Sitka was a “bucket list” item for me. There’s a few reasons why, but it boils down to watching The Proposal a few years back. Of course, I found out that the Sitka scenes were actually filmed in New England…but still had to explore.
We had a late start getting off the ship, but were surprised when the gangway wasn’t full of people. As we disembarked we saw the Serenade of the Seas (another Radience class) parked next to us, and we walked toward shore…
Well, there is a bus that takes you to Sitka, and it had a 45-minute wait! The two ships together meant the port was twice as busy. Luckily it also meant we had to to explore, and Owen found an absolute treat: Huckleberry licorice! They have officially ruined Twizzlers for me because this was SOOO GOOD!
We boarded the bus to downtown Sitka and we’re discussing what we wanted to do. Cassidy suggested that we should try to see bears 🐻 today, but all the excursions were sold out or couldn’t get us back in time. We tried seeing if we would have another opportunity but things were looking grim.
We had been warned that if we do see a 🐻 on a trail, that we need to make ourselves look “big” and to make noise to drive them off. But if you see baby cubs then you need to disappear because Mama Bear will protect her cubs. And Marie is no different—she saw her “cubs” wouldn’t get to see the bears and swooped into action, calling every taxi 🚕 in Sitka and found one that would take us to the bear rescue AND wait there while we explored before taking us back to downtown. A few minutes later our taxi arrives and we are off to Fortress of the Bear.
Fortress of the Bear is a bear rescue in Sitka where they repurposed an abandoned water treatment facility (concrete tanks make good bear encampments) to rescue orphaned bears, nurse them to health, and give them a humane and easy-going life. They do not receive government funding and are a donation-based non-profit, so they also use the natural location to provide viewing areas for tourists and charge a nominal fee (which is a more than fair price for admission). They are also accepting donations (hint hint) where you can also buy the bears fruit, freeze pops, tires, etc.
On our taxi 🚕 ride back into Sitka, I kept seeing these lovely pink flowers which we (err, Megan) identified as Fireweed. It grows sporadically and we’re seen it around Alaska this far but it was a little tough to get pictures in the moving car.
We had a little time left in Sitka and we wanted to eat at another local restaurant. Ur taxi driver Mary recommended Bayview Restaurant because it had good food, good beer, and (shockingly 😱) a view of the bay. It was another restaurant with an interior hallway to other shops—which we figured is more for the wintertime.
Our group split off after our meal—Megan and I stayed to finish our beer while the others checked out the historic Bishop’s House. We all then boarded shuttles back to port, picked up more Huckleberry licorice (because why not!) and boarded the ship. 🛳