It’s been an overcast, brooding, low cloud type of day in Sitka, no real rain just a few sprinkles, the sun didn’t get a look in.

Sitka Pioneer Home. Photo Ray Penson
Sitka Pioneer Home. Photo Ray Penson

The harbourmaster provided a berth for another night, allowing a free day to do the tourist stuff.  I had a good walk around Sitka a couple of times.  There was a cruise ship in port and the place was quite busy with passengers.  Despite all the additional people around it didn’t feel crowded and the locals remained friendly and accommodating. What a contrast to Ketchikan.  Later in the evening when cruise ship had departed the streets were pretty quiet but there was a good buzz in the pub.  I was surprised to see smoking at the bar, took me back in time a bit.

In the middle of town there is an impressive old building, the Sitka Pioneers Home.  It has a bit of history and is on the National register of Historic places.  It houses elderly people and they have a craft shop where they sell stuff hand made on site.  In front of the building is an impressive totem.  It tells a story that is far too long to remember.  But – the frog and bear at the bottom came out the earth, the guy on top is the head of the past Russian American company sitting on the Russian Bear, the two headed eagle represents the Russian traders, the Indian is a chief who fought the Russians, it’s a story on a stick.

Totem Square, Sitka. Photo Ray Penson
Totem Square, Sitka. Photo Ray Penson

I also spent some time in the restored Russian Orthodox Bishops house.  The Parks Service have put on an historical display and videos etc – a fascinating insight into the goings on of the Russians and the Russian American company at the time.  Certainly those explorers, missionary’s, trappers, prospectors and traders must have been tough and resourceful.

Tomorrow I am on the go again.  I will top up with fresh water in the morning before heading out.  There is no hurry as I won’t be catching the tide through Neva Strait until six in the evening.  I will have to backtrack through Olga and Neva Straits, I don’t like backtracking but don’t really have an option if I am to continue going north.  If the weather is good I will cross Salisbury Sound and head outside of Chichagof Island the following day.

Logged 24th June 2016

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