2011 PETERSBURG, & Stikine River

Road Scholar 14120

Sadly, my favorite tour company, Cruise West, went out of business last year: Sept. 17, 2010. I'll truly miss them. This trip is moved up from 2012 - which is fortunate since it turns out to be the last time it will be offered - in place of the Cruise West trip that had been booked.

Petersburg - the base for our trip: The island village of Petersburg is one of Alaska's leading fishing communities, and has long been inhabited by fishermen and their families, from the early settlements of native peoples to the Norwegians, who settled the town and founded a cannery, which is still active today. Walk the docks, venture into the life of a fisherman and life in Alaska. With local presenters, explore two and four-legged inhabitants-past and present, rainforest and marine ecology ... and finally have a chance to get back to Petersburg and really explore the town and meet more great people. For me, this is the trip I've been most looking forward to taking this year - and for that matter, ever since I booked it last year. On return, I'm rating this trip as #6 favorite of the 53 commercial trips I've taken.

The others on the tour (I'm planning not to) board a jet boat, mid-week; travel 194 miles through undeveloped wilderness, crossing the Canadian border, on one of the last wilderness rivers in North America, the Stikine River. See glaciers; pull up on beaches to picnic at the base of thundering waterfalls. Bear, moose, migrating swans and eagles may be seen as they travel to Telegraph Creek, BC, a historic, scenic town. View the rapids and soaring granite cliffs of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. Return through the coastal mountains to the coastal rainforest and Petersburg.

Day 1, Friday, May 27 Houston - Seattle
We must be sure to have our passports if we plan to travel into Canada. Alaska Airlines takes a long time to get from Houston to Petersburg, with multiple stops. At least with an early evening departure there won't be any problem with getting up early. Neither Continental nor any partner airline flies here any more so I signed up for an Alaska Air "Frequent Complainer +Club" card since more Alaska trips are planned. With a 6:30 PM departure, there I have a nice StuporShuttle pick-up time at 3:35 PM. This time the shuttle is not only on time, but arrives 10 minutes early so I don't have to stand outside in 101F temps waiting for it. Nice start to the trip.

Alaska AS 731Houston - Seattle6:30 P - 9:00 P4:30(10:00)

Side note: when the pilot announces for Flight Attendants to take their seats for landing, the one up in first class will need two seats. I later decided that another reason she was working the First Class section was that she would never fit down the aisle in Sardine Class.)Arrive in Seattle at 9:10 PM. Even with an almost 10-hour layover, it's too short for a hotel night since I would probably have to get up even earlier than 4AM to get back to the airport and check in. For less than 6 hours in the room, I'll save the money.

Day 2, Saturday, May 28 Seattle - Petersburg
After a long night wandering around the Seattle airport, at least it's an "early" flight (and the only morning flight that goes to Petersburg). It's a "local" so I'll count it as three flights:

Alaska AS 65Seattle - Ketchikan7:00A - 7:451:450:50
Ketchikan - Wrangell8:35 - 9:120:380:58
Wrangell - Petersburg10:10 -10:28A4:30 total(18:58)

After a three-part flight from Seattle that spends almost as much time in layovers (1:48) as it does in the air (2::40) I finally arrive in Petersburg. This Saturday morning arrival requires an extra (first) night in Petersburg (my favorite place in Alaska), but that's exactly what I want. I had once planned for two extra nights and now plan to skip the river part of the trip to stay in Petersburg. I've been looking forward to this trip for a "long" time. It should be a great trip.

It's really going to be different here than in Houston. Here the high will be 55-60F with lows in the mid 40s; the lows in Houston are 73-77F and the heat index on the 25th was 111. On the 26th, the temperature hit 102 and Friday was already up to 101 before I left.. Houston has had only 2.21" of rain Feb-May. In Petersburg, showers are forecast for most days. I even made sure to buy rain-pants to go with my raincoat and I'll be sure to take a hat, gloves, scarf, etc. However by the time I arrive on Saturday, there has been a major change - much less rain and temperatures 10-20 degrees warmer.

The Road Scholar tour leader, Mel Stockton (very nice, as expected from the great people in town), meets me at the airport and gives me a quick orientation drive around town with suggestions as to good places to eat. He even phones me at the hotel later in the day to see if there is anything else he can do for me. Many thanks, Mel. He is a great example of why I think so much of the people of Petersburg. The power is off all through town when I get here; Mel guesses that an eagle landed on a transformer and got micro-zapped (serves it right) but it does knock out power until the city gets everything re-set. He says that it is a very common occurrence.

The weather is much better than forecast - no rain, broken overcast with some nice sun; temps in the 60s. As expected, I'll have to buy 2 lunches (Sat/Sun) and a dinner (Sat) before the official start of the tour. My first meal is at "Papa Bear's." I spend most of the day - until about 4:30 - just walking around exploring part of the town and getting orientated.

The daylight hours are long now (18 hours: ~3:35 - 9:35) giving me plenty of time to explore. There is free wireless internet at the hotel. The hotel has been refurbished; the room is quite nice - better even than some of the "better" hotels on recent trips. It is even air-conditioned (individual units) which I didn't expect to need, but it turns out to be necessary. There is a nice view from my room across a couple of rows of buildings (the main street in town) to the harbor with lots of boats, and then farther across the channel to some snow-capped mountains. Nice!! The hotel also provides Continental breakfasts on the (3) extra mornings.

Day 3 (1), Sunday, May 29 Orientation.
Due to the time zones change, I woke up at 3:30 (6:30 Houston time) and got up at 4:30. There is thick cloud and fog this morning with some light rain, but not all that cold. In fact, I kept one of the windows slightly open all night. The morning and afternoon are free which, after the fog clears, gives me more time to look around and get oriented and start planning for the extra days here later this week. After walking around town for about 2 hours, lunch is at El Rincon (reasonable Mexican food to go) and because we have an included dinner tonight, I don't want a big meal from my other choice. The weather clears nicely by about noon. Then after another couple of hours exploring on my own, the program starts at dinner and we have a full group (12). This afternoon some other tourists were out walking around already bitching - because some (not all) of the places to eat were closed. What would they expect; it is Sunday on Memorial Day weekend! I doubt that they will enjoy their visit nearly as much as I will.

This evening we meet at 5 for a get-acquainted session, then a short orientation to the program and Petersburg follows dinner in the hotel. The schedule has been changed a bit (doing what on which day) based on the weather guesscast and tides schedule. I'll update it as we progress through the trip. (Tides Inn) (D)


Day 4 (2), Monday, May 30 Petersburg - Glaciers - Gold
Other than the big annual Salmon Derby which ended at noon today, there were no special activities today for Memorial Day.

So much for checking the advance weather forecasts. Today is bright, clear, and turns almost hot. Early, before breakfast, Mel meets with those of us who would like to walk around and explore and we take an about 45 minute walk around town. Then after breakfast in the conference room, the regular scheduled activities for the day start with Mel taking us around town to see many of the points of interest. Then our van takes us "Our the Road" as we head south on the Mitkof Highway with the first stop being at the Fall Creek Fish Ladder, then past Papke's Landing at Blind Slough and on to the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery at Blind Slough and the Man-Made Hole (pit dug to get gravel) which is now a picnic and swimming recreation area, then back to the hotel.

We are a bit late getting back, but lunch is in the conference room. Then we have a presentation by Don Koenigs on "Gold - How It All Started." He tells us about how gold was one of the major factors influencing development of the area, and does a demonstration on gold panning.

The latter part of the afternoon before dinner is free time for us to explore on our own, maybe go down and check out the large salmon which was caught in the "Salmon Derby" which is part of the Memorial Day activities. Our other presentation had to be scheduled for the evening since the gentleman still teaches in the high school here.

We have a buffet dinner in the conference room. After dinner there is an excellent presentation, "Calving of the LeConte Glacier" by a local teacher, Victor Trautman, who has been working on an innovative program of measuring the rate of ice flow of the LeConte Glacier. Victor's (high school) students have been measuring the rapid retreat of the glacier over the last few years. This will also help to prepare us to know what to watch for on tomorrow's field trip to see the glacier tomorrow afternoon. (BLD)

Day 5 (3), Tuesday, May 31 Jet Boat to LeConte Glacier and Wrangell
After another early morning guided walk with Mel, we have breakfast in Petersburg. Its another great day for sightseeing. We drive to the south end of the island where we board a jet boat for an all-day excursion which starts with a visit to the historic town of Wrangell (pronounced RANG-guhl). They have a much greater Tlingit influence than Petersburg so we are able to feel the different flavor of the town. Since my last visit was in 2003, I'm definitely happy to get back here. They had just had a hoard of tourists off a 600-passenger ship in yesterday and were still recovering from that invasion.

The beautiful, new museum is a high point of our visit but due to the tides schedule, we didn't have nearly enough time there. That was very disappointing. We also visit Shakes Island with its totems and traditional clan house - where we have an excellent young Tlingit lady, Vivian, as the presenter; very articulate and passionate about the Tlingit history. After driving around to see more of Wrangell, we also do some beach combing and searching for petroglyphs on Petroglyph Beach; also we have time to make a "rubbing" to fill the rest of the morning. Our local guide, Carrie, is absolutely super fantastic. There is a lot more to see and do here than I had expected based on the very short visits back in 2001 and 2003. I did have a chance to get some more Wrangell Garnets which are sold by the young school students of the town. Unfortunately there is no time to get to see the "Garnet Ledge" which I've wanted to see since my first trip here 10 years ago though Carrie did show us the location on a point across an inlet. Maybe when I come back in 2013 on the Ferry cruise I will manage see it and chip out some for myself.

We have a sack lunch onboard the jet boat as we head off to see the LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier (not now disappearing due to global warming since it is a tidewater type) in the US. It will be a trip filled with (no) sea lions, a few seals (and one baby seal on the icebergs), and all sizes of icebergs, some showing the blue of the lower face of the glacier. Due to the fact that the glacier is so actively calving now, the fjord is almost totally jammed with ice flows and small icebergs. It was disappointing that we couldn't safely (the boat could get stuck or trapped in the ice) get closer than about 2 miles to the face - much farther out that my earlier Cruise West trips - and too far to watch for any calving. This made the afternoon part of the trip very disappointing, but at least the morning part was excellent. Based on this morning, I think Carrie would really be a great tour leader to run a replacement for the now discontinued Petersburg trip.

After about an hour here, mostly just slowly threading our way through the mass of ice, we never get close enough to really see anything. Then we head out for the long trip back to Petersburg for another catered meal and a free evening. After dinner programming is kept to a minimum. There may be a "movie night" with an Alaskan topic video, or a walk to Eagles Roost which is always interesting with all the eagles to be seen. However it has been a long day already and most of us decide to 'crash early.'

If I'm really lucky, I will get to see one of my hoped for highlights: there will be an evening of entertainment sometime this week by the young Leikarring Dancers - school students dressed in Norwegian costumes, doing Norwegian dances - but it just didn't work out. Very disappointing. (BLD)

Day 6 (4), Wednesday, June 1 Petersburg - Petroglyphs - Whales - Plants
Breakfast is at the hotel. Our first morning presentation is "Low Tide at Sandy Beach" where there is evidence that in the early days this was the site of a traditional native Tlinget summer fish camp. Planned for low side since we need to walk a long way out on the "mud flats", A USFS guide, Mark McCallum, gives us an extensive show-and-tell discussion of the fish traps, their construction, history, use, etc. He shows us some of the remains of both the stone and wooden pole traps. We also see the (only) petroglyph on Sandy Beach. It is a good presentation.

Our second presentation this morning is on "Humpbacks, Blowholes, and Bubble Feeding". Our guide, Barry Bracken who is retired from Alaska's Department of Fish and Game and now operates whale watching tours, shares his knowledge and experience about the Humpback whales and killer whales - the OTHER summer visitors. He has some interesting information and a great video presentation - fabulous pictures.

After lunch at the hotel, the first afternoon presentation is "Muskeg Madness". We enjoy a walk on a boardwalk trail with a Forest Service naturalist, Mary Clemons, as she points out the native plants and we can see the late spring as reflected in the flora of the area. Personally I liked just seeing the scenery more than a lot of the discussion of all the plants, though some parts were quite interesting. The weather was bright and clear and had gotten to be fairly hot - almost sweltering, at least by Petersburg standards.

Our second presentation of the afternoon (short) is about the Indian Association which is an important organization which does much for the native people in the community and the city as well. It is done by Will Ware, who is now in charge (CEO) of the local Indian Association which operates under the auspices of the statewide organization in Juneau.

After dinner in the Conference Room, we have a talk by Mel of what to expect on the Stikine River trip and any rules and regulations which will apply while onboard the jetboat. It is supposed to be a great trip, but . (BLD)

About two months ago it occurred to me that I DIDN"T HAVE TO take the river trip, so I decided to stay in Petersburg to have more time to explore the area. After all, Petersburg and its people are the real reason I came. There is a lot to see and do in the area. I checked with the Tides Inn - it is no problem for me to stay. For the next 3 days, there will be 2 sets of notes: the tour schedule, and MY schedule.

Day 7 (5), Thursday, June 2 On my own in Petersburg
I get up early so I can share in the (included) breakfast with the rest of the group. The weather is changing - again. After several days of clear, warm/hot days, its 10-15 degrees cooler today; supposed to be even cooler (wrong) tomorrow, and probable rain by Saturday afternoon. I had better get my exploring done while I can.

While the others head out for a long, noisy, bouncy, damp jet-boat trip up the river (without a paddle?), I have a day on my own in town. We have another Eagle-outage this morning; the power is off for about 30 minutes. Eagles are supposed to be smart so it seems like they would learn - but if they are dead it's a bit too late to "learn.".

Some activities include checking with Viking Travel regarding my hoped for AMHS ferry trip in 2013 (contact them again in mid 2012 when the 2013 ferry schedule will be available), doing more of the town's "Art Walk" to see several of the art pieces (there are many murals, paintings, sculptures, bronzes, etc.) which are all over town, checking out the local bookstore (a really good one where I splurged a bit), and exploring more places to eat (Papa Bear's again) since only breakfast is included today.(B)

For the Group: On the "road", Stikine River to British Columbia
After breakfast at the hotel, take a van to the "end of the road" to board our jet boat for the day long river trip. On my jet-boat rides before, the window material, whether plastic or glass caused either distortion or reflections making photography virtually impossible. Also the noise of the engines (when at speed) makes hearing anything other people say extremely hard to hear/understand. Bathroom stops will be made at beaches on the way. Maybe see migrating Sandhill cranes, swans, and water-fowl traveling on a major flyway. We have a sack lunch on a beach and view wildlife, waterfalls, and two glaciers. Dinner is at our hotel, the Riversong Lodge, which has only 8 rooms. (BLD) (2 nights)

Day 8 (6), Friday, June 3 Extra day in Petersburg 2

It's a bit cooler today so it is a very good day for some longer walks to look for more outside-of-town scenery including any wildlife that might be out in the "Narrows." Heading out of town to the north, I stopped at the (renamed by me) Raven's Roost (previously Eagle's Roost) to run off the ravens who were making a huge mess tearing up picnic leftovers which had been left out of the trash bins by some dumb, thoughtless tourists. It took about 20 minutes to clean up most of the mess.

There is an excellent observation location at Outlook Park only a little over a mile out of town - an easy slow-paced less-than-one-hour walk. It's a great little overlook with large mounted binoculars but today there was nothing to see except an almost empty northbound barge - apparently heading north to deliver the last of its load.

After a quick lunch back in town, I stopped in for a visit to the Clausen Memorial Museum (since our scheduled visit on Sunday will be so very short) then walked the other way out of downtown towards the ferry terminal which is past the other major harbor area. The weather cooperated today - overcast but not much wind and a comfortable temperature. There was even quite a bit of sunshine later in the day. The forecast is still for rain tomorrow so plans are very tentative for now.(CB)

For the Group: British Columbia
Breakfast is at the lodge. Later, take our jet boat up the Stikine River to the rapids of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine. Lunch is back at the lodge. Later we take a guided trip around the area to see the historic sights and the scenery. Dinner is at the lodge. (BLD)

Day 9 (7), Saturday, June 4 Last day to explore
The Weather Guessperts forecast rain (60-80% rain in the afternoon) and they were right - but wrong on the starting time. The rain started about 3:30-4 AM. It didn't start as a "downpour" but often heavy enough for me to have to cancel any longer walks. It rains off and on all day, sometimes heavy, but mostly light to medium. Now I know why there are so few eagles right now - another one lost a confrontation with a power transformer this morning. The power outage didn't slow things for me since it is at about 8AM and also it is raining fairly hard again.

At least the Museum and the book store, both "inside" places to visit, and "Raven's Haven" are all short walks (between heavier showers) and there are places to eat close by, but it's still going to be a "rain day" for me to spend a noticeable part of the day inside, reading. At least I've managed to get in all the various walks and visits I wanted (except the Leikarring Dancers) and the longer walks I had planned for today are all repeats of earlier walks but chosen because it would have nice to do them again. Oh well, no trip is "perfect."

The rest of the group finally get back from their noisy, bouncy, rough, damp river trip about 5:45PM this afternoon so dinner (nice as usual) is included at the hotel at 6:30. Of course there were "tales to tell" and talk about various activities. The "rosemaling" program that was originally rescheduled for this evening has been re-rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon since it is getting late and most of the group are very tired from being bounced around for hours in that jet-boat. (CB,D)

For the Group: Jet Boat back to Petersburg
Eat breakfast at the lodge then leave on the jet-boat for the return to Petersburg. We make stops along the way and have a picnic lunch on a beach along the river. Crossing the Stikine River estuary again, we have another chance to view migratory waterfowl. Back at Petersburg dinner is at the Tide's Inn. (BLD)

Day 10 (8), Sunday, June 5 Petersburg
It finally stopped raining about midnight and this morning is much nicer - overcast and cool, though it keeps on misting until about 11. I went out early for a morning walk around downtown and close in areas - met a few more people. It made a very nice start to the day. Finally it is back to having our great breakfast (but not until 8AM - later than usual) in the conference room. The morning is free to relax, repack or to head to the church of our choice. Some of us walk (about 1.5 miles) out to where we can have easy access to the shoreline to search for "treasures." Big surprise - there is actually an eagle at "Ravens Roost" (formerly known as Eagle's Roost) which we pass on the way out. The ravens have been at the trash can again and the place is a major mess - again. Starting after people get back from church, we have a very crowded schedule.

First we leave at 11:30 to have lunch at Gloria's house, then we make a too short visit to Petersburg's Clausen Memorial Museum. The others get "shortchanged" with a very short visit, but I've been there both Friday and Saturday. There are many displays from an early lighthouse, Native displays, Norwegian fishing equipment, etc. It gives us an idea of Petersburg's past and the Olden Days and there is a small but very nice gift shop with many things made by local artists.

Then at 2PM: "What happens to the fish between the boats that we have been seeing and our fish market?" or "Smells like Money." We have an excellent presentation by David Ohmer who is the plant manager of a local seafood cannery. He discusses fish & game management, types of fishing vessels, fish products and byproducts, and difficulties facing the fishermen. The tour through the cannery has been deleted. It's not into full operation yet which is also why there are so few eagles here now scrounging for scraps.

Following that at 3:30 (re-rescheduled from Saturday), if at least 8 of the 12 of us will sign up, we can participate in the optional ($12) exploration of the art of rosemaling. This is the art form from Norway that is used to decorate houses and other items. Local artists will demonstrate how it is done, and guide us as we try our hand (make a feeble attempt) at creating a sample to take home. The artists give a nice presentation.

Our Farewell Dinner is a special "Norwegian Smorgasbord Dinner and Dessert Table." Afterwards, we relax, share experiences over the time we spent here, etc. or finish packing (if possible) all the stuff we have accumulated during the trip. (BLD)

Grumble, grumble, grumble: Just before dinner I find out that finally there is a performance by the Leikarring Dancers, but it is scheduled at 6:30 - the same time as our farewell dinner and it would be very rude of me to skip that dinner. If only it had been Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night! More grumbles!!!

Day 11 (9), Monday, June 6 Farewells.
After a very windy, window rattling night, and breakfast at 7, it's time to head home. We (nine of us) leave the hotel at 9:30 to get to the airport for the 11AM flight. First to Juneau; I have about 3 hours there so it should be enough time there to get some junk food for lunch since Alaska Awfulines only sells food for very high prices (and small servings). I can get more here for the same, or maybe less, cost. I won't get home today; I have to spend the night in the hotel in Seattle. Unlike the trip north, this time 17 hours is a reasonable amount of time to book a hotel. I could have made it shorter, but it would still be a very long time in the airport, and too short for a hotel. Unlike most of the European trips, at least I get the included breakfast this time before leaving Petersburg. (B)

Alaska AS 65Petersburg - Juneau11:53 A - 12:25 A0:33(2:40)
AlaskaAS 56Juneau - Seattle3:05 P - 6:08 P 2:03(17:17)

Day 12, Tuesday, June 7 Finally arrive home
After a long 17 hour layover - and I can't check in until 7:30 AM, I'll have to get breakfast, and maybe lunch as well, in the airport before the flight. Alaska Awfulines doesn't supply anything in the way of food except a tiny package of pretzels and a few ounces of a soft drink during the flight.

Alaska AS 730Seattle - Houston11:25 A - 5:28 P4:0326:35

I'm lucky, and I don't have too long of a wait for the StuporShuttle. I actually do get home by 7:30 PM and back into summer hibernation - the only way to survive Houston summers. It has been a great trip (one of my favorites) except for those LONG layovers. Next time I'll try going in through Juneau, and out with a mixed airline schedule, part Alaska and part Continental.

Now it is "only" 31 days until the next trip - Black Sea Cruise roundtrip out of Istanbul. This has been the longest time I've stayed in one hotel for any of my now 53 travel company tours:

Tours: Staying in one place (cabin or hotel)
1 South Pacific, 15 nights on board cruise
2 Antarctica, 14 nights on board cruise
3 Black Sea, 12 nights on board cruise
4 Gold Rush I.P., 10 nights on board cruise
5 Panama/Costa Rica, 9 nights on board cruise
6 Petersburg, 9 nights in one hotel
xxx others, maximum of 7 nights on board cruise

Future Alaska plans, as of now - but only one gets me back to Petersburg:
2012, Road Scholar, Fairbanks - Seward
2013, Alaska Ferry System, Inside Passage: Juneau-Ketchikan-Juneau
2015, Cosmos, Alaska & Yukon (repeat of 2007 trip)
2017, Cosmos, Alaska Highlights + HAL cruise to Vancouver.
????, Road Scholar, If Carrie sets up and runs a Wrangell based tour

Selected pictures
Click to enlarge


307 N First Street (Corner of 1st & Dolphin St.)
P O Box 1048
Petersburg, AK 99833
1-800-665-8433 tidesinn @ Alaska.com

Although there are numerous streets through town, there is basically one main road that runs around the island. It goes by several names; Sandy Beach - north of town, Nordic Drive - through the center of town, and Mitkof Highway - south of town.

North of Town - Sandy Beach Road

Eagles Roost Park
- at the intersection of N. Nordic Dr. and North First St. View eagles perching among the trees and fishing in nearby waters. Located on North Nordic Drive just walking distance from the edge of town. Operated by the City of Petersburg, this park has a picnic table, Narrows Viewing Platform, benches, and classic Petersburg landscaping. It is an excellent place to view eagles roosting in trees or take the trail down to the beach and watch eagles and other waterfowl, or explore tide pools at low tide.

Hungry Point Trail - leads from the baseball field to Hungry Point. You can walk to Hungry Point, where the north end of the Narrows meets Frederick Sound. An array of fishing vessels cruise by on their way to the fishing grounds of the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. River otters, bears, deer, porpoise, killer whales, and sea ducks and a large other sea birds are occasionally seen along the Narrows.

Sandy Beach Recreation Area - Only 3 miles southeast of town on Sandy Beach Road is Sandy Beach Park. Explore the rocky beach filled with barnacles, muscles and look for petroglyphs and ancient Tlingit fish traps. The extensive tide lands are the site of ancient Alaska Native petroglyphs and remnants of prehistoric fish traps. Three picnic shelters complete with fireplaces and picnic tables, a rough forest trail, restrooms, and city water provide for a comfortable afternoon outing. Sandy Beach is also a great place for tide pooling on medium to low tides.

Outlook Park - This small park is halfway between town and Sandy Beach Picnic Area on Sandy Beach Road. The covered timber-frame shelter was built by a local shipwright and is modeled after the Norwegian Stave Churches. Binoculars are available for scanning Frederick Sound for icebergs and marine life, for peeking at the snow-covered peaks of the Coast Mountains, and for viewing Devil's Thumb.

Frederick Sound - Viewed from Sandy Beach Road. Where the waters of Frederick Sound meets Stephens Passage and Chatham Strait, (30 miles north of Petersburg by boat), you will find some of the best humpback whale viewing in North America. Humpback whales are just one of the many marine mammals to be found in these waters. Take an all day boat cruise to see the whales, the historic Five Finger Light House and the magical Brothers Islands. Charter tours are available most days, but reserve ahead.

In Town - Nordic Drive

Art Gallery Tour and Souvenir Shopping
- along Nordic Dr.

Harbor - Visitors can stroll along the docks. Sea Lions and birds are attracted to the area. Home port to over 400 commercial and sport vessels of many types, such as tugs, salmon trollers, seiners, longliners, and crabbers. You will meet fishermen while you stroll the docks. Check out the fantastic view of nearby islands, mountains, and an occasional sea lion.

Visitor Center - 1st and Fram St. (907) 772-3646 / www.petersburg.org

Clausen Memorial Museum - 203 Fram St. Open May 1 - Sept. 15. Tlingit Indian and Norwegian heritage in Petersburg. Commercial fishing and cannery exhibits. This is the best place to go to learn about Petersburg's colorful history. Just two blocks up from Nordic Drive, the Museum houses a wide variety of local and regional memorabilia from Alaska Native artifacts to early commercial fishing and processing gear and equipment. You can also view the Museum's wide selection of videos about the culture and history of Petersburg and Alaska.

Sons of Norway Hall and the Bojer Wikan Fisherman's Memorial Park - A historic barn-like structure with rosemal accents. The hall, built in 1912, is a National Historic Site. It was built as a social hall and is still a center of activity today. In the summer, come watch the Norwegian dancers and enjoy a wonderful buffet complete with Norwegian pastries or try some pickled herring and fish cakes. Right next door is a commemorative memorial for those who lost their lives at sea. In the center is a 9 foot bronze sculpture of local fisherman Bojer Wikan. Underneath the Hall and the Park, the tidal waters of Hammer Slough flow.

Hammer's Slough - A plank street with weathered wooden buildings perched over a tidal creek. A favorite spot for painters and photographers.

Petersburg Marine Mammal Center - Located in the back of Viking Travel Building at the Corner of Gjoa and Nordic Drive, the center offers information, an awesome interactive whale learning display and videos on whales and marine mammals of southeast Alaska. The center's mission is to assist researchers and help develop programs on local marine life.

Visit Downtown Petersburg - From Galleries to Outfitter stores, Petersburg has a great deal to offer. Enjoy some fresh local seafood or a cup of java. Stroll the sidewalks and look down to see the inlaid bronze artwork in the sidewalks or look up at the Norwegian rosemaling that adorns the storefronts. Nearby is the hustle and bustle of the canneries and fishing fleet.

Places to Eat (primarily for that first day and mid-week)

Hammer and Wilkan Deli - 1300 Howkan
Helse - Homemade soups & breads - 13 Sing Lee Alley
*Lille Hammer Convenience Store- 218 N Nordic St.
*Papa Bear's Pizza - 103 N. Nordic Drive
*El Rincon - 114 N Nordic Drive
Inga's Galley - 110 N Nordic Drive

Places to Shop

Diamante Gift Shoppe - Nordic Dr
Pangea Gift Emporium - Nordic Dr.
*Rexall Drug - 315 N Nordic Dr.
Seaport Gallery and Gifts - Nordic Dr.
*Sing Lee Alley Books - Sing Lee Alley
*The Trading Union - Our only Department Store (and other grocery store) - N. Nordic Dr.