From Red Bluff we tried to stop in Warm Springs Bay for a nice soak in the geothermal pools, but the seiners were waiting for an opening in the fishery and the place was packed so we headed a few miles north to Takatz Bay – a gorgeous place with waterfalls. From Takatz we decided to head directly to Hoonah, an 81 mile trip, but we were able to get a short-notice permit for Glacier Bay so it made sense to get as close to the Park as possible. Of course we saw whales along the way.We like Hoonah – it has a friendly, laid-back vibe. We caught up on news with the Harbormaster Sherry and her assistant, and we had lunch at our favorite stop there – Chipperfish. The barge had just arrived so we could get some fresh produce at the Trading Company – part grocery store, part hardware and miscellaneous store, and fuel dock.
Hoonah is a Tlingit community, and it is where the Huna Tlingit resettled after the Little Ice Age pushed them out of their ancestral lands at the mouth of Glacier Bay. They have been in this area for over 10,000 years.
Any good Tlingit community has a Russian Orthodox church, owing to the inclusiveness of the church when it began to establish itself in Alaska. Rather than shun the tribal customs, the church adapted to them and continues to be a dominant religion among the Tlingit people today.Our favorite folks in Hoonah are the carvers, working for several years on all the components of a Tribal House to be constructed in Glacier Bay National Park in the next year. They are amazing, talented, interesting people, and we always learn things when we listen to them talk about the carvings, the traditions, the attitudes, and their interest in promoting their culture and history. This will be the front door of the Tribal House, and the two large symbols are the Raven and the Eagle – representing the two Tlingit moities.The carving shed has big totems and small pieces, as well as wall panels. Those huge wall panels have all been sealed from the weather by using the adze to close the pores of the wood – a tremendous amount of work, on top of the designs and artistry. Each piece, each detail has a purpose and a story.The Park Service is slowly recognizing the significance of the Huna Tlingit’s tribal lands that it now calls Glacier Bay National Park, and it’s encouraging to see the Tribal House project, but more can be done.
We ran into our friend Howard, a retired Alaska State Trooper, who has lots of great stories and a lot of good information about trolling and salmon since he’s now fishing commercially. Using his special technique for bleeding the salmon, his kings were the most gorgeous and perfect fish.
I’m finally getting more familiar with my new underwater camera system, so I spent some time photographing the life around the dock. The plumose anemones weren’t as big as in Little Port Walter, but they were healthy and plentiful.