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Great overview of region
This was the first excursion we did in Alaska and I thought it was a great way to start our Alaska experience. Our pilot Harry was great, very interesting and thoughtful for our comfort and safety.
Booked through Holland America and well worth it. Our pilot, Larry, went out of his way to put a nervous passenger (me!) instantly at ease and provided an unforgettable two hour trip which my husband and I would highly recommend and would repeat in a heartbeat if ever in Ketchikan. Fabulous scenery, wonderful background narration by Larry (which included a great selection of music) plus great chat from Larry. Landing in the Fjord was so special and tranquil. (PS. Larry gives great hugs too!)
Amazing Float Plane Trip. Very accomodating for handicapped person
The float plane ride over the Misty Fjords was incredible. One amazing view after another. Our pilot/guide, Mike Hudgins, was very informative and executed a flawless water landing on a large lake, where several of us got out and walked on the plane floats. A must do for anyone visiting Ketchikan.
I am handicapped. I walk with two crutches. Mike and his crew were very helpful and accommodating dealing with my handicap and enabling me to board and exit the plane, allowing me to enjoy this incredible experience.
Beautiful Trip Courtesy of Mike and Taquan Air!
This excursion was fantastic so leave behind your fear, your land-bound fellow travelers, your shopping bags stuffed with cheap apparel and see unspoiled nature before it is sold back to Russia. You'll see trees, and lounging seals and teal water that will make you put down your camera. Just sign up now and then come enjoy.
Before traveling, we tried to determine at what time of day to go. We had unusually sunny weather, but anytime you can see a decent distance will be rewarding. The company is concerned for their guests and so they will plan a flight that is both safe and will best allow them to show off the landscape.
Our pilot was Mike, and we appreciated his friendly and subdued manner. He left the landscape do most of the talking as he navigated us up toward the low-hanging cloud layer in and out of the sunlight. He took us on a wonderful flight over Ketchican and Misty Fjords that produced memories and photos we won't forget. Plus, he let me fly the plane for a little while and after checking everyone was buckled in, let me do a barrel roll before buzzing a cruise ship. Someone almost hit us with a daquiri or pina colada on my second pass but they were too frightened to aim properly.
Just kidding. Mike was a responsible pilot and did his best to make us comfortable. Now, for those of you who don't like rough flights, neither do I. That said, there may be bumpiness. The take off and landing part is actually fairly easy. It is hard to tell when the pontoons actually lift off and landing involves almost no braking, (unless you landed in a swimming pool.) Also, if you do have some sort of problem there are about 400 places to land, unlike planes with wheels which don't do as well landing on water.
Once airborne, you are unlikely to experience the big drops of a jet aircraft, but then again the plane does move. If the potential of small turbulence this is going to ruin your trip or someone else's, stay in your cabin or hotel room. In fact, that could be slightly uncomfortable, too so just stay home or try some other calmer or safer state like Kansas or something. Or you can suck it up and be the envy of your friends when you show them a picture of your hands on the yoke, horizon upside down with the caption: "I just want to you to know we're all counting on you. So good luck." Again just kidding. Mike flies the plane. You operate the camera and hope he had the fish.
So yes, the ride can be mildly bumpy, but it is totally worth it. Do keep in mind that there are things out of their control. For example, if the pontoon is attacked by a shark or if the weather is bad. Our trip was diminished by slow and inconsiderate guests. This isn't ship cabin fever talking: there was a family of six with two people in wheelchairs and they moved faster and more efficiently than some of the others in the group. Some people showed up late for the shuttle while others didn't show up at all. So we got to the airport...seaport...aquaport, well whatever we got there late. Even so, the fools who had gone up earlier had too so they were just getting back and left us no time time to land. Even though we were in danger of missing our departure from Ketchikan, we watched from the bus as a bunch of half-drunken hags, more suntan than human, stood around outside taking pictures while staff with forced smiles tried to corral them on board. It looked like clowns herding rodeo cattle, except the cattle were wearing the makeup.
Anyway, we made it. And it was beautiful and a great experience, despite not being able to land. And although I didn't wrench the controls from Mike and flyover Creek Street screaming the Top Gun theme song out the window, I really enjoyed this and would definitely go again.
A must do once in your lifetime. Really gives a perspective of the Fjords and the Alaskan Wilderness. Trip logistics were great and Taquan Air was very professional. My wife is afraid of flying in small planes but she really enjoyed it. Especially enjoyed getting out on the pontoons and smelling the fresh Alaskan air and looking out over the water. Pilot was excellent and it was fun flying in the Beaver. Takeoff and landing was very smooth. Narration was excellent and the plane was very well maintained.
The only glitch was that our party had tall people and the seats behind the pilot had less visibility of the horizon due to the lower windows. We had to sit there due to weight balancing and safety. My wife's view in the 3rd row was much better. However, it was still an incredible experience.