back from alaska

September 16, 2009

semiaquatic bear "very rare" The trip to Se Alaska was like stepping out of my normal life for a couple weeks.  My father who does Aluminum boat repair and fabrication was going up to do some work on a friends boat and fish.  He asked me if I wanted to tag-along, of course I said yes.

sums up transportation in SE Alaska

My fathers friend owns a guide business specializing in fishing charters, whale watching, and brown bear tours.  I got to help out in all of these areas nearly every day.  I helped as a deck hand on fishing charters and on whale watching excursions.  My favorite however was helping with the bear tours.  Walking through the forest takes on a different feel when there are 3 bears for every square mile.  The island is teaming with brown bears, having the highest concentration in the world.

silver salmon extravaganza

When we weren’t working we were fishing, Halibut and silver Salmon were the main targets.  We fished for Halibut mainly in the bays and deep water.  For Salmon though we had to anchor in inlets and take zodiacs up river to fish from the bank.  The dramatic changes in tide (25 ft) and the proclivity for outboard motors to not start made for some interesting outings.  Chichagoff  island is one of those places where you can be only 10 miles from the center of town and be completely screwed if something goes father catches giant fish then lays by it and pets it (true story)

We stayed in the largest village on the island, Hoonah population of about 800.  It was a nice little community made up mostly of natives (Tlingit) and people of Norwegian ancestry.  Almost everyone right up to the Chief of police were extremely friendly and welcoming.  The experience of being a “local” is something that you can’t buy even if you wanted to. I got as close possible to that and feel really fortunate to have been able to spend the short amount of time that I did, fully immersed in the life of a very interesting  Alaskan town.

village of hoonah in lower right "hoonahlulu"

what, don't you fish with a gun?


One Response to “back from alaska”

  1. Mom said

    Beautiful pictures. My friend who was raised in Alaska is so jealous that you were able to spend time there. She misses everything about living there.

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