Day 5 was an EARLY day. As in we had to be at our race briefing at 6:00am early – so not Disney early, but. 😛
I’d heard that Sitka was beautiful to sail into, so I was at first sad that I wasn’t going to be able to see any of it, but even before 6 we were able to see some of the prettiness.
At the race briefing, John and Jenny set out how it would work. We broke into teams of 2 or 3 and were given a map and a list of 5 checkpoints. We were to go to the checkpoints in order and take pictures at the designated point. The first team to finish with all 5 checkpoint pictures in the correct order would win. It should be 4 miles or so. I teamed up with Megan, and while we were waiting for the word that the tender was ready (there’s no big dock in Sitka – just tons of little ones – so we had to ride tenders (lifeboats) to a small dock at the town) we mapped out our route. Soon Mark (the ship officer who always came and got us when it was time) came and we got on the little boat and headed for Sitka.
John gave us one clue – we needed to start by going over the bridge (well, he pointed to the direction and it was obvious what we had to do) – and then started us. When we started to get to where the road was leaving ground, Megan told me I would have to go alone. She was afraid of bridges. I told her, no, we were supposed to do it together and I’d help her across the bridge.
We decided that she would be on the road side of the sidewalk and I’d be on the outside of the sidewalk, and I held her hand. I offered to sing, but she declined. 🙂 Slowly but surely we made it (it was actually good that we’re both teachers because I was able to draw on that to help her) to checkpoint 1 – Mt. Edgecumbe High School
Then we had to go back across the bridge, so we did the same thing. Here we both are on the bridge
And here is Sitka as viewed from the bridge
It’s such a pretty little town. And probably because of the lack of a big dock, it’s not on a lot of cruise itineraries (most go to Skagway instead) so it hasn’t been all done up for the tourists and overrun with the same jewelers you find in Caribbean ports.
Anyway, it was time to head to checkpoint 2, St. Michael’s Cathedral
And then out to the totem park to find a monument inside of it.
Oh there it is!
And then it was time to go and find the Princess’s grave. We followed the map towards the cemetery, and ended up on a VERY residential street. We asked some guys in a driveway if there was a cemetery up the hill and they helpfully said “Other runners went that way.” So up we went. I noticed a sign saying something about sacred ground, and we saw a bit of a trail up
So we decided to explore. We harbored no illusions of winning. In fact, we had seen the military guy team who seemed like they were taking a second lap for fun. (We later learned that they somehow missed the totem checkpoint and had to go back, so their 4-ish miles turned into almost 8.) What we found was pretty
But I had read Sunny and Wil’s blog while getting ready for the cruise, and I knew that nothing up here looked right. I spotted some caps and started heading that way when I heard a Sitka resident asking them if they were looking for the memorial. She told them the right way, and I looked up at Megan who had heard also and was coming down the hill. We shouted our thanks to her as we ran by and made it to checkpoint 4
where Jenny took our picture. We then all headed back (we weren’t the last ones, but Jenny moved around the course to get pictures all around) towards the start/finish.
I opted to take the tender back to the ship to get changed for my excursion. The previous night at dinner, John commented that the mats in the elevator didn’t have the days of the week on them. Apparently this was normal on Holland America – that the elevator mats are changed every day and list the day of the week. Well, I don’t know if they just don’t have enough for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but…
I got changed and tendered back over to wander around Sitka and wait for my excursion. Some sights…
The excursion is VERY picture heavy, so I’ll make that its own post. 🙂