Monday, July 16, 2007

Hoonah, Alaska at Icy Strait Point

This is a little village that is all about community. I enjoyed learning all about their village. Right after you get off the ship there is a welcome center chocked full of history about their old fishing history. fishing was the big industry for them until they turned to tourism. About 4 years ago, the town decided to approach Royal Carribbean about making their port a stop on a cruise. They all invested and are all 100% shareholders, with everyone working various jobs, etc. Our guide on the "brown bear search" said that this is the first year they've posted a profit. it was really well organized and the people were so friendly. there was a tribal dance show at the tribal center and then inside the welcome center were various check in points for the land excursion that you might have signed up for. we signed up for the Ziprider (i'll blog that one separately) and the "brown bear search". the first photo is of bear tracks i took on the road to our brown search.
The brown bear searched took us back up into the forest of the island looking for the coastal brown bear. a beautiful viewing platform was created for us to walk out on. apparently it was a high school project that the boys built. it was a lot of work, so i give them credit. we walked by bench that had been attacked by a bear. it had been chewed and clawed. the walk was beautiful and we ended up on a looking platform over water. But unfortunately there were no bears to be seen.
After the search was over, the boys went back to the ship and i went into to see the little town of Hoonah. I took the shuttle in and got dropped off by the fishing port. the guide told me to take a walk down the boat launch and to look across the bay where i would be able to see a bounty of bald eagles, which i did. it was awesome! there were several eagles pairs down there and i enjoyed watching them sitting and soaring.
Next i started heading back to the ship, since i was at the edge of the town. i took pictures along the way stopped at the grocery store for some goodies and eventually made my way to the little town cementary where i had seen some lovely angels and even something that looked like a concrete bear statuary. after spending some time there, it was time to get back to the ship, as it started to rain. a drizzle at first, but the more i walked in it, the wetter i got! so i caught a tender back to the ship, had some lunch and then hung out until dinner time. the dinner that night was "formal", so we were all getting dressed up and would be getting our pictures taken. i'm going to scan some of the formal pictures and post them later.

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