On the ferry Tustemena, on our way to Kodiak Island, a journey of 13 1/2 hours.
Cars drove onto the side of the ferry onto an elevator, which then lowered us into the bowels of the ship. We were on a turntable, and it aimed us so we drove backwards into our row, over steel tie downs. We were accompanied by a ferry employee who guided us into our spot and secured our vehicle.
We left in the evening, and arrived the next day. I took up my bed pad, sleeping bag, and pillow, and made a nice cozy sleeping spot in the front corner of the passenger lounge. Denis worked at a table, then stretched out on the bench. Upon arrival in Kodiak, we drove forward onto the turntable, and were lifted up to drive off.
Constance met us at the ferry, and led us to her house. We enjoyed the evening with her and a bible study at Theresa’s, with Amanda and Simon. Waiting for a call that fishing would open, we took a day to ourselves and discovered Monashka Bay.
Fishing was fantastic, and the spot at the end of the road was great for overnighting.
Constance got the call that fishing was opening, so I went with her to shop. We were going to cook, so I’d prepared a list from our meal plans. We were going to have lots of meals and baking, and planned to be out at the fish site for a couple of weeks.
Alaska stole my heart. I loved this part of our trip!
When the crew went out to fish, we went for a walk across the island, so Denis could use the internet at a friend’s house. Bella (the dog) went with us, and we had a great time finding our way, passing some interesting cottages and beaches.
At the house, we cooked lots of scrumptious food. Some sample menus were: For breakfast we had roast beef hash, cheesy Mexican eggs, eggs with bacon, corned beef hash with eggs, biscuits with sausage gravy, and lots of hot cereal. And we baked cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies and bars. White bread, whole wheat bread, and oat bread. I went through 25 lbs of flour in 2 weeks!
Did I mention Eskimo donuts?!
We had such fun. Annika appreciated the baked goods, and she took us out to fish. One day it was just us ladies. We were out at one of their fish sites, and the other guys on the crew were near by when I hooked into a BIG ONE! They noticed. Annika hollered “Stay away!” We were going to bring this one in all by ourselves!
Well, I was working away at this huge halibut, and after maybe fifteen minutes, brought it up within seeing distance. Annika said “Oh my, we can’t get this one in the boat!” So we decided to go slowly backwards, letting out line, and dragging the fish up to the beach. Well, the guys were getting pretty interested by this time, and didn’t pay any attention to us telling them to go away. They got up on the beach and grabbed the boat as we put in. Annika held my pole while I awkwardly, oops, gracefully, made my way over the side of the boat and into about a foot of water.
I got the pole and halibut back, and started to reel it in, planting my feet firmly on the rocks. The rocks were slippery. The fish was huge. It was tugging and I was reeling, and my feet were going out from under me. Nels grabbed at me, saving me from a most spectacular butt landing in the water. I got my feet back under me and Nels asked me if I wanted him to take the pole. I pondered a minute. I really didn’t want to hand it over, but it was getting a bit much for me so I consented. It wasn’t a minute later until that ole halibut decided he’d had enough and said goodbye.
Annika estimated it was 5 feet long, and 100 to 150 lbs. We didn’t want to go home skunked, so we went back out and she caught a beaut:
and we had some fantastic smoked sockeye salmon, just to eat, and in a cream cheese dip, and in alfredo!
Constance had a greenhouse with several kinds of kale, spinanch, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We had great salads, and picked raspberries and currants.
Apple pie, pumpkin pies, bumbleberry pie, saskatoon and blueberry pie. And our meals were lucious. Besides seafood, we cooked enchiladas, meat loaf, roast chicken, pork stir fry, chili rice casserole, and more seafood, including a delicious halibut soup!
They couldn’t fish (commercially) for several days, so we went sightseeing by boat. We saw whales every day we were out. Lots of birds (gulls and puffins mostly):
We dropped the 5 young people off at a beach so they could hike to the top of the hill and maybe hunt too.
Gordon took us bass fishing, while we waited for them to get to the top of the mountain and back down.
Going by another bird rookery, we still had time before picking up the kids, so we fished for halibut.I got two halibut. Denis got lots of rockfish, but we didn’t keep any. He also caught more bass, but we already had our limit, so we didn’t keep those either.
We looked for our hikers, and they didn’t come out on the beach.
They went a different direction from the lakes up on top, and were quite a distance down the shore from where we expected them to appear.
While they weren’t fishing, there were other projects:
Nels and Ryan went hunting:
And of course all this hard work, meant we all needed a banya. Now I’m not sure how to spell that. It’s pronounced “Bawn-ya”, but it’s kind of like a bath and sauna:Wood is hauled in for the fire, and a big garbage can and wash tub filled with water. The fire is surrounded by rocks, and you can put water on the rocks. It gets very hot in there. There are benches and wash bowls, soap, shampoo, and it is a most cleansing experience!
Fishing opened again, and they were back to work. We kept on cooking (more culinary delights):
and exploring the island on it’s many trails.
Denis and I both got to go out with the fishing crew on one of their picks at their gill net sites. So interesting!
(that’s Denis waving) We watched them pitch their fish into their holding skiff,
then later load onto the tender.Watching them race around in circles, we wondered what they were doing:I actually guessed correctly; this is how they flush the fish blood and yuck out of the floor of the skiff.
We grew very attached to this terrific group of young folks!
We had two more days to explore the island, so we went to the Alutiq Museum, and the Baranov Museum.
The Baronov Museum, (on the right) is the oldest building in Alaska. It used to be the fur warehouse and is still standing because the Russian builders used the Scandinavian method of log construction. It has been used for just about every purpose since Baronov moved the Company Headquarters to Sitka.
Some of the terrain reminded us of the Big Island of Hawaii!
Crossing over to the west side of the island, we discovered surf!
And a few other interesting things:
We finished our explorations back at the north end, and caught two more salmon for the road,
then walked around Fort Abercrombie.
Enjoying the fruit of our labors:
And we are on our way again…… it was hard to say goodbye to Kodiak….. we loved every minute of it!
On the ferry, I slept on a nice padded children’s play area cubby……. Denis at a table on a bench. I slept very well! The trip back was 14 hours, as we also went to Port Lyons and Ouzinkie.
What gorgeous weather upon our arrival!
We drove up to Anchorage,
spent the night at our usual abode, Cabella’s parking lot, then after meeting at Wendy and Gordon’s, followed by a gospel meeting in Wasilla, we took a little side trip to Sunshine.
This was a favorite old fishing spot, and there were lots of fish in the stream, but the silvers were about done. Denis caught a chum salmon and let it go. We drove on up to Eureka,
where we had supper at the lodge, then found a great camping spot by several other RV’s and rigs pulling hunting ATV’s.
Soon we were turning south at Haines Junction, driving on into the Yukon and British Columbia, along the Haines Highway.
We found a lovely camping spot at a state recreation area:
On into Haines through low clouds and fog:
There weren’t many eagles yet at the Bald Eagle Preserve, but we saw some interesting fishing on the river, and met Cheryl and Mike.
We walked around Fort Seward.
And discovered lots of caterpillars on the sidewalks:
We encouraged them to leave the area.
And we say “goodbye” to Haines, the beginning of our journey south through Southeast Alaska.