August 7, 2020
I’m sitting in my living room looking out at the rain this first week of August. Fall is coming and I’m dreaming of that last week of July. A week that confirms for me that Southeast Alaska is the only place I want to call home.
The week started with rain and ended with three absolutely spectacular days, sunny and warm. Warm? No — HOT. On Friday it reached 88 degrees, tied for the record. It was in the 60s and 70s the rest of the week. Sunday’s inch and a half of rain greened things up for the rest of the week.
Twice a year Sitka Sound comes alive — teeming. In the spring the Herring come in to spawn. They bring whales, sea lions, eagles and fishermen with them. At July turns toward fall the Salmon come in to prepare for their spawning runs. They bring whales, sea lions, eagles and fishermen with them.
I saw my first salmon in Indian River last week of July as well as bear scat along the stream edges. They came to eat the ripe berries while waiting for the fish. Eagles sat in the trees along the streams, watching. Sea gulls rested on the gravel bars at the mouths of the streams, and a pod of orca cruised the sound picking off sea lions. Fishermen were trolling for coho, and the seiners were waiting for the recovery fishery. (My next post will be about that.)
A Facebook post told us that an Orca pod was working Silver Bay. Along with much of the rest of the town we lined the Silver Bay bike and walking path watching them hunt the sea lions. An Orca grabs a lion and dives with it, drowning the beast. Along the shore we saw one sealion in stealth mode. Its breathing was unusually silent as it glided silently by, hugging the shoreline.
Families packed Sandy Beach, enjoying the brisk sea water on the incoming tide, waves rolling over the sun heated sand making swimming almost pleasant. On the park strip along Crescent Harbor Sitka Cirque set up their tripod with hanging silk ribbons and the acrobats practiced their breathtaking routines to the pleasure of walkers like me.
Two evenings we joined friends on decks, at a social distance, with takeout food, waiting for the evening clouds to gather for photo worthy sunsets. We don’t need to wait as long as we did at the beginning of the month. Sunset comes nearly an hour earlier than it did on July first.