July 18, 2012
Motoring along at top speeds just a little over 40 miles per hour, the catamaran Fairweather whisked us from Juneau to Sitka in just over four hours. This is one of Alaska Marine Highway System’s newest, fastest and most maneuverable car ferry, perfect for navigating the narrow waters of Peril, Neva and Olga Straits.
After picking up a rental car, we checked in to Otter Cove B&B, the best lodging of our trip. I find that in Alaska, B&B’s are a bit rougher around the edges than in the Lower 48. Many people in Alaska seem to require multiple jobs to get by, and so Alaskan B&B’s don’t always have all the comforts and services available in the Lower 48. Otter Cove, however, does have many of these comforts and services, such as more welcoming host, WiFi, TV entertainment and a hot tub. Much of this is more than I need, but it is a nice way to end our trip. Unfortunately, Otter Cove B&B is now closed.
We spent most of the day at the Sitka National Historical Park, which protects the site of the Battle of Sitka, initiated by local Tlingit unsuccessfully trying to get their land back from occupying Russians in 1804. The park also protects a collection of Tlingit and Haida totem poles from native villages on Prince of Wales Island. While the original poles are housed in the Visitor Center, 18 poles were duplicated and now stand along a walking path through adjacent woods.
The first sunset of our trip occurred this evening, and what a spectacular one it was casting beautiful pink light over volcanic Mount Edgecumbe.