Day 3 – Petersburg and Frederick Sound

Petersburg and Frederick Sound

Nicknamed “Alaska’s Little Norway,” Petersburg was founded by Norwegian fishermen and is named after the Norwegian immigrant, Peter Bushman.  Bushman arrived in the area in the 1890s and noticed that the clean and plentiful ice of the nearby LeConte Glacier could serve as an invaluable source for fish packing.  Over the next decade, he built the Icy Strait Packing Company cannery, a sawmill, and a dock. In 1916, Alaskan Glacier Seafood’s was established, becoming Alaska’s first shrimp processor.  Ever since, Petersburg has thrived as one of the top producing commercial fishing communities in Alaska.

Today, Petersburg remains heavily populated by people of Scandinavian descent. You notice this influence as you travel through the town.  Many homes are painted in bright colors, while storefronts are decorated with Norwegian rosemaling. We visited the Sons of Norway Hall, with its nearby Fishermen’s Memorial and Viking ship replica.  Local youth entertained us there with Norwegian baked goods, coffee and dance.

We paid a visit to Captain Adam on the bridge later in the day.  While visiting with him we saw a humpback whale breaching in the distance, and later waving its huge pectoral fin our direction.  When we reached Frederick Sound we saw several humpback whales and even witnessed one lunge feeding.

The link below is video of a couple humpback whales near our boat.

We stopped to view a Stellar sea lion haulout and rookery.  Their conversations were both interesting and entertaining. If you listen carefully, you can hear them talking on the video.

Five Finger Islands Light is a lighthouse located on a small island that lies between Stephens Passage and Frederick Sound and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  We were told there is a good deal of research done there on humpback whales.  You may also rent a room there, via Airbnb, at just $300 per nightly. Watching humpbacks while enjoying a morning cup of coffee outside sounds wonderful!

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