Tag Archives: Sitka

Fun Photo Friday — Off-Season Sitka Favorites

Crescent Bay, Sitka

Time for one last Fun Photo Friday look at lovely Sitka before we head off to our next destination aboard Ovation of the Seas during the off-season in Alaska. All the photos in this week’s series were taken on one visit during our back-to-back cruises, as Sitka was dropped for Voyage 2 because of weather concerns. Over the next two weeks I’ll be covering our two stops in Skagway, as there is much to see and a lot of shopping to do at that stop. Meanwhile:

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Cruising Alaska Off-Season — Sitka; St. Michael’s Cathedral

Time to head over to probably the main attraction for this wonderfully photogenic and historically significant town. As you’ll recall from Monday’s article, Ovation of the Seas deposited us in Sitka on Monday, 28 September of this year. After departing the ship, we took a 12-minute shuttlebus ride into town, getting off in the parking lot of the Sitka Historical Society Museum along Crescent Bay. Less than five minutes’ walk from the drop-off point get you to the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, also known more simply as St. Michael’s Church.

St. Michael’s Church

As you can see from the photos above, St. Michael’s sports classic Eastern/Russian Orthodox design elements, including the distinctive Russian Orthodox cross, the onion cupola atop the dome, and the spire above the bell tower. Let’s take a closer view of that bell tower:

St. Michael’s Bell Tower

The St. Michael’s you see depicted here is not the same structure that was completed in 1848, but it’s a very close recreation based upon detailed drawings made in 1961. Those drawings turned out to be a blessing, as the original structure burned down in a tragic fire in 1966. How close did they get? Below is how the church appeared in 1887:

While the exterior appears very original, once inside one would never suspect that they weren’t in the original structure:

St. Michael’s interior
St. Michael’s interior

Here are the elaborately decorated doors leading to the sanctuary:

Sanctuary doors, St. Michael’s
Sanctuary doors, St. Michael’s

And inside the sanctuary of an Orthodox church is where one finds the altar:

St. Michael’s altar

Look above the doors leading to the sanctuary for more design elements:

Above the entrance to the sanctuary, St. Michael’s

I’ll leave you today with three more St. Michael’s images:

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Cruising Alaska Off-Season — Walking Sitka

It’s the day after Juneau. Royal Caribbean‘s gigantic Ovation of the Seas made port in Sitka, Alaska on Monday, 27 September. Sitka sits primarily on Baronof Island, with a portion just across the bridge on neighboring Chichagoff Island. This city may be small in size and population, but it is large in the history of Alaska, as it was designated the Russian America capital.

Sitka Lighthouse (now a 2-bedroom luxury vacation rental)

To be sure, Sitka is a very small municipality. The total population is well under 9,000… except when a cruise ship hits town, which isn’t very often. In nine Alaska cruises, this was only our second time here. The first was in 1988 on our very first cruise, aboard Holland America‘s original, and very enchanting, MS Noordam (currently sailing as the MS Marella Celebration). It was on this cruise that we met and had a lovely chat with the acclaimed author James A. Michener, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say, Mr. Michener was an absolutely charming man, and one of the most interesting people you’d ever want to meet.

Sitka flowers

The town is not the only thing to see here. Look around at the picturesque marinas, and above for beautiful mountains. Below you’ll find some scenes of the boats in and around the marina at Crescent Bay, which is where we were dropped off by the shuttle from the ship. And the mountain vista was taken from very near this spot as well, on the parking side of the Sitka Historical Society Museum building.

Speaking of the waterfront history museum, this beautifully decked out Tlingit canoe awaits you just outside the entrance:

Tlingit canoe

Here in Sitka even the merchant building retain that old frontier charm:

Shops along Lincoln Street in Sitka

But on Wednesday’s article we’re going to move away from the commercial and on to the historical. I’ll give you a preview of what to expect in just a moment but, before I do, below are two more maritime themed photos from the maritime themed city. The first is a tug that was secured to the dock shared by Ovation of the Seas, which is some 6 miles/9.6 kilometers outside of town. The second is once again from the marina at Crescent Bay.

Alongside the cruise ship dock; a 12-minute bus ride from Sitka
Tugboat “Salvation”; belongs to the Salvation Navy perhaps?

So what will we be looking at on Wednesday’s article? How about the seat of the Alaska diocese of the Othrodox Church? We’ll be traipsing through the historic Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel:

Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel

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