Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Lookout Spot


When the kids were visiting over the Christmas break, Autumn said she wanted to go out and get pictures. We had one day when the sun came out and it just so happened to be at a time when I could go out, so we ran up to a spot that overlooks Port Frederick and back towards the old Whitestone logging camp. The last picture shows the downtown float and cold storage. When we first arrived in Hoonah the cold storage dock was half rotten and dangerous to walk up and down at low tide. A number of boats used to tie up to it, sometimes six or eight moored along side each other. It could be a real pain if you were the one tied to the dock and wanted to get out. That was long before the boat harbor was in existence. The breakwater is attatched to Graveyard Island. I believe the NOAA charts lists it as Pitt Island. Today it was once again used as a burial place. Karl Greenwald was laid to rest there. He used to commercial fish with his brother on a seine boat years ago. I had the pleasure of doing an interview with him and he told me that he was the only man alive who ever fell into North Inian Pass and survived. The skiff he was using to tow the seine away from the main boat was sucked down in a whirlpool, and of course he went down with it. They were fishing on a 19.5 foot tide at the time and the current was roaring. The currents there can reach velocities of eight to ten knots. It was only the grace of God that he survived. He was the fellow that named me No Fish Tom when I first started fishing here. I made the mistake of telling him I had lost the first three King Salmon I had ever hooked. He was merciless in his teasing. I'm going to miss having him around. He had a great sense of humor.
The top picture shows Port Frederick looking up towards Neka Bay. I was doing some research for a book and found out that a local native named Nee-Keh was the original claimer of Neka Bay. He kept a small cannon that he used to fire to signal the return of the fishing fleet. I knew that Port Frederick was named Brown Bear Bay by the Tlingits when they came here after being forced out of Glacier Bay by an advancing glacier, but I discovered that it was also known for a short time as Ku S'eil. It was named after a female slave named S'eil who had been drowned as a sacrifce.
On the other side of the breakwater, from Graveyard Island back into the bay a bit is a spot where quite a few people keep crab pots. Dungeness crabs seem to thrive in that spot. I'm always surprised by the number of crabs that come out of there. When they first started making the small boat harbor years ago I remember looking down and seeing crabs all over the bottom. I think I caught a few with a long handled net. I have a neighbor who keeps a crab pot in the summer and usually offers us some. If only I had a generous neighbor with beef cattle to butcher, I could have surf and turf.

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