Sitka is located on Baranof Island… in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rain forest in the world… Access to Sitka is by air or water only. While an influx of Russian Traders and American colonists in the 18th and 19th centuries has resulted in a mixed citizenry, the total Tlingit population has now rebounded…

The mission of the Kayaaní Commission is to preserve our spiritual way of life. The religion of the Tlingit was the Earth. The Tlingit are one with the Earth. (We are) here to preserve and protect traditional ways of our ancestral knowledge.

Read More

The journey from apprentice to master, in any field, may not be a straight one. But as Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph knows, the road – or the waterway – however winding it is, will surely be an interesting one.

Tommy’s journey started in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1964. That was when the Tlingit carver-to-be was born, as Naal xἁk’w, into the Ch’aak’/Gooch (Eagle/Wolf) moiety of the Kaagwaantaan (Wolf) clan.

Read More

The rebuilding of Crescent Harbor was completed in late 2020, after delays related to Covid-19 and the complexity of restoring electrical power to all the floats. All boats are back in their slips now.

“The boats which did not need electrical were back in place by May of 2020. After that, power was restored to each float, one at a time.” The final returns were in late summer. The project was “a challenge,” pronounces Harbormaster Stan Eliason. “Now we’re done; it’s time to move on.”

Read More

Some folks get their start in seafood processing at a tender age. Now a policy engagement director for the Sitka Conservation Society, Katie Riley worked in the Packing Room at Sitka Sound Seafoods (SSS) for two summers at age 18.

She started by printing labels that gave the weight, price, etc., to go on 50# boxes of frozen fish heading south – her title was “Labeler.” The second year she became “Labeler & Expediter.”

Read More

Pat Kehoe’s life might sound like a John le Carré book. We met one evening over a pint (after Pat’s cherished tap dance class) to talk about how art and life had evolved.

Trained as both artist and nurse, Pat came to Sitka from Washington in 1980, specifically to go fishing. She’d been working as an RN in a “very intense setting” and needed to do something different. She and a friend put their VW van on the ferry, got to Sitka on July 4th and settled in at Starrigavin campground.

Read More

Crescent Harbor is being re-built – installation of the timber floats is “going really well,” per Sitka Harbormaster Stan Eliason.

Eliason is hoping to get boats back into their stalls as soon as possible. The Harbor Dept. has a time-lapse camera recording the progress of the renovation and reviews the footage once-a-month. This will provide an archivable record of the project.

“The utility portion,” says Eliason, “will be substantially complete by June 12th. That will be the final portion.

Read More

These days, in marine science education in Southeast Alaska, turns out that “sharing” is the name of the game.

Much of the philosophy (and some of the structure) of scientific sharing that now exists in this place is largely the offspring of Sitkan Jan Straley. Having lived in Alaska since 1979, Straley is famous for her decades-long research, writing and photography about whales. Equally important, though perhaps less well-known, is Jan’s influence on at least two generations of Alaskan scientists.

Read More

This year’s cover artist was born and grew up outside Boston – interestingly, she notes, at the one-mile mark of the Boston Marathon.

Bethany Goodrich’s photo is striking to some because of its tranquility and the feeling of respect and connectedness between the salmon in the foreground, and the hand and mussels in the background.

Read More

Plans continue for the re-building of Crescent Harbor, located in the center of downtown. Said Sitka Harbormaster Stan Eliason, “We received $5 million from the State of Alaska (out of an anticipated $12 million).” The construction phase of the project should begin during the winter of 2019 with estimated completion by March of 2020.

Eliason thinks that “We are right on track timing-wise, but (the scope of the project now covers) only re-building the timber floats, rather than the whole harbor.”

Read More

During the 1980s, in the spring of each year, halibut fishing in Sitka resembled a combat zone. Massed on the fishing docks and back decks of longline fishing vessels were (mostly) men – deckhands and skippers surrounded by endless buckets of stainless steel circle hooks connected to miles-long poly-line, gearing and baiting-up to hunt the (up to) 400-lb. flat fish.

In those days the catch quotas were filled by any fishermen who wanted to fish and it was known as a “derby” fishery.

Read More

You’ll definitely see “a bird with attitude” when you look at the cover of this year’s Sitka Harbor Guide. So says artist Sandy Greba, who is lighting up a Harbor Guide cover for the second time in five years – this time with her watercolor painting, “Hooded Merganser.”

Sandy has a knack with color, light and water – you can see this both in “Hooded Merganser” and in her earlier cover art, “No Vacancy,” whose sea lions-atop-a-buoy-in-water graced the cover of the 2013 Harbor Guide.

Read More

The next major project slated for the Sitka Harbor Dept. is the re-building of Crescent Harbor, located in the center of downtown. A matching state grant has been applied for, to implement the project.

If the State of Alaska is unable to fund 50% of the project, bonding will have to occur.

According Harbormaster Stan Eliason, the harbor dept. now receives 100% of the fisheries tax. Fisheries tax collected for the 2016 season was $953,323.80.

Read More

Commercial fishing has always been at or near the top of the list of the most dangerous jobs in America. But after decades-long efforts from many organizations in and outside Alaska, as well as government safety requirements for vessels and mariners and a change in fishermen’s attitudes toward safety, the number of fatalities has been greatly reduced.

High among the groups helping to make fishing safer is the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.

Read More

The transient float is complete, providing 980 feet of additional moorage to the Sitka harbor system. The float, located off Thomsen Harbor just north of the Harbor office, also acts as a protective breakwater. The $5.8 million project was funded partially with a matching state grant.

Harbormaster Stan Eliason said he was pleased with the completed facility, already in use. “It will serve Sitka well,” he said.

A complete refurbishing of Crescent Harbor is the next project to be addressed, according to the Harbor Master Plan.

Read More

When herring return to Sitka Sound each spring, so does watercolorist Phil Long. This year’s Harbor Guide cover image is from Long’s painting “Net to Tender” that depicts an action scene from the Sac Roe fishery.

Long lives in Sitka for four months of the year during the herring and salmon seasons to oversee the movement throughout Southeast of refrigerated shipping containers. The containers are destined to be packed with fish and shipped, mostly to Asia. The rest of the year, he lives in Oakland, California.

Read More