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Dutch Harbor Alaska

Traveling around bush Alaska for six years, I often visited the Aleutian Islands. This photo is of a barge hauling old equipment around in the waters around the fishing port town of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. If you look closely you can see all the eagles hanging out on the riggings.

Eagles are everywhere as are seals and sea lions and occasionally whales. Dutch Harbor became world-famous with the Discovery TV show, “The Deadliest Catch”, and oftimes while I was there, I would see the big crabbing boats in dock.

Far from the beaten path, Dutch Harbor is situated on Unalaska Island which is part of the Aleutian Island chain. It costs a pretty penny to get out there unless you have air miles or somebody paying your way. I used to go about twice a year and experienced every season.

The town is small with one of everything. It’s isolated and tiny, but it has a really comfortable feel, and it is gorgeous! I would love walking around the small town, or in this case a friend of mine took me out on her skiff. We got up close to lots of marine life, while her Aleutian husband peppered me with the history of the area.

I also had the good luck to bring my two daughters on this trip with me. Who ever gets a chance to visit the Aleutians, especially as children?

A barge with eagles in the rigging in Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island in Alaska.
The harbor in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

They have a beautiful hotel there called the Grand Aleutian, which I loved staying in and eating their crab on sourdough sandwiches. It was a nice place to come back to each night after I would visit the schools and school children, run a program or two for them, and catch up with the moms in the community.

I never talked to too many dads. Either they were fishing or fixing their boat, or their nets, or whatever else they had to do. The fisherman has a pretty hard life.

What is one of the most out-of-the-way places you have been to? Ever been to the Aleutians? Dutch Harbor? If you ever get the chance, jump at it. It’s a great little town.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.


Thursday 26th of February 2015

I saw this in your other post and I squealed with excitement to click over to hear. I've watched Deadliest Catch from Season 1, Episode 1 and am an "addict" tot the show. Except it's gotten a bit soap-opera'ish here and there that I don't like. Visiting Dutch Harbor is a huge bucket list item for me. And ironically thank you to Alaska Airlines out of Reno it wouldn't be too painful flight wise to get up there! I even checked out the Grand Aleutian about 4 months ago and there were some not so good reviews. Soooo, I'm GREATLY relieved to hear you stayed there and it's a pretty decent property. I went from sad in the other post (not your fault...just my mortal reality) butterflies of possibilities here, Corinne! Ironically I would want to go up there in the winter to see the "famous" boats. I know it's brutal cold. Anyhoo, thank you for the smile this put on my face! :)

Corinne Vail

Thursday 26th of February 2015

Mike, Dutch Harbor is really out there...and there is not much to do. It's a lot of money for only a few days. But saying that, I always loved my time there.