Kodiak Island, Alaska – April 1999
Most visitors to Kodiak are from Alaska, they’re drawn by the excellent sport fishing and hunting. There’s no road to Kodiak so you must fly or take the ferry, which adds to the expense of visiting, so we don’t get many visitors from outside.
Kodiak is the second largest island in the US. You could leave the largest island in the US, Hawaii, and head straight north to Kodiak for about 2,160 nautical miles. Not much chance of getting lost, there’s nothing between Kodiak and Hawaii.
It could be an interesting way to travel, unfortunately there is no scheduled service. Most visitors fly from Anchorage or take the ferry from Homer or Seward (a car may be brought on the ferry).
Kodiak, the sixth largest city in Alaska, still has a population of only 7,000 and a total 14,000 in the borough. Kodiak is one of the largest fishing ports in the world, most of the residents are directly or indirectly employed in the fishing industry. Kodiak also has one of the largest US Coast Guard bases in the US.
The Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau has put together a very good web site with lots of information about Kodiak. English, the offical language is widely spoken, as well as Aleutiq (native), Tagalog, Illicano (Philipine dialects), Spanish, and Russian.
Activities center around the outdoors. Fishing and boating are the most popular. There are three State parks and campgrounds in Kodiak as well as a municipal campground, as well as hotels and B&Bs.
There are many historical and acheological sites in the area. It possible to volunteer to join an archeological dig. You are always welcome to join the Audobon Society on the weekly day hikes around the area.
Events are organized around the interests of the community, so each summer we have a carnival, a music festival, a rodeo, and the like.
WalMart is opening a big new store this weekend. For us this is a big deal, no kidding. How will a huge corporate retailer affect small local retailers?
Later this month we celebrate the annual migration of grey whales, check out the whale festival. Only the most avid whale watcher would actually come here to watch whales (I’d like to go to Baja to watch the whales instead), but it does illustrate the kind of activities we enjoy.
But if you are here anyway, its lots of fun. If you visit chances are there will be something going on. I do think the Visitor’s Bureau is stretching it a bit with Octoberfest however, go drink beer in Germany instead.
Someone here seems to have a foot fetish. Ok, this is for you. If had one pair of footwear to wear in Kodiak it should be Goodyear Xtra Tuffs, calf high rubber boots.
There are four major areas in Alaska:
The Southeastern Panhandle, the vast Interior, the Arctic, and the Southwestern Maritime areas.
Each of these areas could be further sudivided. Visitors are attracted by the magnificient scenery, widelife, and diverse native cultures.
Most visitors, with more money than time, join a cruise and/or tour to a few of the State’s major attractions. This is the best way to see as much as possible in a short period of time. For most other visitors, with more time than money, an extended camping trip driving up the AlCan Highway and/or the Alaska Marine Highway is the way to go. And there’s everything in between.
One of the better guides for people coming from outside* is The Milepost, it contains a mile by mile description of visitor services and attractions along the road system along the routes to/from and in Alaska. It’s about 80 % advertisements and 20 % information but useful nevertheless.
There’s about half a million of us in Alaska, and then there are 5 to 6 billion of you in the rest of the world. Geographically speaking, up here there is Alaska and there is outside.
We are generally very provincal in our worldview. I saw a map of the world printed in New York; NYC occupied about 50 % of the globe’s surface.
Printed here, Alaska would occupy 90 % of the globe’s surface; with polite mention of Canada, Hawaii, and not so polite mention of Seattle.