It’s hard to convey, in words or even in pictures, just how breathtaking this trip is. The size and scope of the geography, the ingenuity and determination of those that live and work in its most obscure places, and the unexpected relics left behind–they all defy description.
When Otto heard that I had a family connection with a little village called Namu that we passed today, he offered to duck the boat into the harbor to let me take a closer look. In its heyday, Namu was a thriving community with a big cannery and all the amenities you’d want in a small town: movie theatre, laundromat, bowling alley, liquor store and more. There were sizable Japanese and Native communities here, as well, with their own “villages” connected to Namu. At its busiest, the cannery was operating 24 hours a day in three shifts, processing tons and tons of fish. My grandfather spent a couple of years working in the cannery here.
As the fishing industry changed and centralized, and as once-bountiful stocks became depleted, Namu was all but abandoned. As you can see from these images, the years and the climate have not been kind to the structures at Namu; there’s now a newer float-home that was towed in, but almost everything else looks completely derelict and unsafe. It’s really too bad; it would’ve been an amazing place to see in its prime.
During the trip, you can either check this blog for the latest entries, or you can go to this interactive map of all the blog posts related to this trip. You can also find photos from the trip on Flickr.