One of the oldest towns in Alaska, Kodiak is located on the tip of Kodiak Island. It has a population of 6130 folks, who are employed in the fishing industry, as well as tourism. Kodiak is home to the Kodiak brown bear, their size increasing due to their available diet of salmon.
This city was also the first capital of Russian America in 1792, when the Russians arrived to begin sea otter hunting for their lush pelts. Other animals to be found here are Sitka deer, mountain goats, salmon and halibut, to name a few.
Kodiak was almost destroyed twice. The first time was in 1912 when the city was enveloped in ash from volcanic eruptions. The next time was in 1964 when the massive earthquake caused a 30 foot tsunami, which killed many town folk.
Today it is a leading commercial fishing port with canning facilities and freezing plants all through town. Our stay was short here from 7am to 2pm. Unless you take a tour, there is not a whole lot to do here in our opinion. That is, unless you like to photograph seals, sea otters, and eagles. Obviously, we do.
Tours here were still numerous starting with 5 adventure excursions for 2 ½ to 3 hours for $260 to $290. Ouch! Five sightseeing tours from 1 to 2 ¾ hours went for $40 to $120. There was one cooking tour, $130 for 2 ½ hours, and one deep sea fishing adventure for $370.
A complimentary shuttle was available to take you to the end of town and back. Or you could walk, which is what we did. The weather was quite overcast when we went to breakfast, but it did not look like rain. Wrong. By 9am or so, it began to drizzle, then rain pretty good. From watching the line of people going in line for the shuttle, we had to laugh, since rain was not in the forecast. Many were dressed in shorts and t-shirts, perhaps thinking that we would have a day like in Homer. Wrong.
At least we knew to pack umbrellas, and wear our waterproof coats and boots. Leaving the big camera on the ship, we packed the waterproof one. We covered most of the town within a couple of hours, seeing the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Center, Holy Resurrection Church, the oldest Russian Orthodox church, and the Baranov Museum. Going over to the harbor, we passed by a monument where we watched bald eagles flying across to the parklands of Near Island. Right alongside this wharf was the Star of Kodiak, a fishing vessel turned into a fish processing plant. Once again, we could see water coming from this ship with possible food for the birds and sea lions.
By the time we left this area, the rain had stopped. Getting lighter and lighter, it stopped and never re-appeared for the rest of our visit.
On the way back, we passed by the local stores in the center of town. There may have been a few souvenir shops, bakery, bars, coffee shops, and hardware store. You know, the basics. Since we had such a short time here, we did not seek out a restaurant for lunch. What we did notice later on was that some of the crew took taxis to the local Walmart, which was on the outskirts of town. These all purpose, one-stop shopping is a most popular place for everyone.
We ended up back at the ship before the dining room closed for lunch. A bowl of soup sure sounded good, as did a small salad, and burgers. The waiters here are so nice, and have gotten to know what we like, since we have been going to our same table we had while on the grand voyage. Widodo explained that every two weeks, he and his assistant changed tables, as well as change decks. So on this cruise, they have been here for breakfast and lunch, but will change after this trip ends. Dinner can be either open seating on deck four or fixed on deck five, and they will also rotate for that time slot too. Did we mention that their names are printed on a card, and placed with the table number on it? Big help for those of us who have a hard time reading nametags. This began when the Panama Canal cruise took us back to San Francisco last May. And we are sure that we wrote that the fellows have new daytime uniforms of white dress shirts, a tie, and khaki slacks. You cannot tell who is who now, because they are all dressed the same. But look really sharp.
The Amsterdam left the port on time at 2pm. Before we exited, a container ship docked behind us. The containers were being removed while we watched from the aft pool deck. Speaking of the outdoor pool, it has been emptied and netted. A few days ago, we noticed the water looked murky, almost silty. In the past, we have known them to use anything but fresh water in the pools. So we will have to investigate if this is so, or do they pump salt water in sometimes?
The sail away sure was neat since we saw more eagles, puffins, ducks, sea lions, and even sea otters. Lots of otters. Once we passed by Ft. Abercrombie State Park, a few miles out of town, we could see old bunkers carved in the hillsides, left over remnants from WWII. This area was a coastal defense station, hidden in the dense forest of trees, meadows, and cliffs.
It had started out dreary and wet, but the day ended up beautiful. Now we are sailing east, across the Gulf of Alaska, headed towards another glacier…..Hubbard.
We had a date for dinner tonight, as we met Bill & Leta at their usual table downstairs. Originally, the plan was for them to join us at table 65 upstairs. But something changed with those well-laid out plans, and they ended up at a table for two around the railing. In the meantime, our table was filled with 7 and eventually 8 guests. That sure did not work well. So, at least for one night, we got a table for four, and it was like being at home once again. During the grand voyage, we joined them on several evenings. One thing nice about a smaller table is that your food is hot, and the service quick. That doesn't always happen when there are 8 or 10.
The show tonight was a comedian named Carl Strong. If you chose not to go see him, there was always the Piano Bar player, David Anthony, or a movie in the Wajang. Happy hour begins again in the Crow's Nest at 10pm with dancing to Alia's tunes until the wee hours.
Another treat tonight had to be the sunset. It went down below the horizon shortly before 11pm. Sure is hard to get used to seeing daylight until well after that time. The days are flying by pretty fast now.
Bill & Mary Ann