The George Inlet Lodge Crab Feast in Ketchikan, Alaska was an amazing tour which ended with one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. While on a cruise to Alaska’s Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park, we chose a shore excursion at our port stop in Ketchikan because (1) it involved a trip into the beautiful Alaskan wilderness and (2) it included food…..great food! Alaskan Dungeness Crab! Named the “Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast,” the tour includes a boat ride deep into the George Inlet just outside Ketchikan where we got an up close and personal look at the way Dungeness crabs are harvested.
After a short bus ride from Ketchikan, we boarded an excursion boat at the George Inlet Lodge and sailed up the inlet to a bay where crab pots had been placed. Along the way we passed an old abandoned salmon cannery and were entertained by bald eagles who flew to the boat to snatch fish tossed in the air by our guide, Austi. Austi was a very knowledgeable guide and a skilled “eagle whisperer” who told us, as a Colorado native, it took her a while to get her version of an eagle’s whistle perfected so that the birds would be drawn to the boat. At the fishing site, she pulled up one of the pots, which are really wire traps baited with a whole salmon. We were amazed to see that the trap contained nearly a dozen crabs who had devoured the bait completely after it was placed in the water only three hours earlier. Austi was a wealth of information about the various varieties of crab found in Alaska and about how they are caught.
After a pleasant, short cruise past lush forests and scenic mountains, we arrived back at the Lodge for the highlight of the trip—a feast of endless servings of Dungeness crab legs. The meal started with a nice green salad and then as many plates of crab legs as we could eat. The first plate of crab showed up and had one small potato. I really had no interest in the starter, side or dessert. I wanted crab and lots of it! This was my first time eating Dungeness crab and I found it to be really sweet and delicious. The meal ended with a tempting cheesecake topped with Alaskan blueberry sauce. But by the time I had downed several crab legs, I was too full to eat much of cheesecake.
Our table started out looking so formal and civilized with white table cloths, but after having many crab legs it turned into messy pile of shells. There was even a contest to see which table could build the highest pile of crab leg shells. We didn’t win. Maybe we didn’t try that hard because we were just too busy eating.
The entire half day excursion was truly an incredible experience and I’d recommend it to anyone who is lucky enough to experience a trip to Alaska.