October 6, 2018
On the map, Unalaska is a tiny dot far off in the middle of strong seas. But somehow, a diverse group of people make this remote island home, and share it willingly with visitors.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Unalaska is affixed geographically on the Aleutian chain, and historically in the midst of 10,000-year-old Unangan culture, and in the eras of Russian fur traders, Captain Cook, World War II, and of a commercial fishing industry that ranks above all others in the United States.
Unalaska, the small, wind-swept volcanic rock, draws researchers, tourists, adventurers, birders, World War II buffs, fishermen, and seasonal workers – so many that the population swells from about 4,000 in winter to nearly 10,000 in summer.
Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch fans often meet their favorite captains and crew, whether by chance in town or at the Carl E. Moses Boat Harbor where most of them are docked when not at sea.
For us, it just felt good to get back on land after a week of being at sea. Frankly there is not much to see in Dutch Alaska (Unalaska). We walked into town from the ship (about 2 miles) before it started raining (it rains a lot here) to the Safeway store which is a destination onto itself as it stocks many of the ships for their time at sea. Big store with lots of canned goods and supplies. There is another store nearby that also stocks the ships but had more hardware and such. While there is an old Russian Orthodox church to visit, it was about 3 miles up the road and it was pouring rain, so instead we opted for the Norwegian Rat Saloon for a pint of a local brew.
Aside from a small museum and some great hiking (did I mention it was pouring rain?), that’s about it for Dutch Harbour. However, the scenery is spectacular and we were treated to some sunshine once we were back on board the ship.
During supper, as we cruised out the bay, we saw several pods of humpback whales, always exciting to see their magnificence. After supper, we were treated to a BBC Film called The Earth. This segment featured Alaska and was accompanied by the ship’s musicians’. It was a wonderful performance.