Heading to Hoonah

20150620 6865 chatham whale tail 2 rFrom 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.  20150622 7096 takatz bay waterfall vert rFrom 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.20150622 7151 humpback 2 r20150625 7142 hoonah trading company rWe 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.20150625 7141 hoonah russian orthodox church r20150626 7473 hoonah carvers rOur 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.20150626 7461 hoonah tribal house door rThe 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.20150626 7471 hoonah carved hats r20150625 7145 hoonah halibut hook and tiny canoe rThe 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.

This grouping even had a plum-colored feather duster worm.And this one is my favorite – an anemone’s mouth.

It was time to head to Glacier Bay for a different set of adventures… so stay tuned.20150626 7493 icy strait troller r

2 thoughts on “Heading to Hoonah

  1. That’s what happened to us once in Warm Springs so we anchored around the corner & came to the dock the morning after they all left. But then another group came in, 3 side tied off of us & the one next to us let us plug in on his boat! They must have repainted that store in Hoonah since we were last there!Enjoy Glacier Bay with H&N onboard!

  2. Robin and Jim,
    I just spent three hours looking at the parts of your blog that I have missed. It is incredible, far better than any book or web site that I have seen. Your pictures, videos, and text make me feel as if I have actually experienced the sites with you. It is both educationally informative and fun loving to read and see all you have to say about the area. You are gifted and adventuresome friends that I’m proud to know. Keep up the adventures!

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