Category Archives: Ports of Call

Commercial Fishing Video Of The Day | Ports Of Call | Astoria, OR


I hardly took any footage during the FisherPoets Gathering, so here is a slice of life filmed today while exploring the Astoria waterfront.  The epic history of Astoria really amazes me.  Most of the day, I was trying to imagine the city nearly a 100 years ago.  If only the docks could talk…

Ports Of Call | Craig, Alaska | The Key To The Coast


The history of Craig, Alaska is tied closely to commercial fishing and logging.  Over the years, Craig has remained a fairly quaint community, with a population of about 1500 residents.  The true treasure of Craig is in the pristine location.  Numerous commercial fishermen flood the region for close access to the west coast of Prince Of Wales Island and the rich ocean waters that surround the neighboring islands.  Seiners and trollers cherish the “ocean fresh” fish that swarm along the coastal regions.  Sport fishermen also relish the quick access to some of the best King salmon fishing in Alaska.  Of course, Craig sounds like just another sleepy fishing town in Southeast Alaska, but there is a more mysterious side.  Stay tuned for an upcoming Strange Tales post in honor of Halloween that highlights some of the mystery surrounding this simple little town.

Ports Of Call | Port Townsend, WA | The City Of Dreams

Port Townsend has a rich maritime history and is considered a U.S. National Landmark because of the Victorian housing boom that occurred in the late 19th century.  Located on the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, the town was expected to be the largest port on the west coast.  Hence the name, City of Dreams.  Unfortunately the great railroad expansion of the west coast avoided Port Townsend and the Great Depression pushed the town into an even greater slump.  Over the years, the picturesque town attracted many artists and has developed a unique culture all its own.

Recently, the town has become a thriving tourist attraction and a popular maritime harbor.  The Wooden Boat Festival highlights the regions rich history of boat building and nautical art.  Also, the presence of a TraveLift BFM, which can lift even the largest vessels,  brings many of Alaska‘s fleet to its dry docks every preseason.  So, next time you are in the Puget Sound region, consider visiting the City Of Dreams.  You might even be lucky enough to show up during the Strange Brewfest!

Photo Mar 03, 1 56 36 AM




Ports Of Call | Pelican, AK | “Closest To The Fish”

Pelican is one of the most remote towns in Southeast Alaska, it’s located in Lisianski Inlet on the north end of Chichagof Island. The next closest city is Sitka, Alaska, which is to the south. The town was originally founded by Kalle “Charlie” Raatikainen and his fish packing vessel the “Pelican.” Click here, for a full history on this iconic village. These days, Pelican is a prime destination for trollers because of its quick access to the coast of Alaska and the bountiful Fairweather fishing grounds. In recent years, the cold storage has closed and, a number of sport fishing lodges have popped up to drive the tourism industry. No gigantic cruise ships make their way to this region, making it a truly unique destination. Travelers are greeted by incredible views of the Fairweather mountain range and rustic boardwalk streets. The social mecca of Pelican is Rose’s “World Famous” Bar. Learn a little bit more about Rose’s bar here. If you are looking character and charm in a quaint alaskan fishing village, look no further that Pelican, Alaska.


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Ports Of Call | Ketchikan, Salmon Capitol Of The World


Two words… Liquid Sunshine! Ketchikan is the southernmost town in southeast Alaska. Located in the Tongass Narrows, Alaska’s first city is truly a rainforest. Average rainfall is nearly 153 inches per year. The main industries are focused on tourism these days. However, commercial fishing has played a huge part in the history of Ketchikan. Three major salmon processors are located throughout the town and provide much of the world with amazing wild Alaskan salmon. In the summer the town buzzes with activity as the tourists, fishermen, and cannery workers flood the town. The beauty of Ketchikan lies in its old town style comprised of numerous wooden boardwalks throughout the city. Alaska would be lost without Ketchikan’s history and heritage. Make sure to find your way to little corner of the world. Just hope that the sun is shining!



Grunnlovsdagen | The Vikings Are Lose | Petersburg’s Little Norway Fest 2012

Every year in May, the little fishing village of Petersburg, Alaska celebrates the local Norwegian heritage. The town is transformed for a four day festival that embraces the inner viking in all of us. Check out the local webcam and you might see a few vikings roaming the streets.  Click thru on the KFSK link to hear local audio.  Enjoy the youtube pick from last season’s festival.  Ha en fin søttende mai!


Main Street will be lined with concessions and food booths. Vikings and Valkyries will parade through the streets with their ship, the Valhalla and their Viking mobile. Other residents will show off their traditional Norwegian costumes called Bunader. All this and more is coming up as the 54th annual Little Norway Festival goes into high gear on its second day – Friday, the 18th. Matt Lichtenstein asked Festival committee co-chairs Holli Flint and Katie Eddy for a preview of Friday’s schedule.

via Little Norway Festival in swing | KFSK.

Ports Of Call | Sitka By The Sea

In the land of the midnight sun, one place stands out among the various visual treasures that make up southeast Alaska. “Sitka by the Sea” is truly one of the most scenic places in Alaska. Nestled into a precarious rock pile on the west side of Baranof island, Sitka is framed by majestic mountains and an awe inspiring volcano known as Mt Edgecumbe. With over 1100 slips, Sitka is home to nearly every kind of fishing boat. Every year in the spring, herring return to Sitka Sound to create one of nature’s greatest events. The spawn is so huge that its milky tint can even be seen from space. Weither your into fishing or not, Sitka offers many great outdoor adventures. The numerous islands make for great exploring and if your lucky you might even find Pirate Cove. Hiking is a must for every visitor and Totem Park is a amazing place to start. The entire park is a historic site and it offers a unique perspective on the vast history of Sitka, which was once know as the “Paris Of The West”


Ports Of Call | Elfin Cove | Alaska’s Mystical “Gunk Hole”

Since 2007, Elfin Cove has been one of those rare southeast alaska destinations that lives vividly in my mind. We managed to lose our anchor on the F/V Rose Lee that summer, which somehow lead us to the port of Elfin Cove. Nestled into a southern little gunk hole in Icy Strait, Elfin Cove is home to some of the best views of the awe inspiring Fairweather Range. Oh yeah, just across the strait is a little bay you may have heard of, known as Glacier Bay! It only took me a few moments to roam the harbor and traverse the various boardwalks, but it seems like it has taken an eternity for me to get back to Elfin Cove. Another summer of salmon searching is just around the corner and you never know what ports you may call home for the summer.

The history of Elfin Cove is just as peculiar as the destination. Here’s the lowdown according to

Ernie Swanson was a visionary who saw the need for a community in Elfin Cove. He witnessed the fish camps the natives established each season. The fish were here and all else could bebuilt to support this industry. He recruited different people with skills needed to develop a healthy community. Ernie had a large floathouse he used for his fox farm on Three Hill island which he brought to the cove to live on while he was buying salmon at what’s now called Mikes Island. In those days the fish had to be split and down (Mild-Curing) and packed in heavy wooden boxes which were made of planks 2′ x 4′ x 1′ deep. These boxes were made out of 2″ planks with rope handles in each end. These boxes soon became called totes as they were then loaded onto the “packer” which was simply a boat to haul them to thecannery. The boxes would be emptied and food stores brought back in them. Ernie had all the “ships stores” in his float house. Ernie came to Alaska on a sailing vessel as a “cabin boy”. To clean the bottom of these ships required a sandy beach to lay them on, fair weather and two tides to get both sides. Because of the combination, cleanings were erratic. He used to raiserutabagas at Glacier Bay; went broke, then tried fox farming on Three Hill. The main part of Cove Lodge (Next to Mourants) was originally another fox farm building, and was floated to the cove and winched up the beach to where it stands today.

In 1942 Thelma (later to be Peterson) and Fred Folette (Louise Mourant’s folks) came to the Cove for fishing. Bob and Louise Mourant came in 1957 to runthe Oil Dock. Rose and Hazel had a sewing bee on top of the. Ruth Swanson had a bunch of wine they got into. Bessie was all dressed up (as usual). On her way home, she fell off the boardwalk and got muddy. When she walked in the house, Roy thought she’d been to a “smoker” rather than a “sewing party”. Bessie Elliott was a “working woman” and Roy Elliott was her bouncer. Ernie was impressed with her energy & convinced them of the opportunities available here to get out of her line of work as she was a mature woman. There was a need for a restaurant in his new town. So the first cafe’ wasbuilt on pilings between Patti’s smoke house and the creek. A little shack was put up a little above the walk next to the creek and water from the creek was piped thru and this was Elliotts’ meat storage. They operated this cafe’ until the early 50s. Ruth Swanson had all the qualities Ernie needed in a woman. Ruth had been reared on the east coast with the advantages of the upper class but was considered an old maid for she was 30 yrs old and unmarried. Ruth was very tolerant of people and did well in theCove. She arrived here the same year as Bessie and at that time they were the only two women around. A post office was established in 1935 with RuthSwanson as Postmaster. She didn’t want it called “Gunk Hole“. One morning as Ruth was sitting having her morning coffee and looking at the head of the cove she commented to Ernie how mystical the morning was: “With all the mist in the trees you can almost see little Elves dancing about.” He agreed and Ruth said we should call it the Elfin Cove qpost office and so the village got its name.