We officially have more than twelve hours of daylight every day here and spring is showing in Sitka! It’s currently pouring rain and looks a bit like October, but the rain has only returned after a week and a half of beautiful sunny days! The herring fisherman have yet to have an opening, but they have been on two-hour notice since Monday at 8a.m. (meaning that Alaska Department of Fish and Game could open the fishery at any time, so be by the boat and be ready!). The herring fishing season is about 40% of all of Sitka’s fishing income for the season–around $12 million last year– and only lasts a couple weeks. Herring is . . . kind of a big deal here, to put it mildly. Selected boats are currently catching samples of herring, which are then tested to examine the maturity of the roe. Apparently the eggs aren’t at peak maturity yet, which is when they are most valuable and are caught. People here are beginning to get anxious for an opener, even people in town who have no claim to any of the fish, but who just want to see the action! My supervisor has promised me that as soon as there is an opening, even during the work day, we will hop in the car and run to the shore to watch the chaos of the competitive opening unfold.
Last week I had the privilege of hosting my life-long, best friend, Annie and her friend, Amy here in Sitka.
Annie and me in Totem Park, Yay!
Up for a little vacation, Annie and Amy headed up to experience Baranof Island. I enjoyed a bit of a “staycation” myself as we had the chance to housesit. Lounging in the hot tub on the porch in the sun is not too shabby for March in Alaska! And, for the first time in many months, I experienced what it felt like to be too hot. A rather unique experience that we all got to enjoy, was the carving of a new totem pole that is being raised on April 9th at Sitka National Historical Park. The totem is specifically designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Park here in town. The artist/designer is carving it himself along with a couple others and it is visible for everyone to learn about, watch, and even to participate! For our “community night” last week as a house, we headed down to the park to check it out!
If you want to see more pictures, they’re right here!
The design of the totem beautifully weaves together symbols of both the Native and the Russian history here with particular distinction. The raising of a totem pole is a special event, surrounded with ritual and ceremony, and I will not be missing this unique event on April 9th!
Annie, Amy, and I also meandered to the lookout on Gavan Hill and visited Baranof Island Brewing, where Annie learned that she still doesn’t like beer, but she does like cute, local breweries. Other activities with my lovely visitors included a picnic at John Brown’s Beach with a very scared little dog (Dipper, who I was housesitting for), building a fort in my living room, eating delicious bagels at Highliner Coffee Co. and fabulous sushi at Little Tokyo. It was a great visit of catching up with each other and exploring around the area. Any more visitors are always welcome!!
This past weekend, I also hiked Mt. Verstovia with my friend, Chris and ate fresh crab that was delivered to our door! Not too bad for a Saturday in Alaska!
I even managed to fit in a little sunbathing!
Gina scoops out the fiesty crab with a ladel. Always something eventful at the JV house!
And Nick goes to work killing it in our kitchen sink.
Life has picked up a bit since the sun is out more, the daylight hours are longer, and friends are coming to visit!! Many more adventures to come.