Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Yakutat to Pelican

Rock Spires off Column Point, Lisianski Inlet
It was time to leave our friends at Yakutat, a storm with 30 knot winds and 15 foot seas was forecasted to arrive later in the week for the Gulf of Alaska’s eastern coastline and Cross Sound.  So as not to be trapped in Yakutat waiting out weather for a week, we departed on Sunday, which gave us a margin of safety to return to the inside waters of Southeast Alaska.  Prince William Sound would have to wait for another time, perhaps arrival by air and charter a boat.  We encountered the usual 6-7 foot swells departing Yakutat; once past the shallows the seas were a consistent swell of 5 feet at 14 seconds for the majority of our trip.  It was nice to know that we had friends on the other end of our Delorme for sending and receiving text messages during our overnight passage.  We rounded Cape Spencer at 7:15 in the morning and headed for the village of Pelican located south of Elfin Cove in Lisianski Inlet.  The Inlet is named after Russian Captain Urey Theodorovich Lisianski who explored the area in 1804 aboard the Neva.  
Pelican Village, Lisianski Inlet
Numerous fishing boats were trolling along the banks of this fjord-like inlet with mountains and meadows on both sides; interesting rock spires stand at the entrance to the Inlet.  As we approached the adorable village of Pelican, the clouds were beginning to lift revealing the snow covered mountain tops.  
Boardwalk Town of Pelican
This charming community is built on pilings connected by boardwalks, situated above the tidelands in a very serene setting.  
Boardwalks are for Carts, Bicycles, and ATV's - a no car town
Extensive Boardwalks at Pelican
The community of Pelican began in the 1930’s and a cold storage plant was established in 1938 by Kalle Raataikainen of Finnish decent.  He chose this protected inlet as an ideal site and named the place after his fish-packing vessel the Pelican.  The community continued to grow around the cold storage operation but declined in more recent years.  The plant closed in 2004 and the property was sold to the City in 2008-2009.  While there are still commercial fishing boats in Pelican, the community has re-invented itself as a fishing village for tourists and is a busy place during the fishing tournament season.    New lodges and homes are being built while older establishments are currently up for sale.  
Cute Homes in Pelican
Several of the original homes are for sale as well, no doubt due to lost jobs at the cold storage facility – out with the old, in with the new.  
Hydro-electric Power Plant, Pelican
As we walked around, we discovered that Pelican has its own hydro-electric power plant built over the river falls which spills into Lisianski Inlet. The river is also a source of drinking water needing to be boiled due to State non-certification.  
Pelican High School
For fire protection, a pump is used to send seawater through pipes going to hose-bibs located in front of each property. 
A Beautiful Serene Setting, Pelican
Unfortunately, cell phone and internet coverage is lacking but Pelican remains a charming and interesting place to visit.

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