Category Archives: Alaska

Wild Alaska Salmon Day

It’s Wild Alaska Salmon Day and the cohos are starting to run. Grab those rods and get yourself out to your favorite body of water today!


Bogoslof


Bogoslof volcano, as seen from a satellite image, 18 minutes after the start of the eruption 5.28.17

Bogoslof once again went red on Monday morning at 10am. The ash plume extended to 32,000′. The ash cloud from the above photo, from a May eruption, rose to over 40,000′. Since December, Bogoslof has erupted 60 times.

Photo credit: AVO/Dave Schneider


Walrus Cam


Getting cozy on Round Island

Walrus Cam on Round Island

This is one I didn’t know about: explore.org has a Walrus Cam out on Round Island in Alaska’s beautiful Bristol Bay. The Alaska Fish & Game offers walrus viewing permits between May 1 – August 15, which begs the question: How many do they issue?

As many as 14,000 walruses have been counted on Round Island at one time. If you go, you will also see tens of thousands of seabirds.

Before clicking on the link above, I should warn you that the Walrus Cam does not have the action of the Katmai Bear Cam. No salmon jumping, or bears catching salmon mid-air.

I will say that a walrus sure knows how to relax when visiting Alaska.

Photo & cam credit: explore.org


Katmai Bear Cam

Katmai Bear Cam

Thanks to the fine folks at explore.org, the Bear Cam is back up at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park & Preserve. The salmon are running (and jumping), so follow the link at the top, and check out the dining habits of some Alaskan brown bears.


The Akutan Zero

On 4 June 1942, during the Battle of Dutch Harbor, a 19 year old Japanese pilot, Tadayoshi Koga, left the carrier Ryūjō in his Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero. Upon reaching the harbor, Koga and his two wingmen shot down a PBY-5A Catalina Flying Boat. Koga strafed the PBY survivors while they were in the water, and when doing so, his Zero was hit by small arms fire.

Akutan Zero trailing oil
Koga’s Zero above Dutch Harbor after it was hit by small arms fire. Notice the oil trail.

The fatal shot to Koga’s Zero hit the oil return line. Koga and his wingmen flew to Akutan Island, which was a recovery point for Japanese airmen. A submarine was nearby to pick anyone up who needed evacuation. The Zeros all circled the grassy field and Koga went in for an emergency landing. With his wheels down.

Akutan Zero
Koga’s inverted Zero

The wheels of the Zero immediately caught in the soft muskeg, and the plane flipped, killing Petty Officer Koga. The wingmen had orders to destroy any Zero to keep it out of enemy hands, but the wingmen could not fire on the upside down Zero, because they did not know if Koga was still alive. They flew off for their home carrier.

akutanzero1
Recovery of the Akutan Zero

On 10 July 1942, Lt William Thies spotted the wreckage while on patrol in his PBY Catalina. The PBY circled the downed plane several times, marked its location on a map, and returned to Dutch Harbor with the news.

The next day, a recovery team flew out to inspect the Zero. Thies talked his way onto the team. The Zero was almost completely intact. Petty Officer Koga was believed to have died instantly when the plane’s canopy hit the earth. Koga was cut from the Zero and buried nearby.

On 15 July, the Zero was pulled out of the mud and transported to a barge. In Dutch Harbor, it was flipped upright, cleaned and loaded onto the USS St Mihiel. By 1 August, it was in Seattle, and then onward to San Diego, where it was repaired. By 20 September, the Zero was flying again, this time painted with the American Blue Circle/White Star insignia.

Several wrecked Zeros were recovered after the attack on Pearl Harbor, but none were in near flying condition as the Akutan Zero. The plane was analyzed thoroughly, and it is generally agreed that the recovery of the plane led to information which helped the pilots flying against it.

The Akutan Zero was destroyed in February of 1945, when a SB2C Helldiver lost control and ran into the Zero on the runway. The Helldivers propellers cut the Zero into pieces. Several museums, including the Alaska Heritage Museum, have parts of the aircraft.

Tadayoshi Koga
Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga


Alaskan 4th of July Humor

A “float” at the McCarthy Independence Day parade.

Photo credit: Wrangell-St Elias NP&P


Happy Fourth!


A July 4th pillow fight, Fairbanks, Alaska 1917

Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska – Fairbanks Archives