We pulled into Taku Harbor in the early afternoon under the warm Alaskan summer sun. It’s amazing how much the temperature jumps when the sun comes out in full force up here in Alaska. All of a sudden it felt like we’d been transported to the middle of summer. Christine, Peggy and Janet all braved the cold water and went in for a refreshing dip on this warm afternoon!
Taku harbor was the site of a native summer fishing village for 1,000s of years, yet the history that dominates the beach is that of the cannery days of the early 1900s. At one point in time over 500 people lived in this small cove working the Libby Salmon Cannery that caught and canned over one million salmon per year. Canneries like this had a devastating impact on the salmon fisheries during that time, using traps to catch nearly all of the salmon attempting to return to their natal streams to spawn. One of the first acts of legislature in Alaska was to ban fish traps such as these to try and better manage this rich resource.
It was fascinating to poke around on shore and see the abandoned bits of machinery and buildings left behind. It was another amazing reminder of the boom and bust past of Alaska’s economy as well as the power of nature to reclaim and recolonize these structures. Moss and trees grew out of the top of the old pilings that used to support the buildings. Old metal cogs and wheels are now rusted and covered in barnacles. The beach provides an interesting afternoon for those interested in artifacts of the past and in pondering what each small tidbit did or where it came from.
We were all on the dock this evening in Taku Harbor, which made it easy to socialize with one another and find some amazing small world connections between our crews, including the fact that Bob and Jeff attended the same high school only three years apart! Bonum Vitae hosted a fabulous potluck dinner for us all and we had a great time enjoying good food, great company, and reminiscing about our shared experiences on this adventure. The merriment continued as the sun set with brilliant pink colors and Helayne’s guitar was brought out and passed around as we enjoyed our last evening out with this incredible group of people.
P.S. Is Alaska on your bucket list? We can take you there! Reserve your spot on our 2022 Mother Goose AK Flotilla today.