Haines and the Hammer

Welcome to Haines!

The ship arrived pretty early in the morning (well before I got up) at our first port of call – Haines. It’s a small Alaskan town – the population is about the same as the number of people on the ship.

After breakfast we wandered off the ship for a look around – it was lightly raining (our first rain of this whole holiday so far), but not enough to worry about. We checked out a few inevitable gift shops – pleased to see they had nice stuff, not the same things we’d seen in every other gift shop we’ve passed through so far in our Alaskan travels. We visited a bookshop which had a great feature – a puppy 🙂

We also stopped off for decent coffee (yay) and a cookie almost as big as the plate it was put on. Good stuff!

Then it was time for Haines’ big attraction – The Hammer Museum. Yep, a museum about hammers. But it was (surprisingly) more interesting than it might first seem. It was a small-ish cottage, full of hammers. Big ones, little ones, automated ones, decorative ones – so now I know there’s definitely more than one way to smack a nail in to a piece of wood. The great irony though, was you were unable to touch any of the hammers. That’s right – in the Hammer museum … you can’t touch this!

Having been culturally enriched, hammer-wise, we dumped out gifts from the gift shops back on the boat and headed out again for our “Deluxe Haines Tour”.

Haines is one of those pretty picture-postcard towns, almost everywhere you look you think you could be starting at the box of a jigsaw puzzle – it’s all trees and mountains and water, and cute little houses – just made for renting on to cardboard and cutting into 1000 pieces so people can try to put it back together again.

Our first proper stop was the American Bald Eagle Foundation and Raptor Centre, where we learned a bit about the local ecosystem and food chain, and also had the chance to see two of their captive bald eagles – both of whom have met with misfortune during their life and wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild.

We also met a Eurasian Eagle Owl – who was very pretty, gave the best ‘Bitch, please!’ facial expressions, and proved very difficult to photograph when in flight. I still have a lot to learn. Still, the thumbprint pictures looks nice – alas at normal size they’re quite out of focus.

Facial expression says it all

We also had the good fortune to meet the founder of the Foundation, who loves a chat, we almost literally had to be dragged off the bus for our next stop, The Haines Packing Co. It’s a local fish processing and packing/canning plant. Alas when we arrived they’d just recently finished all their processing and the next catch hadn’t yet come in, so there wasn’t an awful lot to see, other than of course more very pretty scenery.

The tour ended with a chance to sample a bit of the local fare – a simple but nice dish of smoke salmon, cream cheese, dill and lemon zest rolled into a ball. Very tasty, I’ll be steal this idea back in Sydney. It was also a good chance to get a photo or two of our little boat.

We re-boarded the boat, well ahead of our 9:00pm departure time, admiring this scenery while we waited to sail on to the next destination.

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