Mother Goose fleet awoke early to the call of eagles high above and the smell of Sitka Spruce on the wind. Ready for another day, the fleet weighed anchor. We left the forested seclusion of Cannery Cove and headed for the bustling fishing town of Petersburg. On the way, our crews got a chance to utilize their mariner skills, as crossing Fredrick Sound proved to be slightly choppy. In no time, the fleet crossed the sound and were up and over the top of Kupreanof Island headed for Petersburg.
Petersburg is located on the northeast end of Mitkof Island. The mountainous landscape of Mitkof means that Petersburg has above average rain accumulation, typically seeing 110 inches in a year! The area Petersburg occupies has been used for thousands of years by the Stikine Tlingit and Kake Tlingit tribes as summer fishing territory. Neither nation built year-round settlement due to Mitkof’s lack of agricultural lands.
The rain didn’t seem to bother Norwegian Peter Buschmann however, and in the late 1800’s he decided to develop a cannery in the area. Joined by his family and friends from Norway, the town of Petersburg grew up around the cannery and sawmill, eventually incorporating in 1910. The town of Petersburg would have incorporated four years earlier in 1906, but their request for incorporation had been signed by women and was therefore rejected. Since then Petersburg has kept true to both its Norwegian and fishing roots, and the love of both is evident in the town itself. Norwegian flays hang from signposts on main street, and the traditional Norwegen flower designs, called rosemalings, adorn storefronts and sidewalks. After tying up among the fishing seiners, crews enjoyed a leisurely afternoon walk through town and took their time exploring the unique gem that is “Little Norway”.