I found out about the Island Wings flight seeing tour on the Cruise Critics forum, where it gets rave reviews. We were fortunate to book a spot for our arrival morning in Ketchikan – and we couldn’t have had a more perfect day. There were some clouds, but no rain. Michelle, the owner and pilot, said this was perfect flying weather. We certainly agree, after our fantastic experience.
Upon arrival at the small Island Wings dock, we checked in and left our backpacks in the office. Our adventure was about to begin … (Another creature from the deep; Anyone remember the X-Files episode, “Ice,” where Mulder & Scully investigated the mysterious deaths of Alaskan researchers who discovered parasitic organisms in the ice?)
Lady Esther, a beautifully maintained DeHavilland Beaver:
There were five of us going on the trip, plus Michelle as our pilot. Lou was given the co-pilot’s seat for the first half of the flight and he enjoyed it. The windows in Lady Esther were impeccably maintained, so it was fairly easy to get good photos without much effort. Michelle does ask that you are careful and avoid knocking your lens against the windows. For this reason, I used my small pocket camera, but it did just fine.
We lifted off over Ketchikan Harbor, and flew towards Misty Fjords. Michelle provided interesting narration, and also gave us time just to enjoy the wonders we were seeing. We landed on a small island, where we all got off the plane, stretched our legs, and posed for Michelle as she took our photos.
The photos don’t need any narration, but one comment about our landing out in Misty Fjords; Michelle told us an inexperienced pilot might have difficulties when the water is so still, and the reflections so perfect. Fortunately, she is very experienced and our landing was smooth! Also, you can see a comparison of the Wilderness Discoverer to the much larger Island Princess as we do a fly by on our departure and return.
By the time we’d picked up our bags after arriving back at Island Wings, Michelle already had the next group lining up and getting into Lady Esther. We waved goodbye, as there were some of our fellow passengers onboard this trip as well.
If you are ever in Ketchikan, we’d highly recommend a tour with Island Wings. It was a highlight of our trip, and that’s saying a lot! After having such an amazing day un-cruising through Misty Fjords, seeing it from the air added to the magic.