One of my autumn rituals is to go up Harbor Mountain to see how the fall is progressing at higher altitudes. It seems like fall is a little late on the mountain top this year. But the berries are fine. Continue reading Fall is late this year on Harbor Mountain.
Living in Alaska, with my window by the sea, I mark the turning of the seasons. I never let a solstice or equinox pass without some observation, a bonfire or some other ritual. But seasons turn on their own times, not always in line with equinox or solstice. Spring came to Sitka in February this year with an early greening and no late frost. And … Continue reading Summer to Fall.
From mid-February until early May I have been watching master carver Tommy Joseph create a house pole that will be part of the museum at the Department of Interior’s headquarters in Washington. The pole took shape at Tommy’s skilled hands in the shop at the Sitka National Historical Park. I stopped by the shop on my way to or from my daily walk and I … Continue reading A House Post for Washington.
An essay on returning to Sitka: When I first moved to Sitka relatives and friends, especially relatives, would ask “when are you coming back to civilization.” Back more than 35 years ago you could forgive them for asking that question. Often they could not get calls through to us, the circuits were all busy, especially like days like today, Father’s Day. When they did get … Continue reading …coming back to civilization.
Since January I have been watching Steve Brown build a Tlingit ocean going dugout canoe out of a single red cedar log at Sitka National Historical Park. Steve has been working with “apprentices” Tommy Joseph, T.J. Young, Jerrod Galanin and Nick Galanin. What an amazing group of “apprentices,” each a master in his own right. I have been documenting it almost daily on Facebook and … Continue reading Log Rolling in Pursuit of an Oceangoing Canoe
Sunday, April 11, Sitka and the Southeast Alaska Women in Fisheries held their blessing of the fleet at the Crescent Harbor shelter. It’s one of those community gatherings that, in a way, define our seafaring town. First some sea songs, then prayers and hymns for the safety of those at sea and for the sea itself. Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things … Continue reading Blessing of the Fleet, 2016
I saw my chance and took it. During a day of windy snow squalls I saw a break of sun and blue skies. By the time I got on my sweater, boots, gloves and ear band and got to the Science Center parking the sucker hole has closed and I took my walk in a snow squall with bits of sun poking through. The Sitka … Continue reading Winter Arrives Before Fall Finishes its Work
Here are more pics from Raven Radio’s Stardust Ball, 2015. To see more pictures click on tranches one and two from this year. And for a “Blast from the Past” you can click on the 2014 Stardust Ball Tranches One, Two and Three! Continue reading Stardust Ball 2015, Take 3
Here is the second tranche of pics from Raven Radio’s 2015 Stardust Ball at the Odess Theater. Click here to see Tranches One and Three. To see pics from the 2014 Stardust Ball click here, here and here Continue reading Raven Radio’s Stardust Ball, 2015 — take two
Halloween night brought out Sitkans in their finest costumes. Many made it to Raven Radio’s Stardust Ball at the Odess Theater on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus. Here is the first tranche of pictures from the ball. I have 3 postings, 90 pictures in all. You can click on the link to see tranches two and three. My job was to wander around the hall … Continue reading Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Heart of Man? — Stardust Ball 2015
This afternoon on my walk I encountered a rare and endangered species in Sitka, an Alaska Marine Highway ship. The state has proposed a reduced ferry schedule to save money. The schedule includes laying up three ferries all next summer. The state will have to pay for insurance and a skeleton crew to lay up those ferries. Money spent that will provide NO service to … Continue reading Endangered Species Spotted in Sitka
Alaska Day 2015, rain may make the pictures look dull but it does nothing to slow the celebration. It’s October, some people theorize that the Russians chose to pull out because it was October. Continue reading Alaska Day, 2015
“Tomorrow we are spawning salmon, do you want to come and take pictures.” I had never heard salmon be the object of the verb to spawn but I understood what August meant. So at 9 in the morning I was at the Sitka Sound Science Center, with my camera, to see how people spawned salmon. I do not know the technical terms but I divided … Continue reading Spawning Day
Today I paused during my walk to watch Holland America’s Westerdam weigh anchor and sail past the mouth of Indian River on its way to Seattle and asked “Will this be the ship that carries me away?” It’s a question my grandfather asked as a boy in Ireland. An uncle named Morrison had sailed away to America to make his fortune. When he came back … Continue reading Will this be the Ship…?
Saturday we took an Allen Marine Tour from Crescent Harbor. They are offered every Saturday for folks not on a cruise ship. We went to St. Lazaria with Captain Steve Campbell. On the way to and from St. Lazaria Steve found us several whales feeding, they were all around us. The sun hit some of them so we had whalebows. The spout refracted the light, separating the … Continue reading Surrounded by Acres of Whales
On Saturday’s Allen Marine Tours Cruise we not only saw whales (Click here to see whales.) The reason for the trip was to go to St. Lazaria Island, a national wildlife refuge. It is a beautiful volcanic island sculpted by waves and wind. While we saw plenty of birds most of the species have fledged their chicks and have gone back out to sea. But … Continue reading St Lazaria and Other Delights.
It was a small town festival and I was beginning to wonder if my recommendation to a friend that Sitka was a great place to live was going to blow up in my face. I mean, I’ve lived here for 35 years. I get bobbing for fish heads followed by a fish head toss. But I was afraid that my friend who just moved here … Continue reading Small Town Festival
On July 5 we took the Sitka Conservation Society cruise to Frosty Reef. A very low tide happened at a convenient time (10 AM) on a Sunday so the Society took us out to look at the reef to see things that normally would be covered by water. The day was beautiful and we enjoyed both the scenery and the creatures in the zone. One … Continue reading Frosty Reef
My favorite Fourth of July event in Sitka is the water fight between the Stika Fire Department and Coast Guard. A pony keg is set in the middle of the street and the teams use hoses to move the keg beyond the goal. They also do a lot of spraying the crowds. This year they added foam. Everyone gets wet. For first timers it can … Continue reading July 4th Water Fight!
Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear is, perhaps, one of the most innovative recycling project I’m aware of. The Alaska Pulp Company mill closed in 1993 leaving behind two huge clarifier tanks that were part of its waste control system. They are now the heart of a bear rescue center. The Fortress of the Bear takes orphaned bruins that would normally be shot by Fish and … Continue reading Fortress of the Bear
June 23, 2015 was a beautiful Sitka summer day. We walked the docks, went on the Sitka Conservation Society Salmon cruise watching different salmon hunters, including an eagle sitting on a branch that hardly looked like it could hold her. She dove after a fish that jumped in front of Redoubt Falls and missed. A gill netter, perhaps had better luck in Deep Inlet. The … Continue reading A Sitka Summer Day (June 23, 2015)
On Saturday I went up to Harbor Mountain. The road was re-opened just the day before. I could write 12,000 words but I would rather post 12 pictures. Continue reading Harbor Mountain, June 2015
Wednesday was Earth Day but much of the celebration is happening in Sitka this weekend. Today (after school) we had the 14th annual Parade of Species. Kids dress up as their favorite animal or plant to crawl, slither, run or cross pollinate down Lincoln Street. At the beginning of the parade route representatives of the 4 H club and the Sitka Conservation Society interview the … Continue reading Earth Day Sitka, 2015
The first time ever I saw the aurora we were with our friends Dave and Carol Lam at Suzi’s dad’s cabin on the St. Croix River in Minnesota. We were far from the city lights. We were watching a lunar eclipse. We had just come back from a summer session at Soochow University in Taiwan and were thinking of things Chinese. Carol looked up … Continue reading The Dragon Ate the Moon