Edna Bay, Kosciusko Island. July 20-21, 2013.
24 July 2013 | posted at Craig
Photo: Edna Bay's school and teacher housing.
Steve has an unofficial goal of visiting all the towns in SE Alaska. By now we only have a few we haven't seen and I keep asking, are they worth it? But when we were planning our route from Coronation Island to the west coast of Prince of Wales Island and we realized Edna Bay, one of the few we haven't seen, would be on our way, we decided to stop there.
We weren't sure where the town was (or even if it really is a town), but the chart did show "Ruins" next to the words "Edna Bay," on the west side of the bay so we decided that was a likely place to start. That location also promised the best anchorage, behind a row of small islands.
We left a red buoy to starboard and followed the shore of Kosciusko Island into the anchorage. We could see small houses scattered along the shore and not too far from our anchorage, an institutional blue building. Steve knew someone who owned property in Edna Bay and thought it would be fun to look him up. Unfortunately, he had no idea where the property was. "Let's go ashore to that blue building. Maybe it's a store," said Steve. "They'll know where he lives."
We landed the dinghy on a hard-packed beach that obviously served as a town launch ramp and walked up a dirt road to the blue building. "It 's a school," said Steve, looking at the playground next to it. Through one of the windows I could see a light and a bunk bed. "Maybe it's a bunkhouse, "I said.
We knocked at the door and it immediately opened to reveal two teenagers smiling at us. We explained what we were looking for and they invited us into a room with a kitchen on one end and a long table along the window. Teenagers and children were milling around. A woman introduced herself as Angi Near and explained that her husband (away on an errand) was the new school teacher for Edna Bay and these were their six children. Although she didn't know Steve's friend, she produced a phone list of residents and we learned that he was out of town.
We were soon sitting at the long table drinking tea and eating home-baked bread with home made strawberry jam and talking to Angi and her oldest daughter Hannah. I had heard that schoolteachers with large families were in demand in small towns in SE Alaska and Angi confirmed it. "We were in Port Protection last year, but there weren't enough students for us this year. They found another teacher with nine kids and moved us here. Hannah graduated last spring so we have only five of our own in school. Hannah's going to college in Juneau. She got a scholarship."
"I was at the top of my class," Hannah said. The bottom and the middle too, but I had a 4.0 grade point."
We talked about the town. "There's really nothing here, there's no real center. There's a grocery store up the street, open 2-4 pm, and a dock across the bay but there's nothing there but the dock. But everybody that lives here is very friendly."
As we left to go back to Osprey, Angi asked, "Would you like a jar of strawberry jam to take back with you?" Of course we would.
I have on board some jars of cranberry chutney that I make every year as hostess gifts, so the next morning we took one ashore for the Nears. They weren't home, but we left it on the porch. At the launching ramp three men were cleaning fish and putting them into a cooler. "Could you use some halibut?" one of the men asked. "Just take what you want from the cooler." When we took only one fillet, he asked, "Don't you have a freezer?"
There's nothing at Edna Bay but very friendly people.