The most fascinating part of our tour of Icy Straight Point was the Hoonah Salmon Canning Factory. After devouring a bucket of King Crab legs on the cannery dock, we licked our fingers clean and set out for the factory. By happenstance, we ran into a local who had shared his fond memories of the ship maintenance operation in its glory days. A man of about our age, his hair was shoulder length, silver colored, tied back in a ponytail. He wore thick jeans, a flannel shirt, and sturdy boots. He spoke of the big ships that used the tide to come ashore. They were manhandled onto their sides so the needed repairs to the hulls could be made.
We peered through the iron fencing to the work stations as he continued to describe each area in vivid detail. “If they couldn’t get a part in time,” he said, “they made it right here.” It was a conversation filled with bittersweet nostalgia as he looked around to the tourists who breezed through his past. “It was a wonderful way to grow up,” he said. We stayed with him for as long as he was willing to share his stories and left thankful for the experience.
Until next time, enjoy the life we are blessed to live,