Hoonah. July 1-July 2, 2011.
18 July 2011 | posted at Sitka
Photo: Hammer and nail contest at Hoonah.
“Ready, set, go,” yelled the announcer. A din of clonks, bangs and laughter erupted as a dozen people started pounding nails into wooden planks. A few minutes the first contestant to pound both his nails in straight raised his hammer in celebration. “We’ve got a first place winner!” shouted the announcer. “Who will be second?”
We were watching Hoonah’s 4th of July Celebration. It had started with a parade, moved on to foot races, lemon-rolling contests, pudding eating contests and now the hammer and nail contest. The egg-tossing contest was still ahead. It was a fine 4th of July. But there was one problem: It wasn’t the 4th of July. A cruise ship was schedule to arrive at Hoonah’s Icy Strait Point Development on the 4th and so many Hoonah residents had to work on that day that the town had moved their Independence Day celebration to July 2nd. “Happy 4th of July on the 2nd ” said a sign on a fire truck in the parade.
Hoonah’s scheduling problem was our scheduling break. We’d been debating where to anchor the night before our Glacier Bay permit started on July 3rd. With southeasterlies forecast, there weren’t many options. Karen and Dave were eager to see an Alaskan 4th of July, something we thought we would miss because of our permit. We decided to stay another day and get up at 4:30 on the 3rd to ride the tide out Icy Strait to Glacier Bay.
The change in the Indpendence Day celebration wasn’t the only change we found in Hoonah since we were last here in 2008. Some were good: the Office Bar had added wifi and the town library was now open in the summer. Others we weren’t so sure of: The Galley Restaurant was now the Misty Bay Lodge and the halibut pizza had been replaced with a seafood pizza with an Alfredo sauce. And Paul Dybdahl had finally retired from the Harbormaster’s job. But the Harbor office still insisted we either pay moorage for our dinghy or put it on deck and the Laundramat and showers were as clean as ever. In short, Hoonah is still a great stop on the way to Glacier Bay.