And so here I am, in a room in the Grand Aleutian hotel, second floor—right outside the window, handing out on the porch railing, is a huge, mature, fully grown bald eagle. It has a yellow beak and a stern expression. The wind is blowing hard, so its feathers are ruffled. It shifts its weight from foot to foot. There was, earlier, an immature bald eagle, but it has come and gone. It doesn’t have the patience that this eagle has.
This eagle is waiting for someone to toss it some food. Kathy just obliged and tossed it a portion of a grilled cheese sandwich. It has now hopped off the railing and is now on the deck, examining the food. I suspect that the eagles here (and there are hundreds of them) can afford to be picky. There are of course the hotel pickings. And this being a fishing port, there are cannery pickings.
We have a view of the inlet – the water now has small whitecaps. There are ducks on the water, the kind that dive underwater. I would really like to bring my sister here – I sense that this place is a birders paradise.
On the very far side of inlet are Maersk shipping containers and office trailer detritus.
There are fishermen from all over the world here. Guys in ball caps, broad shoulders, big bellies, pudgy faces. Not the sort of people that I’d like to associate with. This is part and parcel a part of Alaska’s boom and bust economy – those who have a bent for skills based labor end up out here. If you are big and strong you can make a quick buck – and spend a chunk of it in the bar.