Prospective Petersburg, Alaska Field Base

Bellows has explored the Petersburg, within Alaska ‘s Inner Passage for its potential to be a future field base.

With a permanent population of 3,100 located in the Inner Passage of Alaska and 120 miles south of Juneau, Petersburg has the dynamics and surroundings to be a unique field learning environment. Large cruise ships cannot negotiate the neighboring channels, which help to preserve Petersburg’s original character. It is the base of a large commercial fishing industry of Norwegian origins and a labor force centered in the canneries, earning $7.50 an hour, which attracts young adults (many of whom are students) who frequently work 18 hours a day to maximize their income before leaving. Student immersion in the cannaries and aboard the fishing vessels would be a natural part of the practicum learning environment. There is also the potential for student immersion in the Tlingit culture in Petersburg by way of home-stays and treks with Tlingit guides.
petersfishery.jpg

Nearby, there is LeConte, the southernmost tidewater glacier in North America. Offshore, in Frederick Sound, is a large feeding location for approximating 500 migrating humpback whales.

Southwestern Alaska is a temperate rainforest, resulting in lush and exotic vegetation. Annual rainfall is 110 inches, half of which falls in October, November and December. The Petersburg area experiences 18 hours of daylight on the longest summer day. In the summer, day temperatures are approximately 60 degrees, dropping to 50 degrees at night, and water temperatures are as low as 38 degrees near the LeConte Glacier. Wildlife is in abundance: in addition to whales there are black bear, wolves, moose, deer, goats, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, Canadian geese, seals and sea lions. All in all, the biodiversity of the Inner Passage is extraordinary.

petersbeaver1.jpg

Transportation to the remote camps that are within kayaking range of the feeding grounds and LeConte Glacier is provided by DeHavilland Beaver floatplanes or powerboats based in Petersburg.
peterstakeoff.jpg

petersheadingout2.jpg

In the background, the Alaska Coast Range, including Devil’s Thumb, at 9,000 feet.

petersenroute.jpg

petersoffplane.jpg

petersreachingshore.jpg

peterscommon.jpg

petersjungle3.jpg
petersjungle1.jpg

peterssuitingup.jpg

Rainsuits and galoshes are the routine attire to adapt to the temperate rainforest climate. The blue rubber skirts are worn during the kayaking in order to create a seal over the cockpit to prevent water from coming into the hull of the kayak.

petersoffwego.jpg

petersseals.jpg

petersfirstsighting.jpg

peterswhale2.jpg

peterswhale3.jpg

While the rule is to come no closer than 100 yards from the humpback whales, no one has informed the whales, who routinely come to visit.

petersapproach1.jpg

Heading toward the LeConte Glacier, which is calving large sections of ice that move down the fjord, melting along the way.
petersapproach2.jpg

petersapproach3.jpg

The water temperature is approximately 38 degrees. Air temperature is approximately 60 degrees.
petersblue1.jpg

petersblue2.jpg

petersblue3.jpg

petersblue4.jpg

This iceberg has tipped over, exposing the portion that was submerged, which contains very little oxygen. The blue hue will quickly change to white as oxygen permeates the ice.
petersapproach5.jpg

Ahead, LeConte Glacier comes into sight.

petersglacier1.jpg

LeConte is a tidewater glacier spanning an area of approximately 180 square miles. This photograph was taken a mile and a half away, due to the dense icefield ahead. The lower part of the glacier, where the calving is seen, is approximately 300 feet high.
petersdusk.jpg

peterpetro.jpg

Petroglyphs are plentiful in the Inner Passage area.

petersskirts.jpg

Waiting for the floatplane pickup to return to Petersburg.
petersoverhead.jpg

petersturn.jpg

peterspickup.jpg

peterscockpit.jpg

peterslanding.jpg

On approach for a water landing in the Petersburg Harbor.

petersmural.jpg

Local art in downtown Petersburg.

peterssky.jpg