Thursday, January 23, 2014

Alaska Is Known For More Than Its Fish

I frequently travel to western Alaska for work, and I never get tired of the beautiful landscapes, nature, and people I see in that part of the world. I've seen a hopeless lone caribou surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves, huge brown bears catching salmon, and tens of thousands of fur seals lounging comfortably on the beach during a winter Bering Sea storm.  But earlier this week I saw something totally unexpected.

Unalaska / Dutch Harbor is known as one of the biggest fishing ports in the world. Only 3,500 people live there, but it's regularly the largest fish exporting port in North America by volume, and often by value. If you've ever eaten a fish stick, it probably came from Dutch Harbor.  And of course the port is known for its king crab fishery. But I guess the wave of marijuana legalization laws in states across this country must have spurred a new industry in this remote community in the Aleutian Islands. With regular 100+ mph winds, this is a place that's too stormy even to grow trees; I can't believe they're growing tropical plants.  So if they're not exporting... they must be importing?  I don't know, that's an awful big boat!

This is usually the part where the flight to Unalaska starts getting REALLY bumpy.
Here's the ship I saw anchored in Broad Bay yesterday, with one of Makushin Volcano's cinder cones in the background.

In case you didn't catch it, here's a clearer view of the ship.

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