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We’re Back in Kasaan

We left Ketchikan this morning after breakfast and headed across Clarence Strait to the village of Kasaan. Shortly after leaving Thomas Basin, we saw a very large humpback in Tongass Narrows, right in front of the airport (just past the airport ferry dock). Kind of weird to see one in that close and that shallow.

Clarence Strait was a little choppy on the beam, but still pleasant. We traded off manning/womanning the helm and got a lot of work done on our way across (30 miles or so to Kasaan from Ketchikan).

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There was plenty of room on the Kasaan float, though things will likely change the closer we get to the longhouse re-dedication and celebration on Saturday. We showered and then walked into the village to check out the carving shed and chat with the carvers a bit. They’re working on a HUGE new totem pole that will eventually stand just at the beginning of the Totem Trail that leads to the Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House. We stopped in the cafe to check out the menu…it looked good! We may go over for breakfast or lunch tomorrow. Anyway, then we continued on to the longhouse. The trail from the float takes you along the water’s edge on a boardwalk, and then it winds through the village. They’re either building a new section of boardwalk here or replacing an old section…I can’t remember if this section was here or not last year.


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The carving shed, with the bottom of the new totem pole at the entrance:


Stormy Hamar (lead carver) walked us through the design and concept of this new totem pole (past, present, future) and it’s super cool. For one thing, it’s a new design, not a reproduction of another older totem pole…which is rare. Can’t wait to see it standing next summer!


The bridge that crosses over the stream, on the way to the longhouse:


Pretty cool to see the longhouse finished. Here’s what it looked like last year when we were here:


And here it is now (kinda dark in there with the main door closed):


And the exterior last year:


And today:


There are some great details too, like this copper on the edges of the beams:

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Door knob:


No camping in the longhouse, folks:


The beach in front of the longhouse:

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Note: It’s pretty fun looking at my post from last summer (on September 1, so one year ago tomorrow). I took many of the same photos, but it’s interesting to see the differences: the stream was steady and flowing last year; this year it’s very thin and dry under the bridge. I took some photos of the totems on the trail near the longhouse on our hike today, but I took some last year too and in last year’s post there’s quite a bit of information about them, so instead of reposting, I’ll just link to that post here!

Canoe, heading back to the carving shed after a water test:


Heading back toward Airship:


Quite a few people arrived today (with suitcases) via float planes…the village seems busy for sure, and that’ll just increase as we get closer to Saturday. I looked at the weather for Dixon this morning and it was calm calm calm today! (Wind variable, 5-15 knots, seas 1 metre). The Central Dixon Entrance buoy this afternoon was reporting waves of 1 foot, 8 seconds apart, and the Green Island light station said “seas: rippled.” So…I hope that lasts until after this weekend!! 🙂 I’m glad we decided to come over for this though…I think it’s going to be pretty cool. (I need to find out if it’s cool or lame to go out in the dinghy and take photos of the canoes landing on the beach in front of the longhouse on Saturday morning, because that’d be fantastic!)