Sitka - First Capital of Alaska

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    Sitka Alaska Harbor

    Harbor in Sitka, Alaska
    Harbor in Sitka, Alaska. Linda Garrison

    Sitka is the only port on Alaska Inside Passage cruises that faces the open Pacific. Small ships like The Boat Company Mist Cove can navigate the very narrow Peril, Olga, and Neva Straits connecting the Chatham Strait with the Pacific Ocean before reaching Sitka. Larger ships arrive via the sea, anchor in the harborĀ and tender passengers into town or dock outside of town and provide a shuttle into downtown Sitka.

    Sitka is celebrated as the site of Alaska's discovery in 1741. Sitka was the site of Alaska's transfer to the U.S. in 1867 and remained Alaska's capital until 1912. Sitka retains much of its Russian heritage, and St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church is reminiscent of the town's past.

    Sitka is an interesting port for walking or taking a wildlife watching boat ride, and it also has numerous outdoor activities such as salmon fishing from either a charter boat or from the shore near the Katlian River.

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  • 02 of 22

    Sitka Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska

    Sitka Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska
    First Retirement Home in Alaska Has Prospector Statue in Front Sitka Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Pioneer Home is in downtown Sitka near the O'Connell Bridge.

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  • 03 of 22

    O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, AK

    O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, AK
    Modern Bridge Connects Baranof Island and Japonski Island O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, AK. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The O'Connell Bridge was built in 1971 and links the town of Sitka on Baranof Island to the airport and Coast Guard Station on Japonski Island.

    The 1,255-foot John O'Connell Bridge was the United State's first vehicular cable-stayed girder spanned bridge. It has four 100-foot-high steel pylons from which stretch a set of tight cables, each holding a section of the bridge deck in place.

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    Mount Edgecombe (or Mount Edgecumbe) - Dormant Volcano near Sitka, Alaska

    Mount Edgecombe (or Mount Edgecumbe) - Dormant Volcano near Sitka, Alaska
    Volcano Has Not Erupted in 8000 Years Mount Edgecombe (or Mount Edgecumbe) - Dormant Volcano near Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This photo of Mount Edgecombe was takin in August 2008 and the next photo was taken in August 2007.

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  • 05 of 22

    Mount Edgecombe (also spelled Edgecumbe) near Sitka, Alaska

    Mount Edgecomb (also spelled Edgecumbe) near Sitka, Alaska
    Dormant Volcano Towers Over Sitka Mount Edgecomb (also spelled Edgecumbe) near Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Mount Edgecombe looks much like Mt. Fujiyama in Japan. This photo was taken in August 2007 and the other photo in August 2008.

    Foy Nevers, our salmon fishing guide, told us a funny story about Mount Edgecombe, which last erupted over 8000 years ago. Recently, some local citizens decided to play an April Fool's Day joke on the town. They put a bunch of old tires into the caldera of Mount Edgecumbe and set them on fire in the early morning of April 1. The residents of Sitka awoke to a smoking volcano! The pranksters got into trouble and ended up footing the bill to remove the remains of the tires form Mount Edgecumbe. I have to admit, it was a great joke, albeit an expensive one!

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  • 06 of 22

    Sitka, Alaska

    Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner
    Sailing into Sitka, Alaska Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 07 of 22

    Sitka Sound at Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner

    Harbor at Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner
    Sitka Was Russian Capital of Alaska and Retains its Russian Flavor Harbor at Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 08 of 22

    Sitka Sound at Sitka, Alaska

    Harbor at Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner
    Sitka Was Russian Capital of Alaska and Retains its Russian Flavor Harbor at Sitka, Alaska from the Seven Seas Mariner. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 09 of 22

    Linda Garrison and Coho (Silver) Salmon Caught Near Sitka, Alaska

    Linda Garrison and Coho (Silver) Salmon Caught Near Sitka, Alaska
    About.com Cruises Guide Lands Her First Salmon Linda Garrison and Coho (Silver) Salmon Caught Near Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Fishing for Alaska salmon in the Sitka Sound was great fun! The four of us landed 10 coho salmon about the size of this one and lost several others.

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  • 10 of 22

    Ronnie Garrison and a Coho (Silver) Salmon

    Ronnie Garrison and a Coho (Silver) Salmon Caught Near Sitka
    Salmon Fishing in Sitka, Alaska Ronnie Garrison and a Coho (Silver) Salmon Caught Near Sitka. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    My husband loves to fish, but this was his first salmon fishing experience in salt water. We had a great time and actually caught some fish.

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  • 11 of 22

    St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska

    St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska
    Sitka Was Russian Capital of Alaska and Retains its Russian Flavor St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 12 of 22

    St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska

    St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska
    Russian Orthodox Church Goes Back to Russian Roots of Sitka St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, Alaska

    O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, Alaska
    Bridge Links Sitka with Airport O'Connell Bridge in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 14 of 22

    Ling Cod Fish in Sitka, Alaska

    Ling Cod Fish in Sitka, Alaska
    Cleaning Station in Sitka Has All Sorts of Interesting Fish! Ling Cod Fish in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    One of the other boats at the fish cleaning station in Sitka brought in this interesting ling cod. It sure was ugly.

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  • 15 of 22

    Silver Salmon (Coho Salmon) Catch in Sitka, Alaska

    Silver Salmon (Coho Salmon) Catch in Sitka, Alaska
    Cleaning Our Salmon and Preparing for Flash Freezing Silver Salmon (Coho Salmon) Catch in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    We cleaned our 10 salmon, dropped them off at the processor, and received the fillets flash frozen at home on the designated day. They are delicious!

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  • 16 of 22

    Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska

    Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska
    Pioneer Home Is One of the Oldest Retirement Communities in the USA Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 17 of 22

    Steller Sea Lion at Sitka, Alaska

    Stellar Sea Lion at Sitka, Alaska
    Stellar Sea Lion at Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    I was worried that the sea lion would choke with this big piece of fish scraps in his mouth!

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    Totem at the Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska

    Totem at the Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska
    Totem at the Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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  • 19 of 22

    Steller Sea Lion and Lighthouse in Sitka, Alaska

    Steller Sea Lion and Lighthouse in Sitka, Alaska
    Sea Lion "Plays" with Fish Scraps Before Eating Stellar Sea Lion and Lighthouse in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This sea lion played with his food for quite a while before eating, much like a dog or cat will with a dead squirrel or mouse.

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  • 20 of 22

    View from the City Park in Sitka, Alaska

    View from the City Park in Sitka, Alaska
    Sitka Was Russian Capital of Alaska and Retains its Russian Flavor View from the City Park in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Sitka Steller Sea Lion Feeding on Fish Cleaning Leftovers

    Sitka Stellar Sea Lion Feeding on Fish Cleaning Leftovers
    Salmon Fishing in Sitka, Alaska Sitka Stellar Sea Lion Feeding on Fish Cleaning Leftovers. Sitka Alaska Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This steller sea lion liked hanging out near the fish cleaning station because he can always find a few scraps for a meal.

    It was fun to watch this steller sea lion shaking and tearing his food before swallowing it.

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  • 22 of 22

    City Park in Sitka, Alaska

    City Park in Sitka, Alaska
    Sitka Was Russian Capital of Alaska and Retains its Russian Flavor City Park in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Photo (c) Linda Garrison