Sitka, AK
We hadn’t done a thorough enough job of tying the sheets (ropes that control the sails) up off the deck before the last snowfall, so they were full of snow and ice, and quite difficult to move thru the blocks. The winch sockets (where the winch handles fit in) were also full of ice (I’ll have to make some covers for these), so the winching was done without the winch handle and we didn’t put up a lot of sails. Still, it was an enjoyable sail.


Sitka, AK
This totem pole, along with many others, commemorates native Tlingit and Haida cultures at the Sitka National Historic Park. The forest touches the beach at Sitka Sound, and trails take you wandering through to enjoy the natural beauty and native monuments. Centuries ago, the Tlingit had located a fort on this site, which was attacked by the Russians in 1804. The fort, made of local spruce, was so strong that it withstood heavy bombardment from Russian ships. A bloody battle happened ashore, and the Tlingit repulsed the Russians under the leadership of War Chief K’alyaan, who fought hand to hand wielding a blacksmith’s hammer. The Tlingit were never defeated in battle, but abandoned the fort after the siege wore on and their gunpowder ran low. You can see K’alyaan’s Raven war helmet preserved at a local museum, and imagine his fierce defense of this beautiful homeland.


Sitka, AK5
Sitka received 10 inches of snow over a few days soon after our arrival. The community usually sees rain instead of snow because of a warm coastal current (that originates in Japan as the Kuroshiro Current), so this storm was a major disruption. But nothing could keep intrepid mariners away from the two day sale at the local chandlery! This boating supply store has a huge inventory of rope, rigging, chain, safety gear, engine maintenance parts, plumbing parts, electronics, hydraulics, navigation equipment, galley accessories, tools, knives, paint, adhesives, and repair and cleaning supplies, and they sell bait and fishing licenses. They sell gear for all kinds of fisheries – troll, longline, seine, gillnet, and crab/shrimp – I was amazed to see all the different kinds of bait cups to select from for your pot. They also offer an extensive selection of boots, gloves, hats, and foul weather gear, the most Grundens in one place outside of Sweden, I believe!Richard and I let ourselves get lost inside; not a bad way to spend a snowy afternoon.


Sitka, AK
As we passed Old Sitka Rocks, we began to see suburban homes lining the waterfront boulevard–the largest structures I’d seen in two months. In this same area in 1799, the first Russian settlement on these shores, Redoubt St. Archangel Michael, was built by Alexander Baranov to support the fur trade. It was destroyed by the native Tlingit in 1802, who had a vibrant established society and were unwilling to submit to Russian control. So the Russians came back in 1804 and destroyed the Tlingit village of Sheet’ka several miles away at what is now the city center, and took over the port that is present-day Sitka. Under Russian colonization, such opulent European developments were imported that Sitka was known as the Paris of the Pacific. After a long and frosty transit, we were happy to arrive.