Kodiak, Alaska, US
The largest of the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak is also Alaska’s largest island the second largest in the United States. Although occupied by native people for some 7,000 years, it languished in relative obscurity until the Second World War, when it housed as many as 25,000 troops. Fort Abercrombie, once the major center of North Pacific operations, today is a State Historic Park and a good place to learn the history. At the other end of the road system is the United States Coast Guard’s largest base, with a fleet of orange and white watercraft and aircraft that serves the Alaskan fishing fleet and other shipping and maritime activities in the Pacific area. Kodiak harbor is seasonally home to a fleet of some 650 fishing vessels, including huge trawlers, long-line and crab boats. Fishing is also a popular draw for visitors, but they also are attracted by opportunities to view and photograph local birds and wildlife, including the island’s massive brown bears, the males of which weigh as much as 1,500 pounds and stand ten feet tall. In the town, the fur warehouse originally built by the Russian American Company in 1808 is now the Baranov Museum, the oldest standing building in Alaska.