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
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…?
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
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
When Bald Eagles encounter problems, often caused by interaction with humans, the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center patches them up, helps them regain strength in flight barns, and releases them The Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center, in its first release of 2015, set free four eagles today. There were supposed to be five but one failed its pre-flight physical. Precious-Vicious is a juvenile who came to the … Continue reading Eagle Release
Three weeks ago I was in the Amazon tropical rain forest. Now I am home in my own Tongass temperate rain forest.. Both are green, both have lots of water, both have abundant life, both are essential lungs for our planet, although the scope of the Amazon is mind boggling. I have posted lots of pictures from the Amazon recently (click on the links on … Continue reading Rain Forest to Rain Forest
I follow the NOAA Aurora website that shows images of where the Aurora is expected in the next hour. A couple of days ago I read about a magnetic storm heading our way. I kept my eye on the NOAA page. At about 1:30 the website told me what was coming so I headed out to Old Sitka, beyond Sitka’s lights and stayed until about … Continue reading Old Sitka, November 15, 3 AM, 24 Degrees
It’s the turning of the season, Winter Solstice. Living in the North it really is midwinter, and while we have a lot of cold ahead the returning sun presents the promise of spring. Because we are closest to the sun these days the tides are particularly high and low. Sitting on my perch at the edge of the Pacific I get a ringside seat of … Continue reading Winter Solstice, Sitka, Dec 21, 2013
The holiday season has come to Sitka. The city’s decorations went up just before Thanksgiving (allowing the electrical crews to have some time off on Friday). I did the Good Day Radio Show on Thanksgiving Morning and enjoyed seeing the decorations as I drove to the station. Friday we went on the Gallery Walk looking at work of local artists. One of the things I … Continue reading Sitka’s Holiday Market, 2013.
Fall has come to Sitka. I arrived in a storm, typical for the season. Holland America canceled the last two cruise ships of the season because winds and seas made it difficult to put a pilot on or take a pilot off a ship. The view from my window was dramatic with fronts moving in and out, sun occasionally breaking through the clouds, rainbows and … Continue reading Fall in Sitka, 2013
2013 may be a record year for pink (humpback) salmon. On August 1 Thousands of Salmon wait for the tide to turn at the mouth of Starigavan Creek before they begin their final fatal swim that holds the promise for the future. Other pictures taken at Indian River, that is where the fish are spawning in the gravel and the Sitka Sound Science Center Hatchery where … Continue reading Pink Salmon Run, Sitka, Alaska, August 2013