|Alaska Log #5
June 22, 1999
(Click on each photo to see it full size)
After a thousand miles, this is our favorite town on the trip so
far. A real town with lots of local pride, Petersburg is devoted to fishing, not tourists
like Ketchikan. Refreshing to have no cruise ships at all, and no T-shirt shops. Nice
people, as always in these little Alaska towns, with lots of Scandinavian blood. Founded
in 1898 by a Norwegian immigrant who came via Tacoma; the center of town is the Sons of
Norway Hall. Signe 'Ya-Sure-Ya-Betcha' Twardowski, née Ramsten, feels right at home. We
even met a woman named Signe and also saw a fishboat named Signe Lynn, which is Signe T's
Example of nice
people in a small town: Jackie forwarded a package of mail, but we couldn't track it down.
Needed to know who handles UPS deliveries, so we asked someone at random. "Oh, sure!
That's Joe over at City Cargo and Taxi. He does all the deliveries. Just go to the office
and walk in. If he's not there, pick up the mike and call him on the CB. That's what we
all do." Worked like a charm. We love small towns.
As we were coming into town yesterday aboard 'Raven', we saw six
(yes, six) bald eagles in a group, fishing a tide line right in to the harbor. Turns out
six eagles are nothing around here. This morning at Eagles' Roost on the edge of town
along the beach, we saw at least 20 eagles perched in trees overlooking the narrows,
waiting for the next tide change to bring in the fish.
Milestones: first whale breach and first
iceberg. Two days ago, we were treated to a big humpback throwing itself entirely clear of
the water, then falling back on its side with a tremendous splash. Just like on Discovery
Channel. Then today we saw our first iceberg float by the harbor. We're definitely in
glacier country now, and in a couple of days expect to be in Tracy Arm among thousands of
We're docked in a big marina, but at 64 feet are just about the
smallest boat here. Everyone else is a big fishboat, mostly trawlers and purse seiners.
All are getting ready for the big salmon opening in a day or so, so they have little
interest in a mere tourist sailboat.
Today is the summer solstice and we're at almost 57 degrees north
latitude (Tacoma is 47 N), so the days are getting looong. The sun rises at 4 a.m. and
sets at 9:30 p.m., Alaska Time, for about 17½ hours of sunlight. This also means the
fishboat crews can start working noisily on their gear at insanely early hours!
Signe and I are a
few days ahead on the cruise plan (but, hey, who's counting?) although we're way behind
plan on book reading. We've only read about eight books each (Signe is re-reading the
Captain Horatio Hornblower series), which leaves over 30 books in each of our reading
baskets. Gotta get reading!
The only disappointment is that the weather has been pretty poor for
the last week or two constantly overcast, with frequent drizzle and the
weather faxes we receive several times a day by radio don't promise much change for a
while. Still, we're optimistic for July and August.
Attached is a photo of Patty Ecklebe and Signe as they're about to board the
chartered floatplane (taxied right up to our aft swimstep!) for our tour of Misty Fjords
National Park. Then one, taken from the plane, of the Chickamin River Valley in Misty
Fjords, just to show what big and beautiful country this is.
Cheers . . . Jan
PS: Should we send more photos? Or are they too big for emails? And
what do you want us to write about next time?