Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sitka's Roses

The Alaska Pioneer Home in Sitka was built in 1934, replacing a military barracks which had been used to house elderly Alaskans since 1913. Surrounded by a hedge of Sitka Roses the setting in downtown Sitka is an Alaskan treasure.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Oh, there's the beach!

As the fog dissipates, the Carnival Spirit settles in for the day off the Indian River delta, the site of a battle between the Russians and the local Tlingits in 1804 that led to the establishment of a permanent Russian settlement in Sitka. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Sitka and Southeast Alaska every year by cruise ship. End surveys generally point to Sitka as the favorite place to visit....something we already knew.

Bridge to Somewhere

I guess you could argue that any bridge in Alaska goes to nowhere, if your argument is about the number of people on either side. However, due to the ruggedness and isolation of our geography, we don't have the ability to build roads to very many places.

Lift Off

While rightfully wary of humans, bald eagles in Alaska will generally let you get within range enough for a nice close-up. Check out the web site for the Alaska Raptor Center, one of the most visited sites in Sitka.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Smoked Kings

Wild King and Sockeye salmon make the best tasting smoked fish I've had.

Mickey, Minnie and the Mt.

Alaska Airlines (www.alaskaair.com) provides twice-daily service into Sitka in the fall, winter and spring, and three or four flights a day in each direction in the summer months. Occasional "Web Specials" offer reasonably priced trips from anywhere on their coast-to-coast system.

Winter Playground

Juneauites take to the ice when Mendenhall Lake freezes over in the winter. The closeup in the next photo is of the iceberg just to the left of center above.

Ice Cube

In the summertime large icebergs break off the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau and then freeze solidly into the lake by mid winter, creating beautiful ice sculptures that are generally safe to check out.

Hands of a fisherman

My father-in-law Pete Karras Sr., has spent most of his adult life fishing and trying to get his engines to run so he could go back out. The wear and tear of constantly working outside on gear and equipment has even worn pits in the gold wedding band he first put on back in 1952.

King Fisher

One that didn't get away. Alan Andersen on the Sea Haven hauls in a nice sized wild king salmon. Each fish is hand cleaned and packed and these troll-caught fish are the highest quality seafood in Alaska. You can find them featured in the finest restaurants around the world.

Safe Harbor

Fishing boats seek sheltered coves and inlets on the outside coast of Baranof Island when the weather is too rough to ride it out at sea. Three or four hours sleep and the succesful fishermen are back at it, chasing the elusive King.


You had to be there to appreciate the raw power at the tail end of a humpback as it makes its dive.

Too cold to erupt

A trail leads from the shoreline to the top of Mt. Edgecumbe and many locals and visitors take the moderately difficult hike each summer. I don't think too many attempt the feat in the winter. Over thirty years ago, a local prankster and his friends staged a fake eruption. Go to this website for the whole story: http://www.olypen.com/sitkacds/porky.htm


Eagles and Ravens are not known to be fond of each other so the sight of these two sharing opposite railings on a narrow dock warranted a closer look and a snapshot.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Farmed, and dangerous?

Eyes front!

Farmed salmon is seen by many as a potential threat to Alaska's wild salmon fisheries. Raised in pens without the strenous exercise that breed firm, red flesh in wild salmon, the farmed fish have a bland taste and mushy texture in my opinion. For those of you without a sense of humor, I'm fully aware that these are wild king salmon with an extra eye cloned in for effect.


January 25th was a really hard day to leave Sitka. After several days of unpleasant weather, the sun finally broke out and we had to fly to Seattle for my wife Georgina's final chemo session (of 27). I managed to get a couple of shots off before we left the Sitka area. The clear-cut area shows the Mountain View Golf course, nearing completion after countless hours of work and expenditure of dollars by Roger Sudnikovich and many others