Friday, August 07, 2009

Morning is breaking

Downtown Sitka awakens across the channel from Japonski Island as Arrowhead looms in the background.

Any port at sea

ANB Harbor shelters many of Sitka's commercial fishing boats. It is located downtown, right across from the Pioneer Bar, where many of the captains and crew school up around their beer to complain about low prices or not enough fish, and especially the growth of the charter fishing fleet. Tourists are also known to gather there to see what commercial fishermen look like.

From the North

Here's the view coming to Sitka from the northwest. Alaska Airlines provides twice-daily jet service to Juneau and Anchorage, and the same to Seattle. During the summer, the flights increase to three each way.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rescuers of the lost

A U. S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over St. Michael's Orthodox Church during the Fourth of July parade this year.

Monday, August 03, 2009

(Remember, if you would like to see a larger image of any of these photos, just click on the image, and when finished viewing, click on the "back" button to return to the blog.)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Governor Palin on Alaska Day

Governor (now former Governor) Sarah Palin attended the Alaska Day flag-raising ceremony at Castle Hill in 2007, as have most governors since Statehood.

Last year, she was busy out of state, and was unable to attend.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sail away

The cruise ship Carnaval Spirit heads down Chatham Straits towards Juneau. Many of the ships won't be returning to Southeast Alaska next year due in part to a depressed economy, but also to the cruise lines indignance over a $50 head tax per visitor passed by a voter referendum to raise money to fund cruise related harbor projects.
For now, bargains abound as ships that leave port with empty cabins get 100% of nothing.

Harbor reflections

Crescent Harbor, Sitka

Smoke break

A couple of crew members share a moment on deck as they head out for a seine fish opening.

Guardians of the sea

A small boater heads out to sea, knowing that if he runs into serious trouble, the U. S. Coast Guard stands ready to rescue him.

Their motto "We have to go out, but we don't have to come back."

Not too close!

Grandson Max watches warily as we approach a large iceberg with a heart shaped opening

This year's Christmas Card

My son's father-in-law, Dr. Phil Bearsdlee of Petersburg, took us on a three-day excursion between Juneau and his home port.

We cruised among giant melting icebergs at the head of Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm.


Looked like a cat to me. Was covered with seagulls sunning on its back.

To the beach

Son Sam takes our grandchildren Max and Kinsey for a run to the beach to look for various flotsam, jetsam and critters under the rocks.

Mending his own business

A seine boat crew member endures the tedious job of finding and repairing holes in the large purse seine used in corralling thousands of salmon in one set.


Crew members work on thousands of feet of seine nets in preparation for the next seine fish opening.

Small fish in a big pond

It is hard to capture the sheer magnitude of Tracy Arm with a photograph, but if you'll keep in mind that the sailboat dwarfed by the mountains behind, is approximatey forty feet in length.

Drift ice

A mile from the face of Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm, a group of small icebergs floats down towards Stephens Passage.

A little less glacier, a little more ocean

Giant chunks of ice cascade off the face of South Sawyer Glacier into the frigid headwaters of Tracy Arm.

Alpha Mail

A bull sea lion communicates by bellowing what sounds like a horn from an old Model T.

Puppy love

Two young sea lions rest on the beach south of Admiralty Island, probably waiting for their mother to bring them some tasty seafood.

Sitka Sound

Once called Norfolk Sound by early British sailors. Every time I'm on a boat fishing or whale watching, I imagine what it must have been like for those early explorers who came here without any modern equipment, and often had to learn where the rocks were by the Braille method.

Checking the wind

A lone para-sailer readies his chute for a wild ride off Harbor Mountain, just above Sitka, with Mt. Edgecumbe in the distance.


After a full day of cruising, we anchored in Gambier Bay on the south end of Admiralty Island.

Not waiting his turn

A humpback whale nonchalantly dives under a passing tug and barge carrying cargo up Stephens Passage between Petersburg and Juneau.

Ruffled feathers

I don't think he liked my flash attachment.

Bear foot, but not pregnant

One of the two brother bears at the Fortress of the Bear in Sitka, shows off his size 32 paw.

Mendenhall Glacier

Over near Juneau, my other stomping grounds and hometown, Mendenhall Glacier quietly retreats up the mountain side into the Juneau Icefield.

Twenty miles or so south, another glacier, the Taku, is advancing and threatens to close off the mouth of the Taku river.

Coastal beauty

During fishing off Biorka Island, about fifteen miles from downtown Sitka, a view of a couple of islands framing distant clouds demanded space on my camera's flash card.

In the trough

Mt. Edgecumbe looms in the background as this charter fishing boat slips into partial view in the trough of a wave passing between our boats.

Spotted in mid-flight

Bald eagles can almost turn on a dime when they spot an edible object in the water below. This one was heading right for us when something caught his ey.

Loafers and fishes

My father-in-law, Pete Karras and yours truly claim bragging rights, along with other family members who took part in a gray morning's fishing. Six kings and nine silver (coho) salmon line the fish cleaning barge deck.

Corks on the deck

The seine skiff operator awaits the next set as his fellow crewmen unload the net after surrounding a school of salmon with their purse seine.

Check out this site for more photos and a description of this method of commercial fishing.

Different kinds of fishing

A salmon troller drags his lines in the distance as a pod of humbacks prepare to dive for their dinner.

A whale of a meal

One more shot of a group of bubble net feeders.

Double Header

A pair of humpbacks dive for the bottom, accompanied by at least ten others; all of whom surface five minutes later in a bubble net feed.

Bubble bath

Humpback whales burst through the surface with mouths full of sea life in a maneuver known as bubble net feeding.

Visit the following website for better photos and very interesing information about this phenomenonal display of aquatic teamwork.

All to ourselves

Beaver Lake trail hikers cool off with a skiff ride in a row boat available to the public.

Follow the arrows

A boat from Sitka's fishing fleet heads out of the harbor and a sailboat in through the breakwater built by the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers to reduce damage in the harbors caused by storm activity.


Modern military and costumed performers stand at attention after the U. S. flag replaces the Russian flag during the reenactment of the 1867 flag ceremony that brought Alaska into ownership by the United States.

Hail to the Gov

Sarah Palin attended the 2007 Alaska Day reenactment of the 1867 flag-raising which occurred after Alaska was purchased from Russia. During the ceremony, just before the sun came out, a hailstorm dumped on Castle Hill.

I'm sailing....I'm a sailor

Keith Greba and guests enjoy a day on Sitka Sound on his sailboat, the Pearl.

Island Paradise

Biorka Island, about fifteen miles from downtown Sitka, is the site of an FAA facility that monitors aviation in the area.

Wave goodbye

A seiner heads home after the end of the Sitka Sac Roe Fishery in early April.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Just minutes from downtown Sitka is Harbor Mountain Road, built during the Depression during the military build up prior to WWII.

At the top, after a steep, but relatively short hike, are some of the most beautiful, panoramic views in the area.

The waiting fleet

Sunset casts beautiful colors over New Thompson Harbor last July. Sitka's fishing fleet is a main source of "new" dollars coming into the Sitka economy as well as contributing many "colorful" characters to the public scene.

Sitka Sound Sentinel

Mt. Edgecumbe sits on Kruzoff Island, about fourteen miles from downtown Sitka and highlights one of the most beautiful settings of any town in Alaska.

Surf's up!

Just two miles from downtown Sitka, a hardy group of locals come out in any kind of weather to practice their surfing techniques as Mt. Edgecumbe looms across the sound.

Bishop's House

Ivan Veniaminov, later canonized as St. Innocent by the Russian Orthodox Church, spent more than a decade in Sitka during the early 1800's. This building, the oldest in Sitka, served as his residence.


This awesome view of Mt. Edgecumbe is from a newer subdivision out Sawmill Creek Road.

Runway, or driveway?

Coming from the south, Sitka's runway looks much smaller than its six thousand foot length, nearly three times the distance needed for a 737 to land in a pinch.