"The Tourists Know the Island Better Than the Locals Do" (My Trip to Memorial Beach) - P.O.W. Report

Friday, July 22, 2016

"The Tourists Know the Island Better Than the Locals Do" (My Trip to Memorial Beach)

I have been on the Island for 15+ years and finally, finally made it to Memorial Beach last weekend!

It's a four hour drive to the Northern Tip of the Island from Craig/Hollis, perhaps a bit faster if you are daring and are good at dodging the bumps and holes in the road--and believe me I was a professional after a few miles on the dirt road!

We left Saturday afternoon around 3pm and we arrived in the parking lot of the camp site around 7 pm. There where no other vehicles except for some beat up dodge van and a few people who where using their van to 'camp out' in the parking lot (weird) but I came up to them and this being my first time I asked how far it was to the beach--they replied 'two blocks'.

By the way who answers a distance question with 'blocks'? 

Their dodge van had Alaska License plates but clearly they aren't from POW.

It's a five minute walk to the beach...

The trail eventually splits in half, the trail on the right goes to a little Memorial that explains the story behind this campsite. 

In 1978 a Grumman Goose Crashed in the area killing all 12 people on board, most of them where Forest Service employees. So, in response the Feds decided to dedicate this area and campsite to them (if you have more information on this sound off in the comments). 


We then doubled back and took the left-hand trail that took us to the three-sided cabin which was built there. To our luck there was absolutely nobody there! I couldn't believe it, here we are on a beautiful POW summer on the weekend and absolutely zero people are here! 

I immediately ran to the beach to take pictures after dropping my stuff off. Just an incredible 180 degree view of the area: 



With all my senses at full alert and soaking up the view, I heard splashes in the ocean in front of me and sure enough there was a pod of humpback whales playing and eating:

 Yes, I have seen hundreds of humpbacks and killer whales on Prince of Wales but it's a different more serene feeling when you are on 'vacation' and don't have other things on your mind to take away from the moment.   


We set up our camp, took out our camping chairs, soaked up the sights, and grilled hot dogs while watching seals and fishing boats cross the channel. 


And of course what's an Alaskan Summer without an Alaskan Summer?

Day 2:

Because of the way I structure my life, I rarely ever get a day off to relax and not do anything. So, on day two I did what the tourists would do. I went beach combing and rock-picking and sat around reading a book that I've been meaning to get to for months! Called Spy the Lie by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero--very good highly recommended (maybe i'll do a book review?) 

The clouds cleared up that evening and we were privy to an incredible sunset! And then two cruise ships came around the corner as well creating a post-card perfect scenario. Well, it would be post-card worthy if I had a fancy camera.





There where 20+ fishing ships on the water that evening and something I never saw before happened. Some rowdy kids in a skiff drove by beating on the side of the skiff in a type of native war cry. After they landed on the beach on the other side of us a humpback came out of the water and beat his tail for a solid two minutes. Then when the group in the skiff left the beach an hour later, they made a drum beat sound on the skiff again and the same thing happened with the whale tail as well.

I can't help but think the whale was joining in but I wonder if he may have been annoyed or defending his territory...any ideas?


If you are anything like me, we get caught up in life and forget to enjoy our surroundings and the beautiful island that we live on. Don't let the tourists explore this island more than you, make the time to explore and make memories. 


Read More: Life is Precious

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