Thursday, August 23, 2012

Arriving and Leaving Kodiak, AK

Today was the key day of our cruise – the reason we took this cruise.  To see Kodiak, where Jeff was born and spent a good chunk of his childhood.  This photo was actually taken by Jeff, as we rolled into Kodiak very early (before sunrise).  I have to admit, I was still snoozing!

To make it official, proof that we really were in Kodiak!! Yea !!

Now, not only am I up, but the rest of the town is waking up, too!Here’s another view of a very picturesque fishing town in Alaska, taken from our ship.

I love this shot.We had to walk about a mile along what’s called cannery row to get from our ship to the center of town.Along the way, I looked up, and saw these misty trees along what seems to be a ridge line.I don’t think it really was a ridge line – it’s just that the rest of the hill/mountain and trees disappeared into the foggy mist!

Here’s another misty photo. Again, looking up (the mountain begins to climb right at the pier!), I caught this fireweed bloom.And, in the background, you can barely make out other grass fronds and trees.What a lovely backdrop they made for this bloom!

Every time we were coming into port, we had to have a pilot“help” the captain of the ship safely dock and then undock when we were leaving.Generally, they meet us at the beginning of the bay or harbor close to the town and the pilot transfers from the pilot boat to our ship, and then when we are leaving, at about the same spot in the bay/harbor, the pilot transfers back to the pilot boat.Here’s a shot of the transfer happening.If you look closely, you can see the pilot hopping off the temporary walkway.The interesting thing about this is that the ship doesn’t stop to accomplish this.We slow down; the pilot boat matches its speed to ours, and then sides right up to our ship.It could be very dangerous if they don’t do it right, but clearly everyone doing this is very experienced.Not sure this would be a good “on the job”learning experience, tho!

I just had to include this shot.Can you see the little white “X” at the bottom of the photo?That marks the beginning of one of the runways at the Coast Guard station.Yes, it’s right up on the shoreline.However, the other interesting thing is where the runway ends – yes, it really does go all the way to the base of that mountain!Well, actually, there is a public road between the end of the runway and the mountain.There is even a road sign there warning drivers about “jet blasts” – no kidding! Can you imagine being late for an appointment because you had to stop while jets took off, so you didn’t get blown off the road?LOL!!Also, Jeff said that there are very strict procedures that pilots have to follow to abort any landings on this runway.And, if they don’t follow the procedures correctly?Well, let’s just say there are a number of planes that have been recovered or are still somewhere on that mountainside.

Enjoy (not having to use this runway on a regular basis)!

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