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> July 9, 2006
post Jul 11 2006, 09:41 PM
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July 9, 2006

At 1:30 this morning, the team finished the last of the line of 8 CTD casts. By 8 AM we were anchored off Dutch Harbor preparing to bring the last 5 members of the science team on board and send those who were interested (and off duty) into Dutch Harbor. Dutch Harbor is, officially, the International Port of Dutch Harbor in the city of Unalaska. The city of Unalaska actually straddles two islands, Unalaska and Amaknak with the Bridge to the Other Side, constructed in 1980, connecting the two. The area is rich in history and culture. Nine thousand years ago, the Unangan people, ancestors of the Aleuts, settled here and throughout the Aleutian Islands. Russian explorers arrived in 1759 and the Russian influence has remained strong ever since. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Ascension, built in 1896, is the oldest cathedral in Alaska. By the 1990's, the cathedral had become so deteriorated that it was place on the American Heritage Most Endangered List. In 1996, the church was extensively renovated and many of the icons have been restored. Unfortunately the nearby Bishop's House, constructed in San Francisco in 1882 and shipped to Unalaska where it was reassembled, is sadly in need of repair.

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The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Ascension in Unalaska is the oldest cathedral in Alaska.

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The Bishop's House, near the Russian Cathedral in Unalaska, is sadly in need of repair.

During World War II, Japanese forces bombed Unalaska and Dutch Harbor, and resident Aleuts were relocated to camps in Southeast Alaska. We didn't have time to visit the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area which is at the location of the former U.S. army base, Fort Schwatka, the highest coastal battery ever constructed in the United States.

Today Unalaska and the International Port of Dutch Harbor have become a destination for fishers and birders. Bald eagles abound and we saw several in our short stay on land. Commercial fishing is an important part of the local economy and, for the 16th year in a row, they are the No. 1 fishing port in the nation for seafood landings. This entire area is fascinating and, from all accounts, very beautiful. Unfortunately for us, it was very cold, windy, and rainy while we were there. It would have been fun to explore on a nice day. To get an idea of the conditions, check out the picture of the Laurier taken from the site of the Russian Cathedral.

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You can tell what the weather was like by looking at this picture I took of the Laurier from outside the Russian church in Dutch Harbor.

Note: I took much of my information today from "Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Traveler, the 2006 Official Visitors Guide."
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post Jul 13 2006, 10:38 PM
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Great pictures! I look forward to talking to you when you return about your Polar Days at your school.
Keep up the great journaling and photographing!
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