Kodiak is a workers’ town. Unlike many ports in the southeast, tourism in Kodiak is nice, but not necessary. Hence, there are no campgrounds near the city, nobody running a shuttle service to the airport, and the town’s one hostel is filled with cannery workers.
Everybody is too busy working, primarily at sea. Kodiak sits at the crossroads of some of the most productive fishing grounds in the world and is home to Alaska’s largest fishing fleet – 650 boats, including the state’s largest trawl, longline and crab vessels. The fleet and the 12 shore-based processors, including the Star of Kodiak, a WWII vessel converted into a fish plant downtown, account for more than 50% of employment on the island.
Kodiak works hard. It’s consistently one of the top three fishing ports in the country and second only to Dutch Harbor for value of product and tonnage processed. Since the king-crab moratorium in 1983, Kodiak has diversified to catch everything from salmon, pollock and cod to sea cucumbers. In 1995 Kodiak set a record when 49 million lb of salmon crossed its docks.
It is also home to the largest US coast-guard station, while at Cape Narrow, at the south end of the island, is the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC), a $38 million low-earth orbit launch facility.
You’ll find residents friendly: lively at night in the bars, and often stopping to offer you a lift even without a thumb being extended. But in the morning they go to work. This is the real Alaska: unaltered, unassuming and not inundated by tourism. Arrive for the scenery, stay to enjoy outdoor adventures that range from kayaking to photographing a 1000lb bear. But most of all, come to Kodiak to meet people who struggle at sea to earn a living on the stormy edge of the Pacific Ocean. This is a lesson in life worth the price of an airline ticket from Anchorage.
The town of Kodiak is on the east side of the island, with three main roads splintering from the city center.