Thursday, June 01, 2017

Alaskan Cruise: Day 5--Haines.

We didn’t arrive at Haines until noon after a rainy sail up the coast so we spent the morning lounging around trying to stay dry.The view from the ship was, well, eerie. (These are NOT black-and-white photos. It WAS a black-and-white kind of day.)

Sailing to Haines.

Sailing to Haines.

Sailing to Haines.
Watching the dock crew try to put the ramps up for debarkation proved entertaining. Being a small port able to accommodate only one ship at a time, and being as we were the first ship of the season, there was some trial-and-error going on but they finally succeeded and we were able to go ashore by 12:30.
Two forklifts, two ramps, six or seven men, limited maneuvering space. It was a sidewalk engineer's dream to watch them.

Story pole on shore overlooks the harbor.

Radiance of the Seas dwarfs the pier.

We took a walking tour of historic Haines that took us to the edge of the old military base (Fort William H. Seward) as well as to the Sheldon Museum (There seem to be Sheldon Jackson Museums everywhere in Alaska!) and the Hammer Museum. 

The Hammer Museum is unique, to say the least. Seems the owner/founder just started collecting hammers one day and, eventually, his wife put her foot down and said, "Do something with all these hammers cluttering up the house!" and he did. 
The Hammer Museum

Even the sign atop the roof is made of hammers

Penny farthing bike made of hammers (and a couple of crowbars)

The museum has everything from hammers that are specifically used to make cigar boxes by hand, to a huge mallet from Ringling  Brothers Circus that was used to pound tent pegs into the ground for The Big Top. Almost all the hammers have some documentation to explain their special uses but there are a few unkowns laid out asking for the public's help. 

The Sheldon Museum had examples of Tlingit craftwork as well as materials/photos of when they filmed the movie "White Fang" in Haines back in 1990. Many of the townspeople were involved in that filming including our guide who was an extra. She  pointed out several of the photos in the display in which she appeared.

Tlingit bead-and-button coat (left) and blanket shawl (right)

A better view of a Tlingit bead-and-button coat (left) and blanket shawl (right)

Tlingit wood carving of an orca.
Sheldon Jackson was a Presbyterian missionary in Colorado and later Alaska. While he suppressed the Native American's in their practice of traditional ways and even forbid the use of their language in school, he feared the loss of their history as they became acculturated. He, therefore, collected many, many artifacts in his travels which explains the many, many small museums bearing his name. (See this Wikipedia entry for more on Sheldon Jackson.)

Fort William H. Seward was first constructed around the time of the gold rush (1898) to police all of Alaska but especially those areas right around the corner, so to speak, in Skagway and then Nome. It also established a US military presence during disputes with Canada about the (relatively) nearby boundary. It was abandoned by the military at the end of WWII and sold to a private, Native American corporation, the Port Chilikoot Company. They, in turn, either developed the fort’s remaining officers’ homes as an art colony or bed-and-breakfast type of accommodations for tourists. Two of the three enlisted men’s barracks are still empty with the third having burned down several years ago. (There's a little more on the Wikipedia entry for Fort William H. Seward.)

Barracks (rear) and modern restrooms (foreground)

Window murals appear in the enlisted men's barracks. The buildings themselves are closed to the public and in need of restoration/repair.

Wood carver's studio on the grounds of Fort Seward.

The rains made the walk a bit uncomfortable but we managed.

Terry retired from the tour early as her knee was bothering her and she--like all of us--was getting wet in the rain. The tour ended about half an hour later at Fort Seward and the rest of the group of 7 hearty souls went their own way. 

I returned to the ship to dry out with a glass of bourbon before dinner.

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