Jun 25, 2019 - National Geographic Venture
We woke to an absolutely bluebird sky this morning as we sailed through Frederick Sound. The water was calm, and the journey was tranquil. We spotted one humpback whale in the distance, a few marbled murrelets, and two red-throated loons floating in the water. As we were sitting down to breakfast, we passed a channel marker with sea lions hauled out on it, warming in the morning sun as we entered the harbor of Petersburg.
Petersburg was established in 1897 by Peter Bushman, a Norwegian pioneer. When he saw the pure clean ice from LeConte Glacier could be used to pack fish, he built the Icy Strait Packing Company, with a dock and a sawmill. What began as his personal homestead slowly grew into a town, populated largely by other Scandinavians, and by 1920, 600 people lived in Petersburg. Today, the town boasts a year-round population of about 3,000 residents. Yet the history of this place began long before his arrival, with the Tlingit Indians living in the area 2,000 years ago. Today, about 10% of the population is Native Alaskan, combined with many families of Norwegian descent. It continues to be a stronghold for commercial fishing in Southeast Alaska.
After docking and breakfast, we began our full day of exciting activities. There were dock walks to learn about the marine life living under the docks and on the pilings, and a photo walk to capture the essence of a small fishing town with Norwegian history. Another adventurous walk provided was an aerobic hike. Others explored the muskeg bog to learn about the special plants that grow there. Flightseeing was a popular choice on this sunny day, as was free time to explore the town more, or spend some time relaxing on the ship. People returned from their hikes, walks, and flightseeing with smiles on their faces—a great time was had by all. We closed out a great day with a wonderful fresh crab feast of Dungeness crab as we sailed out of Petersburg back into the blue waters of Frederick Sound!
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