsthe owl shaped Texan who’d squirmed on his cot earlier that night, moaning: “the sun still hasn’t set?” snores gently into the blue black night.

But the survival corner of your brain knows there’s a 24 hour crew, that some deckhand with a flashlight is on her night rounds and the Coast Guard can see right where you are. Probably.

It still adventure just controlled adventure, with brightly marked life jacket bins and plastic dispensers labeled “sea sick bags” hanging on the walls, but nevertheless an excellent tonic for those times when you feel itchy and stifled but haven’t gotten desperate enough to throw a dart at a world map and does canada goose have a black friday sale buy a one way ticket to wherever it sticks.

In seven kaleidoscopic days, I rode the marine highway from Bellingham to the small fishing town of Cordova (known for its coveted Copper River salmon), a little more than halfway to the end of the line.

The trip involved three vessels: through the famously gorgeous Inside Passage on the stately Columbia (418 feet, coin operated laundry, table service restaurant), up the Gulf of Alaska to Whittier on the sturdy but pleasant Kennicott (382 feet, one of the fleet’s two oceangoing vessels) and across Prince William Sound to Cordova on the homey Aurora (235 feet, where many passengers and crew seemed to be on a first name basis). One, the 14 story Begich Towers, now houses so many of Whittier’s roughly 250 residents it’s called “the town under one roof.”

The other, the Buckner Building, has been crumbling and rusting for decades, standing like amammoth cenotaph (and tetanus farm) wedged into the wilderness. You can pass it on the way to town trailheads, appreciating the accidentally intricate, Gothic aesthetic of decay, like a negative architecture, and the evocative graffiti scrawl: “Oct. Nov. Dec. Til the revolution 2012.” Who wrote that? Whose revolution? And what did they do after 2012?

Maybe an hour’s hike away, up the Horsetail Falls Trail, you can stand far above town, looking across Passage Canal at glaciers that seem to glow, even at midday, like they’re hiding florescent blue, Buckner Building sized light bulbs beneath their curved and corrugated slabs of ice.

Show me another “just a bus route that can bring you to canada goose uk harrods a juxtaposed place like Whittier and then set sail into Prince William Sound: whale country.

Yes, I saw whales, but canada goose uk kensington parka mostly just spouts. Nothing too dramatic on the cetacean front, unless you count porpoises leaping and zigzagging alongside the Aurora between Whittier and Cordova canada goose outlet in vancouver which were glorious to behold, so I certainly do.

Again, not exactly the way I remember it. Yes, I recall hippies, but also cannery workers, a guy who’d recently been incarcerated and another guy from the Caribbean with a few joints. But, given my age and roiling mind at the time, I trust my dad’s recollections as much as, if not more than, my own.

This time brought zero ex cons (or at least any who declared themselves) but plenty of people to talk to.

There was Ed Czlapinski, a gangly, white whiskered, former alt weekly journalist, up from San Mateo, California, with his obvious conversation starters: a brass spyglass and a small patch on his canada goose outlet hoodie of a fist punching a swastika with the words “gegen Nazis” (“against Nazis”), an icon in the European punk scene. He was quick with the literary references Orwell, Pynchon, Raban and headed to Juneau for no other reason than he’s “heard interesting things.”

Over to starboard, Pip Hartle and Jacob Sumner, a vibrant looking couple, had come from London to ride to Haines, then drive around. He grew up in Oregon and, after some prodding, shyly admitted he’s the director of European operations for “a restaurant company.” Which restaurant? “Um. Chipotle. But she has a much more interesting career!”

Turns out Pip is a ceramics artist, originally from Birmingham, England, and has work for sale at the Tate Modern in London. “I canada goose jobs uk keep taking photos and thinking: ‘This does not do it justice!'” she said, gesturing out to the terrain, which has gotten wilder as we’ve cruised north, now with near vertical rock slopes covered in cedar, some seeming to grow straight out of the saltwater.