Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This humpback whale is beginning a five to ten minute dive in search of sea life to feed his massive body.

Mt. Edgecumbe's slopes

Late evening June sun glistens off the slopes of Mt. Edgecumbe, an inactive volcano about fifteen miles across the harbor from downtown Sitka. A well-maintained hiking trail affords the hardy hiker with access from the beach to the crater...a fifteen mile round trip.

Tom Boy

Dragging as many as twenty-four lines at various depths, a power-troller increases his chances of catching salmon entering Sitka Sound.

On the drag

Trollers follow the beat of their own drums while circling their fishing grounds.


A lighted trail serves as a sledding hill about five in the afternoon on a dark winter afternoon in Sitka.


While munching on seaside grass, this young brown bear pauses long enough for a snapshot.


One that didn't get away. A hatchery king salmon is netted by a sport fishermen at the Medevici Hatchery near Sitka.

Tlingit ceremony

A memorial party (potlatch) was held last September to honor the memory of Mark Jacobs, Jr., a Tlingit elder who passed away two years previously. At the elaborate parties, regalia is displayed and used in dances and other ceremonies. Many of the pieces are more than a century old and are priceless.

Don't you dare use your flash!

Two young brown bear cubs were rescued and taken to the Fortress of the Bears at the old Alaska Pulp Company site seven miles from downtown Sitka. The cubs' mother was shot because she began raiding garbage cans and her cubs would very likely have become victims of older male bears without the protection of their mother. A handicap-access ramp at the site leads to a bear-viewing platform allowing a close-up view of these soon to be one-half ton carnivores.


This year and a half old cub had just made a lunch of a frozen halibut filet and was contemplating a nap.

Empty nets

Periodically some of the National Park Service staff at Totem Park, test the waters to see what sea life they can capture with a beach seine. Data is kept in an effort to track changes in the ecology of Sitka's waters.


Alaska is home to more float planes per capita than any other state. Not too many are owned by private individuals in Sitka, but at least two flying services will take you to a lake or bay somewhere for some private camping, fishing or hiking.

Seine life

One of the more efficient ways of catching salmon is with the purse seine, a long net which closes at the bottom and which is pulled into a circle in an attempt to surround schools of fish. The seine skiff in the foreground has an extremely powerful motor needed to tow the heavy net with its corks and weights.

F/V Gulkana

Numerous charter fishermen offer half and full day trips out in Sitka Sound in pursuit of king, coho, chum, pink and sockeye salmon as well as halibut and rock fish. Keith Greba, also an Alaskan artist, plies his trade in Sitka from May to September each year.

A Whale of a lot of fun

Once in a while boaters are treated a show while a whale will slap his tail on the water. Last week, while we were whale watching, one came straight up out of the water the entire length of his body twice while I was looking the other way; I did get a great shot of the splash, though. You'll have to take my word for it until I get lucky enough another time to catch the action preceding the splash.

Pop top

There is a direct relationship between the crater of Mt. Edgecumbe and the existence of St. Lazeria Island, which is volcanic material covered with vegetation kept lush by rainfall and the droppings of thousands of birds that make there home there.

Huffin' Puffin

Built for comfort, not for speed, the Puffin rarely flies more than a few feet above the water. Many of the little critters live on St. Lazeria Island, a Federal Bird Sanctuary in Sitka Sound.

A meal fit for a king

Grandson Max hauls in an impressive catch, which was returned to the sea to add on some inches and pounds.

Hood ornament

Sitka is home to many fly-fishermen, traditional and otherwise. This gentleman was fishing at the Medevici Hatchery in Silver Bay, hoping to capture a Wild Alaskan King.

Winter Blues

The Prospector looks out from his rocky pedestal over the West end of downtown Sitka.

Planes, boats and automobiles

Sitka's airport at top lays off Japonski Island, home to the U S Coast Guard, the University of Alaska Sitka Campus, the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and the Mt. Edgecumbe High School. Between the island and town is the Thompson Boat Harbor, home to a part of Sitka's fishing fleet.

Now and Then

The excitement of the Gold Rushes of the late 1800's brought thousands of gold-seekers from around the world to Alaska. A few found riches, but many, many more would have ended their days in poverty had not the Territory established the Alaska Pioneers' Home in Sitka in 1913 and provided them with a secure home to spend their golden years.


On a serene morning in March, downtown Sitka welcomes quiet reflection from across the bridge on Alice Island.

The exchange on Castle Hill

On October 18, 1867, on the site now called Castle Hill, representatives of the United States and Russian governments met to complete the transfer ceremonies that resulted in Alaska becoming a property of the United States. The ceremony is re-enacted every year on what is now called Alaska Day.

Mendenhall River and the Chilkats

From Mendenhall Glacier and Lake the river of the same name meanders a short distance to the Gastineau Channel near Juneau. The mountains in the distance are part of the Chilkat Range.


The dock at the end of Lincoln Street has been the site of several wharves since the first days of Russian Sitka.


Sometimes the sunrise will spotlight the slopes of Mt. Edgecumbe through the morning clouds.