Jim Hlay's Adak 2000 Report

<-- Photographs by Jim Hlay. Copyright AD 2000 by Jim Hlay. Click on the left side for 800x600 pixel enlargement, right side for 1600x1200 BIG enlargement suitable for printing for your personal purposes. Contact Jim Hlay for commercial distribution purposes. Camera is a Nikon Coolpix (800 or 950?) digital camera. Top to bottom: A mountain peak on the way to Adak. MV Lucky Island at pier, view north, Norpac hill upper right in the background. The cliffs on the north side of Kuluk Bay with Command Car Hill just right of center and Zeto Point in the background. A rare sunny moment indeed. Chapel Cove. West of Chapel Cove, view to north. Dr. Heber Simmons, Jr., searching for caribou west of Chapel Cove. Terrain west of Chapel Cove. Yakak peninsula cliffs. Kanaga volcano puffing away. The three peaks of Mt. Vincennes. Plateau south of Three-Arm Bay. Big caribou.

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From: Jim Hlay
Subject: Trip To Adak
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 17:49:14 -0400

I got home last night from my hunting trip to southwest Adak - three days late and completely exhausted.. Quite an adventure, as everyone predicted. The base seems so deserted - probably because it mostly is, I guess. Our Reeve flight to the island was delayed nine hours, then the weather kept us at the base for most of two days. We stayed in one of the Sandy Cove housing units, watching the Olympics on satellite tv. The fishing boat (MV Lucky Island) hired to take our party to the southwest part of the island would have struggled. As it was, it still took us six hours to get to Chapel Cove on Wednesday once the weather cleared.

We moved on Thursday (9/21) to Three Arm Bay, where my hunting partner and I each killed big bulls on Saturday (his will easily make the record book.) The weather then turned very bad, and we were stuck there until Thursday (9/28). The boat was stuck there with us, at the end of South Arm, during the storm. It took us nine hours on Thursday to get back to port, and we only got off the island because the Reeve flight was again delayed, this time for ten hours. We had been scheduled to leave on Monday, 9/25, but everything was pretty well shut down, and we were still stuck back at the cabin. If the plane had not been late, I'd still be there.

I've never been anywhere like Adak. Maybe there is no place like Adak. We saw a whale (species unknown), Dahl's porpoises, Steller's Sea Lions, puffins, fox, eagles, and of course those beautiful big caribou. I'd love to go back, but getting there is only going to get tougher. Because the sea lion population is falling, there is apparently talk of extending the fishing exclusion zone to 20 miles. The few remaining locals say that will shut them down at Adak. According to the delightful people at the terminal, the Reeve outbound flights are full of people with one way tickets. Despite the efforts of the ARC (Adak Reuse Commission), I didn't see anything near the critical mass needed to keep the place going, and I think that's sad. Such a beautiful place, when the skies are clear enough to see.

I saw your handiwork (Michael Gordon's 3-D model of the island) at the FWS offices. Very nice. We went there to get a map of the island, but the lady at the counter said she couldn't give us one because she only had 12 left.....???? No lie.

I have attached a photo I took at Chapel Cove, showing the fishing boat that we rode. Can't get over the scenery.


Jim Hlay

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