January 30 - February 6, 2016: Issue 249
“FLIGHTSEEING” OUT OF ANCHORAGE ALASKA
A float plane - the Alaskan workhorse.
“FLIGHTSEEING” OUT OF ANCHORAGE ALASKA
By George Repin
James Michener’s book Alaska, published in 1988, based on extensive historical and cultural research, provides a comprehensive overview of this fascinating area of the North American continent. It is a valuable, although somewhat overwhelming resource for anyone wishing to visit and to understand how and why Alaska is so different from the rest of the United States of America.
Few remember that Russia in the eighteenth century had a significant presence on the West Coast of North America not only in Alaska but as far south as what is today California. The Russians vied for influence with England in the north and with Spain in the south. It was the wealth provided by the valuable trade in fur pelts which attracted the Russians.
By the 1860s however the Russians were overextended. The Napoleonic Wars, declining fur trade and the distance between the heartland of Russia and the settlement at Sitka in Alaska proved a financial drain. They approached the United States to sell Alaska several times but it was not until 1867 that William H Seward, the Secretary of State – with great foresight - signed a treaty to buy Alaska for $US7.2 million (less than 2 cents an acre). Seward was seriously criticised for his “folly” and the battle in the Senate to ratify the treaty lasted six months. The formal transfer of Alaska to the Americans took place at Sitka on 18 October, 1867 and Alaska formally became a U.S Territory in 1912.
In the light of today’s geopolitical realities it is interesting to speculate on the implications had a substantial Russian presence remained on the North American Continent.
Although Juneau is the capital of Alaska, Anchorage really is the heart of the state and the centre of the state’s commerce and financial communities. It is the hub of Alaska’s road system and home to almost half of the state’s residents. There are more than twice as many state employees in Anchorage than in Juneau and it is to a large extent the centre of State and Federal government activity in Alaska.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a refuelling stop for many international passenger airline services using great circle routes. It is within 9.5 hours by air from nearly 90% of the industrialised world and is the third busiest in the world for cargo traffic It is slightly further north than Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg.
Adjoining the International Airport is the Lake Hood Seaplane Base – the largest such base in the world – servicing the Alaskan rural areas - “the bush” - for whom aviation has been the lifeline over the years.
Lake Hood is also the centre for Flightseeing, a major Anchorage tourist attraction. Flights in small aircraft carry visitors over nearby snow covered mountains, snowfields, rivers, and glaciers. Wildlife seen from the air may include sea otters and seals. If weather conditions are favourable landings are made on lakes and passengers have the opportunity to get out on to pebble beaches.
Happy tourists and their float plane
Float planes at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base
Photographs accompanying this article were taken in 1998 during a flight in a single-engine Cessna float-plane out of Anchorage.
Float plane beached on a pebble beach
Glacier valley with surrounding peaks
Leading edge of the glacier
The "calving " edge of the glacier
Icebergs "calved off" from the glacier
Snow- capped islands offshore
Panoramic view across a lake
Previous Reflections by George Repin
The Nineteen Thirties Remembering Rowe Street The Sydney Push Saturday Night at the Movies Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram A Stop On The Road To Canberra City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s Hill End The Paragon at Katoomba Seafood In Sydney How Far From Sydney? Cockatoo Island Over The Years The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991 Busby's Bore The Trocadero In Sydney Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection Gloucester and the Barrington Tops A Millenium Apart Have You Stopped to Look? Gulgong Il Porcellino Olympia Durham Hall Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia Hotels at Bondi Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone The Goroka Show - 1958 A Gem On The Quay Staffa The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls The Coal Mine At Balmain The Hyde Park Barracks The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955 King Island Kelp The Mercury Theatre Around Angkor - 1963 Angkor Wat 1963 Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli Chairman Mao's Personal Physician The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic Museum in Monaco The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi Pula The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park Aphrodisias The Divine Comedy Caodaism Sapa and local Hill People A Few Children Cappadocia Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997 Hotere Garden Oputae Children of the Trobriand Islands Page Park Market - Rabaul Rabual Kotor, Montenegro Galleries of Photographs I Lascaux Galleries of Photographs II The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia Ivan Meštrović - Sculptor Delphi Gallery of Photographs III The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point San Simeon - "Hearst Castle" Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982 Russian New Year Mycenae
Copyright George Repin 2016. All Rights Reserved.