We spent Memorial Day weekend exploring Kodiak Island with our friends, Rebecca and Brad. While we’ve all been eager to visit Kodiak since arriving in Alaska, our real motive for our visit was the Kodiak Crab Festival.
Our flight landed on a rainy Saturday morning and we got right to work exploring the island. Before hitting the crab festival, we toured the island a bit. Our first stop was a drive up Pillar Mountain to get the lay of the land.
The Kodiak Island Archipelago is a large group of islands about 30 miles from the Alaska Peninsula and 250 miles southwest of Anchorage. The archipelago is 177 miles long and encompasses nearly 5,000 square miles, roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. The island itself is the second largest island in the United States (next to Hawaii), and the 80th largest in the world, and has a population of 6,100 residents.
It is also home to the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, the country’s largest Coast Guard Station. During our visit, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to stationed on the island. Beautiful, but very isolated I imagine.
No visit to Kodiak would be complete without a visit to the Deadliest Catch boats in the marina.
The fishing industry is the most important economic activity on Kodiak; fisheries include Pacific salmon, Pacific halibut, and crab. Consistently ranked as one of the top three fishing ports in the US, Kodiak is the homeport to more than 700 vessels. (source).
Now onto the important stuff: the Crab Festival!
That would be a “Bruin Burger,” a deep-fried, hamburger filled pocket. Apparently, the Kodiak Sno-Bruins, a winter sports non-profit organization, sold over 5,400 burgers and volunteers start making them two weeks prior to the festival. Mmmmm.
Brad and Will eating their heart-attacks-in-a-bun.
And the ultimate feast:
A giant plate of King Crab Legs for $15.
In addition to incredible food, the festival held all sorts of parades, races and music performances. We missed most of the events, but made sure to stay for the survival suit races. Curious about just what these races, they turned out to be just what they sound like: timed races where teams of all ages scramble down a ramp, throw on survivail suits as fast as possible, swim (dog-paddle) to a survival raft, and then pull one another on board.
We worked off all of our festival food with a few tromps around the island. Our first hike was Termination Point, a gorgeous hike along the coast and through fairy-tale lush, green forest.
The Kodiak Bear population is estimated to include approximately 3,526, yielding an estimated archipelago-wide population density of 0.7 bears/square mile. Despite the staggering bear population, we only saw prints, scat and the remnants of many contented bear feasts, i.e. deer hooves, bones, and clusters of fur.
Rebecca’s foot for reference.
We did, however, see more bald eagles than we could count.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Kodiak and were reminded fondly of home.
The ocean smells, the lush green forests, fishing vessels, and ocean tide pools all made me a little homseick for the Pacific Northwest.