Monday, March 30, 2015


By Juan Montoya
A few years ago we had the opportunity to go to Petersburg Alaska during the salmon run in July.
Petersburg is on the Alaskan chain of islands stretching along the coast of Canada off British Columbia, Canada. 
There is no way to get to Petersburg by car. One can only get there by plane or ferry along the famous Maritime Highway that stretches from Vancouver Island to Juneau. It is incredibly prisitine and beautiful. You can see pods of whales, glaciers calving, and bears standing along the shores. In the mornings, one is awakened to by the cries of the sea lions basking along the shore. Flocks of bald eagles fly overhead. At 4 a..m., it looks like daylight, and people actually wear nightshades to sleep.
That was the first time I had ever seen halibut, the cold water mega cousin of the Gulf Coast flounder. Used as I was to the small, flat fish that are found in the Gulf, these halibut (some weighing as much as 500 to 700 pounds) each are monsters. So is the silver salmon that come in during the runs all along the coast of Alaska. 
Believe it or not, there are some Mexican families in Petersburg. Mexican workers in the fishing industry came to Alaska years ago during the salmon runs and never left. Some even operate a popular Mexican restaurant there (El Rincon) and even own a fishing boat to haul in tons of the yearly run. Salmon return to the place they were spawned years before and the creeks leading off from the bays are teeming with struggling fish.
At the canneries operated by the locals, many of the workers issued visas are now from the newly-opened Iron Curtain countries. You can hear Romanian, Ukraine, Turkish, Polish, Estonian and languages from other former USSR satellites among them, mostly spoken by the workers, the majority young people.
The season runs almost to September, but we had returned to Texas before that. It is amazing to know a place like this exists and that it is part of this country. Hopefully, one of these days we will be able to visit this heaven-on-earth locale again. 


Anonymous said...

Good photos!!!Back to BISD? Any moves Juan?

Anonymous said...

You can't get there by car? YOU DON'T OWN A CAR!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful. I want to go!