Kodiak, AK, USA cruises
Your guide to Kodiak.
If you are wondering why this part of Alaska is known as the “Emerald Isle,” prepare to have your curiosity sated. Kodiak’s mountains more or less glint with the same luminous green as the stone they resemble, while the water that laps the island’s shores is positively sapphire in its blueness. A haven for wildlife, Kodiak Island is two thirds national park, dedicated to the protection of brown bears, birds and Pacific salmon. Delve into local history in the Baranov Museum, sample craft beers at the island’s microbrewery, or experience hiking trails enveloped in spellbinding scenery.
A walk or short taxi transfer from port brings you to Kodiak City, Kodiak’s largest settlement. Among the sights to explore, Holy Resurrection Church, built in 1943, is beautiful, with its relics of St. Herman. If history appeals to you, Baranov Museum, housed in one of Alaska’s oldest buildings, offers exhibits on Kodiak’s Russian and early American eras. Alternatively, the Alutiiq Museum provides insight into Alaska’s native Alutiiq population, revealing the community’s culture and practices. Brown bears are common in this part of Alaska and are best sighted by helicopter overhead, while the puffins and whales that frequent Kodiak’s waters can be seen up close on any of the island’s boat tours.
Eating and drinking.
The waterfront harbor is the thriving heart of Kodiak City, home to several bars, restaurants and cafés. Crab and Pacific salmon are the catch of the day here, and it’s not uncommon to see fishermen returning with their aquatic payload. To say that the seafood here is fresh is an understatement. What was swimming in the strait in the morning could be on your plate by lunch, and sushi is now equally represented among the city’s bars and grills. Fans of craft beer should head to Kodiak Island Brewing Co, where beers are age-fermented in barrels with pure island water and organic malts. The brewery’s tap room is the perfect place to rub shoulders with Kodiak’s friendly residents.
Shopping in Kodiak City mainly caters to local needs, with the majority of stores selling practical items such as groceries and household goods. Specialist shops, catering to outdoor living enthusiasts, offer a chance to pick up hiking gear, sportswear and fishing equipment, while a few local hypermarkets stock local arts and craft items. Warm and, in particular, woolen clothing is commonplace in Kodiak, while thrift stores offering antiques, collectibles and vintage finds are also popular. The local island brewhouse, Kodiak Brewing Co, offers branded glasses and clothing, which make favorable gifts for fans of craft beer.
Encompassing two thirds of Kodiak Island, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is a diverse habitat of alpine meadows, thick forests and wetlands where more than 3000 brown bears roam free. The park has no roads, but private air charter tours offer breathtaking views of the scenery below. Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, around a mile and a half from Kodiak City, offers fascinating exhibits expanding on life during World War II. Remnants of former military defenses are still visible on the spruce-covered clifftops, while a restored ammunition bunker houses the Kodiak Military History Museum.