This past week I took a rare trip to the town of Kodiak. I’ve been posting about springtime behaviors of various Kodiak animals, so now I’ll tell you about one of my springtime behaviors. Mike and I usually fly to the town of Kodiak in late May to run errands, go to the doctor, pick up supplies, and most importantly for me, visit the local greenhouse to buy flower and vegetable starts for my planters and garden.
This may not seem like an earth-shattering topic to write about, but a trip to town is a big deal for me. First of all, it’s expensive. We must charter a plane each way, rent a car, and stay in a hotel. Secondly, it can be an ordeal, because late-May weather is often foggy, especially around town, so our trip easily can be delayed for a day or two due to bad (not flyable) weather, and worse still, we could get stuck in town for a few days waiting for the weather to clear.
On this trip, the weather was marginal for flying. The first part of our flight to town was windy and bumpy, and as we neared town, the pilot expertly dodged pea-soup fog. It was also foggy when we departed Kodiak for our return flight, but as we neared Uyak Bay, the ceiling lifted, and the pilot was able to climb and fly through the mountain passes.
In late May, the town of Kodiak bustles with activity, as commercial fishermen begin preparing for the summer salmon season. This past weekend especially was busy in Kodiak, because it was King Crab Festival weekend.
The King Crab Festival is Kodiak’s version of the county fair but with some uniquely “Kodiak” twists. Since it is difficult and expensive to bring carnival rides to the island, most of the “rides” are of the inflatable variety, but the kids are no-less enthusiastic about them. Many of the food booths are operated by local vendors, and you can dine on salmon, halibut, cod, and of course King Crab, among other things. There is no tractor pull at the King Crab Festival, but the Coast Guard demonstrates simulated rescues, a Russian Orthodox priest blesses the fishing fleet, and most popular of all, festival-goers line the boat ramp near the harbor and cheer on the participants in the survival-suit race. For this activity, teams of four race down a ramp, pull on and zip up bulky survival suits, then jump into the water and swim to a life raft. Once all four team members are in the raft, the clock stops and their time is recorded. The team with the fastest time wins. Participants include everyone from families to fishing vessel crew members to Coast Guard rescue swimmers. The rescue swimmers usually win, but no one complains about that. We want those guys to be fast!
Between running errands, visiting the King Crab Festival, and eating at as many restaurants as I could in four days, I was exhausted and full by the time we flew home. I smiled at my new plants as I carried them up to the house, happy to be home and eager to start planting. I don’t plan another trip to town until late January, and for the time being anyway, that’s fine with me!