The whole time we were on Augustine, through the bad weather, and then on the miles up the coast, we had one goal in mind: making it to the cannery at Snug Harbor. For us, this was the end of the expedition (though in retrospect, there was more that came afterward, but that will be the subject of another story.) The old cannery on the south end of Chisik Island is owned by friends, and they offered to let us use it as we prepared to transition off the trip and arrange transportation across the inlet to Kenai.
It began as a clam cannery, then changed over to salmon. It’s been closed many years now and the equipment is slowly rusting and quietly decomposing in the Alaskan air, but there is still a sense of history that permeates the grounds that you can’t help but be aware of. Almost as if the years of labor here by so many people, for so long, have changed the little cove into a shrine of sorts. It’s a beautiful place, on many different levels. Steve has published a photo book on the cannery and draws on his guiding experience in the area to help tell the story of this unique location.
Across the channel, Slope Mountain catches the low-angle rays of the setting sun. Skiffs criss-cross the water as they pull their set nets and the gulls watch for an easy meal. The steep stony beach runs down to the calm water, where small wavelets jostle their way onto the land. The rusting metal buildings stand among the trees and bushes as they have for decades, some of them in better shape than others, all of them with stories to tell.