Monday, September 22, 2008

Kodiak : The Island

Kodiak Island is SW of Anchorage. There are 2 ways to get there 1) by plane 2) by ferry. The Ferry is less expensive, but it is a 10 hour trip - we flew. The island has about 14,000 residents, mostly centered around the township of Kodiak on the East side of the island. There is one road on the island, which is about 80 miles long and doesn't get to the West side of the Island. There are 2 significant activities on the island, fishing and the military. The largest coast guard base in the USA is located on Kodiak Island which accounts for about 2000 of the residents. About 12000 people live in the town of Kodiak, where the largest occupation is commercial fishing. They fish for everything in the ocean - salmon, king crab, red snapper, etc, etc. These operations are known as canneries and they do everything from catch the fish to packaging and distribution to retailers like Costco.

The island came to be out of ancient volcanos that erupted and formed the numerous mountain peaks that make of the island today. The highest mountain peak on the island is something like 6000 ft and the rock is black, clearly a product of hardened molten lava. Snow and ice on the mountain peaks are visible and are the source of the many streams, and rivers that flow from the melting glacial ice into the oceans. These rivers are the spawning grounds for the Pacific Salmon that frequent the waters during the months of August and September. We hit the Uganic River during the peak of the Salmon runs. In the prophetic words of our friend George Durwachter, "A Hell of alot depends on those damn Salmon". The fishing industry, the bears, the eagles, and the seagulls to name a few.

From the town of Kodiak, we took a pontoon plane to the west side of the Island and landed in Uganik Bay, where we spent a week fishing on Uganic River. This part of the island is not accessible by car and there is no power, no telephones, no running water, no WIFI, no Starbucks.


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