Saturday, August 15, 2009

kodiak to dutch harbor...12 dutch/unalaska....parting thoughts

thought i'd put in a few last shots before getting back to my regular exciting life. summer is begining to turn to fall. i love fall. the colours, the mushrooms. awesome. not that i'm ever ready to say farewell to summer. the seasons come and go and i love the changes that come with each. really the only one i'd like to skip is break up and that's not a real season...well in alaska it is.
above is that cute fox we all took pictures of at the church in unalaska.
we were nervous about getting out of dutch. weather and fog can be a hinderance to travel. in the morning we were scheduled to leave i looked out the hotel window and saw all the eagles drying thier feathers, as below, and told sandra i felt good about the eagle weather forcast. you can count on them apparently as we flew out without issue.

tanya is enjoying the view amongst her favorite wildflowers. below is from our drive the first day around town. just another view.

above is a picture looking down the cliffs of ballyhoo. it would be great to be able to spend more time here in better weather looking for birds and wildflowers. it was pretty foggy the day we drove up, but a good time was had by all.
the next picture is of our drive the last day before our plane was due. still a bit cloudy, but a nice ceiling and the greens were outstanding. the road leads up to the top from summer beach.

the next several pictures are up ballyhoo. there are loads of WWII remnants up there. there are history books that could give you much more accurate details but i can give you the abbreviated betsy version. alaska wasn't a state yet, but that didn't stop it from being a target. 6-7 months after japan attacked hawaii, they attacked the aleutians. dutch harbor had army and navy installments there. there is still a great deal of remnants from those days. they would bury bunkers underground and the lush grass and foilage would grow in and make the bunkers virtually invisible from the air. you can get a feel for that in the third picture down.
so dutch was attacked june 3 and 4 of 1942. in the next few days the japanese attacked and occupied kiska and attu islands. on attu a school teacher was killed and 42 natives were taken to japan and held. just over half of those were returned to thier island.
in july the U.S. moved the people of the aleutians to southeast "for thier protection". many died in southeast alaska as they were probably treated worse than most prisoners of war were treated. they were just dumped there with minimal assistance. many died. those that did return were mostly met with looted houses or homes burned down and destroyed outright. "aleutian sparrow" by karen hesse is a great little novel that is set in this time.
in 1943 the allied forces fought back against the japanese. it was a horrendously bloody and hard fought battle. it went on for 19 days. eventually, the allied forces retook attu and japan left the island of kiska. i thought it interesting that attu is 17oo miles from anchorage and 500 miles to russia. unalaska island is 800 miles from anchorage.
so that is the very abbreviated historical account. we did visit the local museums in unalaska. one is dedicated to wwII and it's role. must have been some pretty isolated duty for those in the military. the alaska natives who aided the allies are still trying to get compensation and recognition for thier part in the winning of the war. our treatment of the aleutian population is a sad tale and one that bears repeating. they were dumped in old canneries and closed mines with no facilities. the people did the best they could in a horrible situation, but many were lost and i'm sure many were devastated a second time when they were finally allowed to return home a few years later to find they no longer really had a home.
this rusty lock was haning on the inner door to one of the bunkers. there was a rather large room beyond the door, though i suspect it was cold, damp and miserable.
the cliffs near a large installment were steep and i'm trying to see which one of us is out was a bit windy and i am not to like heights. i was the first to head out for a photo op though. i didn't get as far as the others, but i also was bummed that none of them took a picture of me that shows me on any sort of ridge. i just look all stooped down in a field of grass...

of course, we took the time to enjoy some fun photo ops at the gunnery type bunkers. i'm not military, but obviously you could aim big guns towards the sky and sea from these locations. below is maria, sandra and tanya. sandra is a bit vertically challenged so she kept jumping up so be in the shot.

below is me living large in the opening to one of the bunkers. about 20 feet back is where the big door with the lock was and then the huge room. it was quite rainy/windy so we were able to get out of it and still amuse ourselves.

the last shot below was just funny to us. apparently, this large crane broke down and before it could get repaired, an eagle pair set up a nest in it. bald eagles are protected so therefore the nest couldn't be touched. they wait for them to change's just funny as there are so many bald eagles there it's hard to imagine them as endangered. so the nest has remained there for the last 3 years we were told. doubt you can see it in the picture but we could see a little white head poking out when we stopped to snap off a quick photo.

okay so i mis-wrote...there is yet another last eagle shot below. they were everywhere and this guy landed on someones car as they went in to grocery shop. sandra took a picture and then tried to escape before the eagle got annoyed and dug it's talons in her. hehe. they do attack there apparently.

worked my overtime shift last night. i had just sat down to get report when we saw that one of the patients had gone into v-fib on the moniter. there were docs/nurses in the room already and so report was delayed in order to code this rather unfortunate 36 year old diabetic. she was worked on for over an hour i think, but didn't make it. she was grossly obese which made it all more difficult. very sad young. not a good way to start the shift. we had 3 patients coming within short order to i left hte code, seeing that they had enough people anyway, to prepare for my unstable trauma i had coming. my other patient was squirmy,but stable, which was fortunate. this guy was shocky and his face was all busted up. took a bit to get him stabalized. hope he was able to get to surgery today. we also had 2 patients returning from surgery and then later got another it was a crazy night for the group of us. we got lots of help from the charge, ellie and each other. some nights you just don't stop. i got a bit punchy in the morning and then when i heard that dang xray machine coming down the hall...i wanted to scream. i can't stand morning xrays. they always just disrupt everything. the patients get all agitated being moved about and having hard plates put behind them...they start to cough, which makes them poop...and it's always when you are trying to get stuff done to get out of there on time and get home to bed. just so annoying.
today i woke early as my friend sharon was coming to my place at 12:30 for a walk. her husband chris came along and blossom and her dog cooper got to romp a bit. first we took the dogs to the bog so i could get rio out for her walk, then we did the big loop in north bivouac. it's about this time of year that i can start making the loop again. it is boggy so the mosquitos in the summer can be brutal. they have simmered down now so it was great to get out there. no moose or bears sightings though some couple said they'd just seen a moose when they passed by. there were a few areas of mud, but i'm a ketchikan girl. no biggie. i met chris and sharon in ketchikan. they lived there for just under 2 years before moving to this area. i had intentions of doing a big house/car clean in prep for my friend marcia and her family being in town for hte day tomorrow. too sleepy though. did get the sheets washed and figured out the new sewing machine. so the quilts are almost all done. i gotta eat something, but then i think i can tie quilt 4 tonight before heading to bed....well after i make the bed.
hopefully, i'll get some good mushroom pictures posted that dutch is a distant memory. :-)


  1. Hey--great pictures as always. Happened to catch part of a documentary on the Japanese attack of the Aleutians one time. Overwhelming odds and a depressing film, but as a military brat sometimes I've caught myself keeping the facts in mind. I was the pacifist in the family...

  2. thanks angela, i'd love to see that documentary. was it pbs? i heard it was a rough assignment out there. i think i'm just the black sheep in mine, i like to see myself as the rebel. sounds better i think.