This Guy Spent 97 Hours On America’s Longest Ferry

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: January 5, 2023
© Paul Brady Photography/
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It may be the nightmare of a seasick person to board a ship for five consecutive days, but it is an adventurer’s dream to roam the world’s waters. Mike of DownieLive is the latter, proven by how he voluntarily got on the Alaska Marine Highway System. It is America’s longest ferry, which travels 1,300 miles from Bellingham, Washington, to Whittier, Alaska. With his team consisting of Matt and Warwick, they would bear 97 hours without cell service aboard the ferry that would take them to the icy waters of the largest state in America.

Matanuska of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system prepares to sail from Skagway, Alaska.

©Stories In Light/

Upon embarking, the trio went to get the keys to their room. Through the balcony, they watched as the ferry took off the dock and began its journey. Afterward, they explored the lounges, food court, bar, entertainment area, movie theater, and the common bathroom equipped with a washing machine. They had their first meal at the cafeteria, which includes a daily specials board.

The first day ended with the sun’s rays shining through an open pocket in the clouds and some polaroid pictures on the deck. After a night of catching up, the following morning was spent in the cafeteria. The monotony of the day was only interrupted by whale sightings. They stayed inside their rooms to do their own thing and came out to a breathtaking view of a green landscape and colorful coastal towns in one of the narrowest segments of the trip. After dinner, they ended their second day at the cozy bar the ferry offers.

Their third day began with a three-hour stop in Ketchikan, Alaska, which is the salmon capital of the world. They roamed around the Ketchikan Misty Fjords where they saw an eagle and a harbor seal, dropped by a coffee shop, and visited the Dolly’s House. They experienced intense rocking of the ferry in the afternoon, but a glimpse of whale tails saved the day. On day four, they landed on Juno, the capital city of Alaska and the second-largest city in America by area. They shared a cab with Gina, their co-passenger, and followed her to the Mendenhall Glacier, a stunning 13-mile-long block of ice seated between two mountains peeking through fogs.

Back on the ferry, Mike watched the weekly testing of emergency response and the launch of system life rafts. He, then, had a peaceful stay at the top deck, which turned into a rough afternoon of rigorous rocking. The trio made most of the waves by riding through them on the front deck. On day five, they had a half-hour stop at Yakutat, Alaska. It was a rainy day that soon morphed into a bright sun and clear skies. They spent their last day doing puzzles, watching Alaska documentaries, and strolling to the front deck. They ate their last meal and said their goodbyes to the crew. The trio spent midnight under the intense blue skies in Alaska waters.

Finally, Mike and his team disembarked at Whittier, Alaska — a town where everyone lives in a singular building. The three of them caught a glacier tour that took them to see stunning views of glaciers including the one measuring 8 miles deep and 1 mile across, wedged between two mountains, made more special by the waterfalls beside it. Somehow, it was the best way to end the trip — a magnificent view of a huge block of ice, encapsulating the icy nature of Alaska, with the three of them side by side and smiling wide.

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The Featured Image

The ship MV Hubbard docked in Ketchikan, Alaska.
© Paul Brady Photography/

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