Southwest Alaska

In southwest Alaska is the 1100 miles archipelago of volcanically formed islands that stretch into the Pacific Ocean. While most of these volcanoes are long dormant, many still belch their fiery plumes into the sky on a rare occasion with usually two or three on watch by the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

On many of these 300 islands wildlife is abundant having sea lions, seals, whales, and sea otters being common sightings, especially during the summer months.  For the bird lovers there are many sea birds that can not be found in many other places in the world including the rare whiskered auklet and the ancient murrelet.

These islands are also home to the Aleut people who have lived off the ocean here for thousands of years. These amazing people were great seamen navigating the treacherous northern Pacific in kayaks made of seal skin that have seen very little change from the modern version used by whitewater enthusiast today.

In the mid 1700s, Russian Fur Traders made their home on these islands wreaking havoc on the local populations of both the sea lion and the Aleuts. The Aleut and sea lions proved to be resilient but they were never able to totally recover from the damages caused.

The Aleutian Islands are also known for the fierce battles raged during World War Two on the islands of Attu and Kiska as the Japanese tried to get a foothold on American soil. The relics of these battles still stand dotting the islands as lonesome monuments to nearly forgotten battles in the harsh Alaska winter.

Dutch Harbor is also located amongst these islands and is the gateway port for the crab fishermen who have been made infamous because of The Discovery Channel’s show “The Deadliest Catch”.