We arrived in Sitka with a few days to explore before our shore leave back to Colorado. Upon arrival, the harbormaster put us on the “A float” in Old Thomsen Harbor where we quickly met Rob, owner of S/V Chantey, who oriented us to the neighborhood. He even offered us the use of his car to run errands, which immediately vaulted him into the “friendly native” category.
Looking around, the docks were abuzz with activity. Part of the salmon season opened in a few days, and the harbor was jammed with fishing boats gearing up for the catch. Just like the other towns in the Southeast, Sitka is all about fishing and here was ample evidence. Boat after boat was loading up on equipment, provisions, bait, and ice as crews assembled for departure. Then, as if a starting gun sounded, the boats vanished leaving the harbor much quieter.
Exploring the town, Jocelyn found a shop where she learned about harvesting salt from the sea. She came away with several pouches of salt, some with exotic flavors, to share as gifts. Later, we broke out the Bromptons and rode six miles out of town to a bear sanctuary called Fortress of the Bears where orphaned cubs were saved and raised to adulthood. But the highlight of our time in Sitka was celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary by enjoying a fine meal at Ludwig’s Bistro, which everyone said was the best restaurant in town. We agreed.
On July 2nd, Alaska Airlines carried us away from Sitka. Returning July 13th, I found Windleblo as I left her, sitting pretty in the water ready for action. I spent a day provisioning and got to join Rob for a beautiful four-mile hike to Beaver Lake in the hills south of town, capped off by a beer at Harbor Mountain Brewery, complete with a tour of the brewery operation by the owner Zach.
Next, Emily joins for the Leg Two of the season, a cruise from Sitka to Ketchikan.