Harbor Notes 2024

The Sitka Harbor Dept. did not receive federal “Port Infrastructure Development Program” (PDIP) grant funding in 2023, so “We are re-applying again in 2024,” says Harbormaster Stan Eliason. Grant results will not be known until fall, 2024.

These funds would be used to upgrade electrical systems at Eliason Harbor. “The pilings have 22 years of life left,” said Eliason, who would like to get “at least 20 years of life from the electrical system. In a perfect world, the pilings, electrical and everything else would have the same service life expectancy.”

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know about NOAA

Ask any Sitkan – or indeed, any Alaskan (especially fishermen and mariners) — if they have heard of NOAA, and they will likely respond with a light in their eyes and a nod of their heads.

The acronym “NOAA” stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  This federal agency was organized in 1970 under the US Department of Commerce.

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Memories of Serving as Medical Officer Aboard a NOAA Vessel in the Late 1980s

My month on the NOAAS Oceanographer (R 101) in the South Pacific was indeed most memorable.  I still have my file from that adventure, which was in the late 1980s, maybe 1987 or ‘88.

The USPHS called for volunteer physicians from the Commissioned Corps and the Clinical Director at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital where I served in Sitka approved my TDY.

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Electric Vessel Update 2024

Imagine: You pilot your boat quietly into a secluded bay, savoring the perfect reflection of the shoreline mirrored in the still surface.

The only sound is the swish of water along the hull. You step out onto the back deck and take a deep breath of clear crisp air—ahh, clean and quiet! Wait…no engine rumble echoing off the forested shore?

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EV’s, the Wave of the Future? Electric vehicles? No, electric vessels!

Electric cars are increasingly commonplace these days. And electric trucks – including models from Ford, GMC, and dedicated EV manufacturer Rivian – are finally rolling off the assembly line. But what about boats?

Small electrically powered boats have actually existed for over one hundred years! Larger vessels such as emissions-free commercial ferries — pioneered in Scandinavia — have been silently sailing the seas for at least 7 years now, in a variety of configurations and stages of conversion. Norway’s Yara Birkeland – the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship – entered service in spring of 2022.

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Q&A with Cover Artist Pat Kehoe

I’ve been fascinated by the view of the historic Fisherman’s Quay building with the boats moored out front and the Sisters Mountains looming above. It is challenging because of the scale of the mountains and the way the light flattens the buildings.

I’ve worked on different versions many times and about ten years ago finally felt that I did justice to the scene. I’ve known and loved (the boat’s late skipper) Larry Calvin for years because of his delightful nature and tireless support of this wonderful Tongass forest where we have both been fortunate to spend our time.

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Harbor Notes 2023

The Sitka Harbor Department’s plans for 2023 include, first and foremost, replacement/repair of Eliason Harbor’s electrical infrastructure.

Says Harbormaster Stan Eliason, “This is a high priority, and we are currently in the midst of applying for a federal grant for the project. We should hear back by October of this year.” Funds are to be obligated by September 30, 2026, and expended within five years of obligation.

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Fishing and Sustainability: A Woman in the Forefront

The foremost expert on the topic of fishing and sustainability in Southeast Alaska might just be Sitka’s own Linda Behnken. Many in the state – and the country – would agree with this assessment. As a longtime commercial fisherman, executive director of The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) and “birth mother” of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust (ASFT), Behnken carries a lot of street – or wave – cred.

Behnken sees two significant challenges to sustainability. The first – and perhaps most daunting – of these is Climate Change.

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Four More Sitka Women in the Forefront

Beth Short-Rhoads – Fish to Families and Schools

Coral Pendell – Keeping the Boat “in Good Trim”

Renee Trafton – Unconventional Taste of Southeast Alaska

Louise Brady – Protecting the Foundation of Life and Home

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