On our trip to Alaska this past summer, we did a Riverboat Discovery boat tour, and it was AWESOME! It was a three-hour tour (so of course I had the Gilligan’s Island theme song in my head all afternoon haha) and it was so much cooler than words can describe. But, I’ll tell you about it anyways :p
Here’s one of their riverboats (not the one we were on, ours was larger)
We sat on the top deck of the riverboat, on the left side and that seemed to be the side with the most action. The guide was very funny and engaging. He told us about the history of the area and industry, and they had video clips too.
After we went a ways down the river, we stopped for a seaplane demonstration. This happened on the left side of the boat. The pilot of the seaplane gave a little talk, and then we watched him take off and land the plane. How cool! Oh, and then he did the demo again; even better.
So we continued down the river a little more and heard more stories, and then started talking about the Iditarod and sled dogs. And then… you could hear the dogs barking… We stopped in front of Trail Breaker Kennel, where David Monson had a microphone on shore and talked about Susan Butcher, and the Iditarod. He then demonstrated the sled dogs training methods. We saw a bunch of puppies too!
We drove a little further down the river stopped and talked awhile, and then… OH LOOK, caribou! (on the right of the boat) I got super excited and went over to take pictures, but then realized they were fenced in and not wild. Still neat to see up close though.
We turned around and traveled back the same way we came. We saw a demonstration (on the left) of the traditional way of catching and drying salmon, and then got off the boat to tour the Chena Indian Village.
Our guide in the village was excellent too. We learned about the meaning behind different patterns and types of animal hide used for clothing, and they modeled this gorgeous parka, that was very intricate.
We learned about the different animals that were hunted, and food storage, and so much more!
There were also sled dogs at the village and someone there answering questions anyone had about them. AND, David Monson was there too, signing his & Susan’s book, Granite. We were SO excited, and bought a copy of the book there and had him sign it for us. He was so nice, and it was wonderful to meet him.
After the village, we headed back on the boat. They served some salmon spread on a cracker for us to try (which they also sold on board) and that was really good too. We “met” some people who live along the river on the way too, and heard stories about some of them, as they would stand in their yard and wave to us.
Overall, this trip was fantastic! The captain and crew were so friendly and helpful. The entire trip was so perfectly orchestrated, I was in awe. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone traveling to the Fairbanks area, and would definitely enjoy going again myself sometime in the future.