Seward

After paddling in the Kechamak Bay my next journey took me to Seward. First, the only reason to come here, was really to visit Christie, daughter-in-law of the captain of Bering Hunter, the tender that brought me to King Cove. It wasn’t his idea, but his son’s Mike, whom I met for all but 30 minutes, when he came to pick me up and drop me off to the ferry in King Cove. Maybe any other time I would not go and visit people I don’t know, but this trip was all about meeting, trusting and spending time with strangers.

The beginning of the trip to Seward was a bit shaky, straightforward journey finished 20 minutes out of Homer, when the coach run out of gas, and the driver called his mum to rescue. Fortunately, time was, what I had plenty on this trip, so it was just a matter of fact of waiting, eventually we reached Seward, and Christie did come and picked me up.

Seward is a small but very important town. It lies on the cruise ships’ route and as it has good links, both road and rail to Anchorage and other important places in Alaska, it gets very busy in the summer. Also unlike other places it kept a little bit of its historical buildings to create interesting enough high street, and calls itself a mural capital of the world.

It is a fishing town in a deep bay surrounded by glaciers. And it has a lot of paddling, too. I could not resist and rented a kayak for a day paddle that took me around Fox Island in the south part of a Resurrection Bay.

First I though that my journey took me to Seward to visit someone with connection to the Bering Sea fishermen of whom I would always think fondly, their work is not easy, their lifestyle hard. But really Seward kind of accomplishes the history tread that goes through my trip.

Alaska belonged to Russia before. Russian hunters and fur traders were discovering the area since 18 century establishing many trade centres along their path, influencing, not always kindly (like any others) the way native people lived. The orthodox religion is very visible on the peninsula, Russian geographic names are everywhere.

But Alaska is not Russian, it had become US state in January 1859. Quite a long time after it’s acquisition on October 18, 1867, it was purchased for 7.2 million dollars, and William Seward was the guy, who negotiated the deal. Why it was sold was up to discussion. In 1725 Vitus Bering started to explore the islands, and an important Russian trading company was established; when the Americans finally started to expand west in early 1800s, the competition started. By purchasing Alaska US gained important access to Pacific, by this time, following Crimean war, Russia might have lost interest in the region, which was expensive to keep control off due to its distance. Maybe Russia was hoping that US will gain more power in the Pacific region against an important rival of both, the British.

So here we go, the journey all makes sense now.

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