What's in her name?

What's in her name (Salish Aire)?

from her new home the Salish Sea

Aire as in a melody of song.

Salish + Aire = The melody of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea:
In the late 1700's Captain George Vancouver wandered around the waters of what are now known as British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. He did the usual 1700's explorer thing and put names he chose on everything he saw. The names stuck and are recognized and used to this day.

New lines were added to Captain Vancouver's charts in 1872 (after a near war with Great Britain over a pig) which made waters on one side of the line Canadian and those on the other side of the line American.

It wasn't until 1988 (officiated in 2009) that someone finally realized that fish and various critters, (to say nothing of the water itself) were never involved in the boundary treaties and really ignored them completely. (This is best illustrated by the problems that Homeland Security has with Canadian Canada Geese and American Canadian Geese - it seems they refuse to carry passports and have been known to poop on the head of any border patrol person who tries to challenge their right to cross the border when and where they choose!) In reality the waters from Olympia to the well up the East side of Vancouver Island are pretty much one ecosystem.

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Salish Sea is named in honor of the earliest recorded peoples who plied her waters and learned to live in harmony with her.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"Big City" and Glacier Bay outing


Yesterday we headed out after church to see if we can get to the “big city” of Juneau before a big weather system gets here. It took about 4 hours to get back to Piper Island Buoy where we anchored coming in to Sitka.  The issue is that there is one significant tidal rapids on the Peril Strait route between Chichagof and Baranof Islands and we wanted to hit the 07:30 slack on Monday morning.  Since Piper Island is just before the rapids it made a good staging spot.  We have gotten the catching to buoy technique down pretty well and were able to tie up just before dusk.

Meeting the Matanuska in Olga Strait just North of Sitka

Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Matanuska

Boarded up light station North end of Admiralty Island

The first order of business was that our Hurricane furnace had decided to quit again and the night was likely to be very cold and running the generator all night is not a good option.  I generally have the furnace’s quirks pretty well figured out and can get it up and running without too much fuss but the past few days it has decided to be a challenge again after being cooperative since a factory rebuild a year ago. In the process of trouble shooting it (which eventually led to finding a loose wire) I had switched a nozzle from my supply of used parts.  I pulled the nozzle back out and decided to look at it with an otoscope we carry in our very large (we are both nurses after all) first aid kit.  With the otoscope I was able to see that two of my three nozzles in stock had bent tips from being mis-inserted before I had figured out the technique for doing it correctly.  I inserted the one nozzle that had no visible damage and the furnace seems to be happy again.  (I also called in an order for $800 worth of spare parts to be sent up in the mail since having it almost break down in a remote anchorage when my spare parts are all used was a bit of a wakeup call – Clarice keeps reminding me that had we had to send it to a technician we would have spent that much and been cold for a few weeks.)

 We both stood on the deck after it was dark and marveled at the stars and the milky way before we went to bed. Then the buoy decided to knock on the hull. Normally the wind or the current will tend to pull the boat away from a buoy during the night and it makes for an exceptionally quiet night.  This buoy had other plans as a very light current pushed the boat north while a light wind pushed the boat south while making a light ripple on the water.  The result was the buoy tapping on our hull very near where we and Jarvis were trying to sleep. I might have managed to sleep through the tapping except, my dog that sleeps through raccoons stealing his food container from right outside of the tent, considers any knock on the hull (or doorbell on TV) to mean someone might be at the door and needing to be barked at. I finally got up and adjusted the ropes a bit and got a bit of sleep until Jarvis decided he really was hungry and did need to poo on his pad despite what he indicated before going to bed so he woke me up at 2:30 AM to do these dooties that now had become critical in his doggy brain.  None-the-less we were able to wake up and get under way about 7 am before there was much light (and we managed to get Clarice reoriented in the dark so she quit driving towards the island) and get to the tidal rapids just at the crack of dawn.

Anchorage photo by moonlight

We had a nice ride until we reached Chatham Strait and the wind rose to 25 knots off our bow creating a 3 ft chop that made the boat bounce for the next 3 hours like a hobby horse despite having the paravane stabilizers deployed. It wasn’t until about 6 PM that we finally docked in the protected marina of the tiny village of Tenakee Springs which is known for its community hot springs bathing house.  Clarice got a glimpse of some porpoises playing in the boats wake as she prepared lines and we came to the dock.

 After being on the boat for about 24 hours straight Jarvis practically bounded onto the dock and we all took a walk down the gravel trail that constitutes main street.  We did find the bath house unusual in that it has women only times  and men only times which makes some sense once you see the sign that says “Absolutely only nude bathing” (reportedly to keep soap from the suits from fouling the water).  Since the fun of hot tubs to us is to relax and talk to each other the bath house lost its appeal and we headed back to the boat where I expect we will sleep very soundly tonight.


We woke up to clear skies and whales feeding near the opposite shore. Most of the rest of the way up Chatham straight the water was reasonably calm.   I am working through on-line training to work as a Red Cross disaster team member should the need arise and we had good enough cell coverage that I was able to get a few of my assignments completed.  We had time to watch the scenery go past which was classic “Alaska fantastic”. After about 8 hours we landed in Auke Bay marina north of Juneau about 4 PM making the run from Sitka total up pretty close to my estimate of 24 hours of actual travel time.

Wednesday was lovely in Juneau so we rented a car and did some sightseeing in addition to making supply runs to Costco and Fred Meyer.  Let’s just say when we visit Costco once in 3 months rather than every week or so the total bill is a bit bigger.  I looked and gasped “holy moly” out loud to which the clerk gave a polite apology while accepting our credit card.

Auke Bay Marina (Juneau) looking West

Auke Bay Marina (Juneau) looking East

On arriving in Juneau I tried out my new radio knowledge to see if I could correctly set my handheld ham radio to connect with the Juneau ham radio club repeaters.  It worked and one of their members answered and suggested that I join them for their monthly lunch get together at the local Safeway. During the conversation I asked if they had any license testing sessions coming up as I thought Clarice was ready to try taking the exam again to get her technician level license.  They offered to have a special session that evening just for her.  The first try she missed 10 (you are allowed to miss 9) including a question she had forgotten to mark.  She tried a second time and it was clear that she was getting frustrated and tired so we thanked the 3 hams profusely and went on our way.  She tried again two days later – those guys were soooooo helpful and patient – but again couldn’t get past missing 10. In any case we made some new friends and had some enjoyable chit-chat time with them. [Update: 11/4/17 Clarice passed her technician test and is eagerly awaiting the posting of her call sign!]

Thursday and Friday the remnants of a “super typhoon” arrived just as predicted.  You know it’s really really wet when the National Weather Service sends out a flood warning in a rainforest! We met with Clarice’s college roommate’s sister and her husband and spent the day together.  We toured as much of the back roads of Juneau as we dared with the slides and minor flooding and then they visited us on Salish Aire.  We both laughed at how much Nancy (Clarice’s old roommate and a very good friend to both of us) and her sister (whom we had not previously met) look, sound, and act alike.

Yesterday the clearing after the storm arrived as we expected and we headed out just before dawn to take advantage of a predicted few days of nice weather to head to Glacier Bay National Park.  Since we would have arrived after dusk in a port unknown to us had we gone all of the way into the park we opted instead to overnight at the Tlingit village of Hoonah.   This morning we left while it was still dark and piloted through dark and fog and then just fog until we entered the cove where the park dock is located.  Since visiting boats are rare this time of year the ranger on duty met us at the dock after we had radioed ahead.  She assured us that we didn’t need to sign in or have a permit as they require in the summer (and could stay on the dock for 10 days rather than the summer limit of 3 hours) and answered our questions.  We ate a quick lunch and then headed back out into the fog hoping to see some scenery before the day ended.

It is now 2 PM and a few stray puffs of fog are still hanging on but the park is starting to show its splendor as we head further up into the fiords.

About 2 PM the sun started to melt the fog away entering Glacier Bay

Our first hint that there were mountains around us after being in the fog

We broke out of the fog and anchored, Jarvis eagerly checks out the anchorage (but was disappointed we didn't get the kayaks or dingy down to go to shore).

Anchorage at sunset

Family "selfie" on the foredeck


After anchoring under a clear, star-studded sky last night we awoke this morning to clouds and partial clearing but no fog.  We headed further up the fiord and were able to get so nice views of the surrounding mountains and tidal glaciers. 

My quest was to see tidal glaciers again after viewing the glaciers in Tracy Arm south of Juneau in 2000 and being in awe of them.  We were told at that time that the glaciers there were at least as scenic as the ones in Glacier Bay and easier to get to.  I now agree with that assessment.  Clarice was more interested in the park in general and she indicates more satisfaction with the trip up.

As far as wildlife we haven’t seen much inside of the park except for many sea otters and a few seals.
We are now on our way back to the park service pier at the entrance to the bay where we plan to stay the night before heading back to Sitka which will likely take the better part of two more days travel.


We have been making very good time so far on our way back to Sitka and may make it back this evening.  Last night we anchored out in a bay off Chatham Strait.  The moon was near full and we could see our surroundings very well by moonlight until it set.  Again we slept poorly as the bottom of the bay was apparently rocky and when the current or wind would swing the boat a bit the sound of the anchor chain dragging on the bottom was loud enough to distress Jarvis and make him bark (I finally took him and we slept together on the salon bench where it was quieter but not nearly as comfortable).  This morning he has a look of “when do I get off this boat??” so we played a game of race from one end of the boat to the other to get tiny bits of dog treats from Clarice at one end and myself at the other.

We have talked for some time about our need to gain comfort navigating through the night taking shifts. Clarice even suggested that since we know the route back pretty well that we might try it last night (which may have worked very well do to the visibility with the moonlight).  In any case we were checking our plans with our recently updated navigation software and the software suddenly decided to move our route a couple of degrees north.  The autopilot followed along and started to turn us in a circle but luckily we had lots of sea room where we were.  Recognizing that had the error occurred with only one person on duty during the night and perhaps not fully attentive in a narrow waterway the potential was there for a big problem.  We decided at that point to hole up in a sheltered cove for the night (and I sent off a nasty email to the software company this morning).  On the other hand with the days getting shorter we have taken off before sunrise several times this trip which has the comfort to it in that we have seen the lay of the land the evening before when we moor for the night.  This morning we left about two hours before sunrise under a starlit sky.  I had Clarice make sure she was aware of the direction of the North Star as the exit from the cove required a course of due north so that she could double check my piloting as she stowed the anchor on the front deck so in a sense we have for the first time steered by the stars as we continue our navigation education. [Update: 11/5/17 The software company went to work very quickly and was able to identify a corrupted file in our system - we are hoping that this solves the problem of the spontaneously moving routes.]


We set the clocks back today so I find myself with a bit of extra time before church so I will try to get this updated and posted.

Since the last note we got back to Sitka with unexpected rapidity as we encountered moderate winds but off the stern and moderate to fast currents but off the stern.  We ended up with about 5 fewer travel hours than we had predicted.

WooHoo 13.2 knots in a 7 knot boat through Sergius Narrows

After arriving home we borrowed a truck and went to pick up our packages which included a new camera lens I have been looking forward to trying. We were also able to find a local long line fisherman who has a permit to sell directly from his boat so he could sell to us directly.  Seattle celebrates the arrival of Copper River salmon – Sitka believes they one-up Copper River with local winter-run salmon.  Several folks have told us that it is known for its high fat content and delicious flavor.  Indeed the fish we purchased (at just above wholesale cost) cut like butter and tastes divine.  With our limited freezer space Clarice is trying to smoke some of the fish before she cans it for later.
We are currently having a bit of clear sunny weather (snow predicted for tomorrow) so yesterday we took some friends out to explore “the causeway” which is a remnant of WWII when several small islands on the far side of the airport from us were tied together with a rock breakwater and then fortified against the feared Japanese invasion.

August, Mike and Jarvis join me in exploring the ruins on The Causeway

Large gun emplacement

One of many ruins on The Causeway

For those curious about the fate of the Alaskan Dream (see the previous posting) – the hope is it can be floated and moved to a drydock for repairs on this weekend’s high tides. We continue to be reminded of the challenges of boating here when we keep seeing boats freshly cast on the rocks.

Tour boat recently added to the boats on the rocks collection

“Trawlers” vs “Trollers”:
Salish Aire is in a class of boats commonly referred to as recreational trawlers as they look like common fishing boats.  Here in SE Alaska we have been admonished a couple of times for calling ourselves a “trawler” since those are “bad” boats.  We finally asked for clarification and learned that first few folks here are familiar with boats such as ours made from the hull up for the non-fishing market so we frequently have to explain that Salish Aire is NOT a converted fishing boat but was designed with fishing boats in mind as they had a long proven design for use on open oceans.  Then we learned that trawler fishing boats drag nets on the bottom and are very non-selective with what they catch and end up destroying many by-catch species whereas trollers use long-line fishing techniques to be more selective in their catch and thus are considered to be “good fishermen”.  The troller boats are recognized by their tall outrigger poles – since Salish Aire has similar outriggers for our paravane stabilizers locals assume we are a “good fisherman” when they see us from a distance. We have also learned that this designation is apparently not universal as a sister ship currently in Newfoundland reports that all boats there are referred to as trawlers and then further sub-divided into “bottom draggers” or “long-liners”. In any case thanks to our paravane system we are able to remain socially acceptable here in Sitka as long as we remember to call ourselves a troller and not a trawler.

Local Troller
 Other photos:

Salish Aire at Anchor near The Causeway
Whales at play (feeding?)

One of the many Sitka Bald Eagles

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sitka after the cruise ships


That Sitka recognizes the value of cruise ship visits is very clear and the local folks seem to really enjoy showing off their town but now that the cruise ship season has ended there seems to be a collective sigh of relief and the town’s flavor has changed dramatically.

The official end of the cruise season is marked with an end of season festival where the local seafood companies and cruise ship companies donate food to be barbecued and everyone looks forward to the annual Running of the Boots.

The Running of the Boots is a tongue-in-cheek self-depreciation laugh at Sitka (and much of SE Alaska’s) culture of rubber boots.  Specifically XtraTuf brand of rubber boots.  Any day, any time you can see locals ready for the rain, mud, and fish mucking in their XtraTuf boots.  Once the rain falls (which is most of the time) then the boots are considered to be acceptable with any fashion.  Yes, even relatively formal wear may include rubber boots.  Boots in the grocery store don’t get a second look. Boots in church – of course.  In fact the first sign of really good weather is that the majority of people are celebrating by drying their boots at home and wearing other shoes just to remember how they feel. And yes, I have a pair of (ankle high) XtraTufs so I don’t feel left out.  Rubber boots are to SE Alaska what cowboy boots are to Texans except the Texans seem to take their boots far too seriously while Alaskan’s know when to recognize the humor of their habit.

The Running of the Boots is a costume festival and race where prizes are awarded.  The costume contest’ only rule is that the outfit includes rubber boots (preferably XtraTufs as they are a sponsor after all).  Our family entry was Jarvis as #14 who wore his boots (sorry not XtraTufs which only go down to children’s sizes), his rain slicker, and his bear bell.  He got a lot of attention and was clearly enjoying himself. He has even accepted the boots as keeping his pitty paws warm but he does sound like a miniature Clydesdale as he clippity clops along.  He didn’t win any prizes but lots of folks took his photo and told him they thought he should have won something.

Running of the Boots - In the rain, of course!

Food is incredibly inexpensive with sponsors providing the ingredients.
Jarvis really enjoyed himself with all of the attention he got.

The winning family for "Most Formal" (the dress looked pretty sad by the end of the wet day - but her feet were dry!)

This family included a kayak, a Sitka Spruce, a lighthouse, and an Eagle.

With the close of the cruise ship season many of the stores in town either shut down for the winter or go on to off-season hours.  Many of the stores in town are now open from 1 – 5 days a week rather than the 7 days a week they keeps their wares available in the summer.  Even the bears are getting ready for the winter with the Fortress of the Bears rescue center now only open weekends and announcing that as soon as the bears move to hibernating they will no longer have visiting hours. St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral Store is down to being open a few hours on Saturday only and the cathedral itself is getting draped in plastic for a much needed face lift.

With the slowdown in the general pace of life, Sitka folk have their own daily entertainment.  We often start our day with a walk through the trails of the Sitka National Park at the far end of town and find that we are not alone.  Along the trails we have the company of many other townsfolk walking dogs, jogging, taking the kids for stroller rides, and just enjoying the moss draped forest. 

Sitka National Historical Park is at the end of the main thoroughfare for Sitka

This bridge provides a shortcut for bikes and pedestrians downtown to the south end.  It also causes us to slow down and enjoy the forest and to stop and see how many fish are still running every time we go this way.

Looking down river. At this time of year the smell of rotting salmon carcasses can get a bit strong but it becomes just part of the forest ambiance. 

Park trail

Clarice exploring

The last of the current salmon run.

We were told that we couldn’t miss the “Monthly Grind”.  When we asked what it was the answers were very vague; “Well, it’s kind of a talent show or variety show or well you just have to see for yourself.” So we walked (it was just across the street) to the first of the season’s “grinds”.  After seeing the mixture of desert making contest, made-up-on-short-notice haikus, a local history movie, a recital by local kids studying ballet, local humor, and local musicians and being delightfully entertained for the evening as we met some of our established friends and made new friends, we would describe the Monthly Grind as; “Well, it’s kind of a talent show or variety show or well you just have to see for yourself.” We tried to find the source of the name “Monthly Grind” but since it goes back 23 seasons it seems to be obscured by time.  I was able to learn that the name was “borrowed” from Ketchikan and a Ketchikan visitor suggested that it was from the “coffee house beatnik era”.  Others suggest it is a break from the grind of winter’s daily routine in a gray and wet rainforest climate.  My version is that it like grinding coffee where you throw in a bunch of beans and then enjoy the smell as their true aromatics come out.  In any case we look forward to the November Monthly Grind.

A folk song at the Grind

Local kids all signing the Alaska state song.


Every chance we get we either take a bicycle ride or take the boat out. When the weather is clear the scenery is beautiful and magnificent.  I think about how many boaters go to the San Juan Islands of Washington and Desolation Sound in BC to see the scenery.  That scenery and number of islands doesn’t hold a candle to this area and yet the number of recreational boats is limited by the challenge of getting here.  Daily we see whale spouts, sea otters and sea lions outside of our window, eagles everywhere, Alaska brown bears, millions of salmon heading up stream, mountains covered with snow, the ever changing face of the Mount Edgecombe volcano, hot springs that we have all to ourselves, pristine mountain lakes, water falls, and the list goes on and on.

The biggest boating challenge is navigation with so many rocks going from 300 ft deep to 10 ft above tide water in very short distances.  A depth sounder is a good tool of navigation but it often gives notice too late of the approach of “hard water” (AKA rocks).  Charts are excellent but a rapidly becoming recognized issue of electronic charts is that detail disappears if the navigator pans out too far. A good example is a local rock that has a “35” on top of it in relatively short distance pan out which is easy to interpret as “35 ft of water”.  If the navigator pans in then the 35 moves next to a * symbol which means a drying rock.  I noticed this particular rock a few weeks ago and was concerned enough to put a more prominent manual mark on it to bring it to my attention in the future.  How big of a hazard is it – the 75 ft yacht Alaska Dream is currently sitting atop what may be that very rock. (Story at: https://www.kcaw.org/2017/10/09/yacht-runs-aground-weekend-high-tide/ ) From the scuttlebutt around town this rock has eaten a number of boats over the years.

Photo credit KCAW.org Don Kluting

Chart zoomed out

Chart zoomed in 

We've chosen to add an extra label just to bring our attention to the rock

With 3 days of predicted sun we decided to find Goddard Hot Springs which is reported to be a Sitka locals special place.  We had a bit of trouble finding the correct location but then Clarice saw the tub house on shore and we knew we had arrived. The grounds and the tub houses are owned and maintained by the City of Sitka. The day we were there we were the only one’s ashore and one fishing boat also anchored in the cove for the night.  The next morning we moved to Redoubt Bay and prepared for a big hike up the falls to Redoubt Lake.  It turns out that the lake is only about 30 ft above tide water so it was an easy stair climb and then we could see this gorgeous fresh water lake with its surrounding moss floored forest.  The guidebooks indicated that we should find a Forest Service owned aluminum boat for public use.  We found a boat and prepared to row out to picnic on an island in the lake.  Problem #1 was it didn’t have oars with it.  We ate our lunch on shore and then I went to the boat to get a paddle and fishing pole so I could try my luck at fresh water trout. When I got back and slid the stern of the boat into the water I noticed it leaked like a sieve – so much for the boat.  I then waded in over my boots and cast for that fish eager to bite my lure; instead “preserved beaver food” (AKA an old log) quickly ran off with my lure and ended my fishing outing.  I was just pleased to have had the chance to be in such a beautiful place so any angst about failing at fishing was quickly washed away.  We then headed to a planned visit to another bay when we got out where we were exposed to the wind and waves directly off of the Pacific Ocean.  The predicted winds of 4 knots somehow suddenly turned to 20 knots and the water was quite skunky (but not unsafe) and so we decided to head for our home dock.  Along the way we had been doing some radio testing with the Ham radio club I have joined.  During one of the calls I asked about winds back in town behind the barrier islands and was told it was “calm”.  I think the learning here is that we need to check both Sitka town wind predictions as well as off shore wind predictions as we plan our outings in the future.

Jarvis decided to enjoy the view once he was sure he was not expected to get wet.

The view out the window from the hot springs tub.

Redoubt Lake 
Redoubt lake shore

Looking down the falls from fresh water Redoubt Lake to salt water Redoubt Bay

Last look at Redoubt Lake


Alaska Sesquicentennial Celebration

Alaska Day is coming on October 18th and is clearly a big annual event.  This year happens to be to 150th anniversary of the passing of Alaska from Russian ownership to American ownership. This week is full of planned events in celebration.  I will ask Clarice to give her impressions of the first event we attended with the New Archangel Dancers.

I can certainly see how these women stay so fit. The troupe is all women…they dance both the men’s and women’s parts, including the one that you have all seen:  the men are squatting down on their toes and then bouncing up in one movement. They are also squatting and kicking out in front …think of those quads!!  Besides all that, the costuming is very fun, colorful and some are quite exquisite. What I found impressive is the age range of the dancers: 21 to 47. At 47 it seems you “graduate” however there were older women performing in a less strenuous, but very pretty pattern dance. What great role modeling for the younger women of the troupe by the older women. One woman was “graduating” last night and it was very obvious that after 20 years and over 1900 performances with the group she was well loved and respected by all. [ed note: The story was told of the woman graduating that she had been visiting Moscow and wanted to by black Cossack boots as she often dances the men’s roles.  The Russian boot salesman would have nothing of it until she did some traditional dancing and kicking for him – she walked out with five pairs of boots and no further questions about the ability of a woman to dance the part of a Russian man.)
I continue to be amazed by the options available to everyone in such a small town, be it recreational, education or socially responsible offerings. And the participation is amazing. I guess being in the “big city” for the past few years I’ve forgotten how involved and involving a small community can be.

Barn Dance:

I couldn’t coerce Clarice to go but with the price of “free” I figured I would go watch the barn dance.  Since I have 2 left feet I figured I could stand back and watch and see if I learned something and maybe enjoy the live local music.  Much to my pleasant surprise the whole event assumed that everyone in the room was clueless and each of the pattern dances was proceeded with an instruction run. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and I got to experience pattern dancing myself with little reason to be self-conscious. 

Not a lot of photos of the dance as I was having too much fun to stop and take pictures.

I have been looking for someone willing to model my previous comments about XtraTuf boots being appropriate to wear with anything and finally decided to fake it for the camera.  A young woman showed up in her period costume that she had made with hoop skirts and all.  I asked to take her photo for the blog and she agreed.  Then I told her I wanted to borrow a pair of XtraTufs to make my point – she laughed and lifted the hem of her skirt and explained there was no need to borrow a pair as she was already wearing hers. 

Another period costume.... 
.....with a special "Sitka touch".

There was also a formal ball but neither of us attended.


Variety Show:

The variety show was a bit disorganized but there were some real highlights including a quartet from Anchorage singing Russian folk songs and a preview of the upcoming Sitka version of the Nutcracker Ballet.  The Sitka version of the Nutcracker includes dancing Alaskan bears, dancing crabs, a fireweed flower, and finally a slime line (AKA a fish processing line) dance which, needless to say, is danced in XtraTuf boots.

The Ketchikan Can-Can to Tchaikovsky 
Dance of the fireweed

Crab dance

Slime Line dance

Russian folk quartet

I rode my bicycle in the dark and pouring rain and after getting lost finally found the Sitka Performing Arts Center which is a state of the art concert facility which was hosting the Alaskan US Army Band.  For all of the trouble I had getting to the concert it was well worth the effort as the music was great.

US Army Band

Alaska Day 2017:

The day started with a cool wind off of the mountains where the snow level had dropped noticeably from yesterday but the rain held off for the entire day and the sun even made an appearance.

A part of my day was spent helping try to advertise the Sitka Ham Amateur Radio Klub (SHARK) which I am a member of.  Our goal was to show folks what Ham radio entails by seeing if we could make some long distance contacts.  At the end of the day we had made about 20 random contacts including one from Japan.

SHARK Ham radio "shack"

Trying to reach other hams around the world (I was able to reach a chap in Salem Oregon)
I was surprised at how long the parade lasted but I think every major business in town was represented in one way or another. Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Drill Team was included, as was the Sitka High marching band.  No silly “bear” skin hats and silly mock military uniforms for these kids – they were proud to wear blue rain coats and …….. yes …. wait for it….. XtraTuf boots!

The Russian Orthodox bishop was in town

One of the Native groups in the parade

Re-enactment soldiers

Period costumes

Sitka High Marching Band

The only challenge was getting to and from the ramp to the dock where we are moored as the parking lot for our host hotel was fenced off as a beer garden.

So Alaska Day 2017 is over and it’s time to get this posted.

Final Photos:

Norman's big yellow eye catch 

Volcano sunset 

Newly dedicated canoe