July 28, 2021
On to Sitka!
We arrived early afternoon and after getting the boats secured, we trekked the one mile into town to find some grub. We walked around a little bit checking out some storefronts and then headed back to the boats to relax. Later that evening, we decided to fit in another walk and, with the help of a super-friendly local unloading his groceries, we made our way to the Russian blockhouse and Princess Maksoutoff’s Grave, located in the now-Lutheran claimed cemetery with only two other grave markers.
July 29, 2021
Today was a jam-packed day. We started off at Highliner Coffee for a quick bite and attempt to upload some long-overdue blog post videos – alas, to no avail! Thus, our posts are ever behind…
So… on to the Alaska Raptor Center.
There we saw eagles – both bald and golden, owls, hawks, and ravens. Most eagles were there for rehab due to injuries typically sustained due to human interference (whether directly or indirectly with manmade obstacles, like powerlines). There were four permanent resident eagles that had injuries preventing them from release, like wing damage that would not heal. It was interesting to read up on them and hear them chatter with each other. We hiked a small trail there where it was likely a large river otter that crossed the trail in front of Matt giving quite the momentary scare! At least it wasn’t a bear!
From there, we went across the street to the Sitka National Historical Park and Totem Trail with 18 totems and totem visitors center.
We were a bit beat after walking the park and trail, even with parts closed to bear sighting 5 days ago (see pic above), so hailed the Toad Taxi for a ride to the Fortress of the Bear, a rescue facility for cubs five miles outside of town. While a bit odd to view them in the converted waste-water treatment facility, the Alaska brown bears seemed to be having quite the good time playing in the water on this warmer day. There were three black bears ambling around too, one of which seemed to get on another’s nerves quite a bit!
After all of this excitement, we were ready for some food. Thankfully the Toad Taxi driver set up a pick-up time from the bear observatory and took us back to Sitka. We ate at Beak Restaurant, which turned out excellent. At first, all four of us were perhaps a bit skeptical of the menu but we all enjoyed our meals and even ordered all four desserts on the menu! (Oh the beer travesty! –>)
After quite the full day, it back to the boat for some, as our friend Donna journals, ZZZs @ 10pm.
July 30, 2021
Today, Matt tackled some boat projects and Tonia tagged along with Steve and Barbara on an errand and then they hit up Old Harbor Books and Back Door Café for a bit of lunch. The café was in the back of the bookstore and also had a door out the back to the alley side of the building. Steve and Barbara headed back to their boat so Tonia toured the Russian Bishop’s House for a bit of local history and then walked around Sitka and visited the old Russian Cemetery. The cemetery was pretty dilapidated with many headstones and markers dating back over a century, though there were some new markers within the last decade or so.
For dinner, the four of us went back to town for a meal courtesy the lovely Barbara at the Italian restaurant Mangiare. While we waited for our table, we had drinks at the bar and some nice banter with the bar tender. Our meal was great and we all felt very overstuffed – no room for dessert for sure!
July 31, 2021
Today started with a trip to local farmers’ market. While it was on the smaller side, there were lots of fresh veggies to select from. We strolled along the waterfront and made our way to the Mean Queen for a great brunch and bottomless (within reason) peach Bellinis. We then climbed to the top of Castle Hill (no buildings, just park now) for a nearly – minus the tree growth – 360-degree view.
The rest of the day was spent finishing up chores in preparation for cruising for a week in between Sitka and Ketchikan, that is, until happy hour. A friend of a friend passed along word of another couple also in Sitka: Laura & Kevin of Slow Boat (slowboat.com – if you have a boat and want to travel on a guided trip, their service sounds awesome). Happy hour with Steve’s Manhattans turned into dinner with Laura & Kevin and then we retreated to their boat Airship for a tour and drinks with another couple. A fun evening was had!