DIVE PRACTICUM – Dive student Karson Winslow hands a discarded garden hose to SCUBA instructor Haleigh Damron, standing on the dock, at Crescent Harbor this afternoon. The University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Dive Team is clearing trash from the harbor floor under floats 5, 6 and 7 as part of their instruction. Fourteen student divers are taking part this year. This is the fifth year the dive team has volunteered to clean up Sitka harbors. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Weir Funds Sustain Redoubt Subsistence
17 Apr 2024 15:16

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    The threat of major cutbacks to the subsistence socke [ ... ]

Assembly Moves Ahead with 2025 Budget Talks
17 Apr 2024 15:13

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    With the first vote on the city budget for fiscal yea [ ... ]

Ye Loco Taco Wins Championship
17 Apr 2024 15:12

By Sentinel Staff
    In the final day of play in the recreational division City League volleyball [ ... ]

Sitkans Stretch Legs in Boston Marathon
17 Apr 2024 12:52

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Three amateur athletes from Sitka were among tens of  [ ... ]

House Advances Bill On Drug OD Kits in Schools
17 Apr 2024 12:50

By CLAIRE STREMPLE
Alaska Beacon
    A proposal to require Alaska schools to keep opioid-overdose-r [ ... ]

Report: Kobuk River On List of ‘Most Threatened’...
17 Apr 2024 12:49

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
    Alaska’s Kobuk River, which flows out of the Brooks Range above [ ... ]

April 17, 2024, Police Blotter
17 Apr 2024 12:38

Police Blotter
Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
April 16
At 8:07 a.m. a woman [ ... ]

April 17, 2024, Community Happenings
17 Apr 2024 12:24

Presentation On
Medicare, SS
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium and Cynthia Gibson, CFP®, an [ ... ]

Sitka Musicians Do Well at SE Music Fest
16 Apr 2024 15:30

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Musicians from Sitka High and Mt. Edgecumbe High scho [ ... ]

Walk Southeast Offers Fitness, Prizes for Sitkans
16 Apr 2024 15:28

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Whether you enjoy scaling mountains, walking in the p [ ... ]

Sitkans Turn in Times at Boston Marathon
16 Apr 2024 15:24

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Two-time Alpine Adventure Run winner Chris Brenk cont [ ... ]

House Panel Advances Trans Girls-Sports Ban
16 Apr 2024 15:23

By CLAIRE STREMPLE
Alaska Beacon
    Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee expanded a [ ... ]

Correspondence School Ruling Raising Debate
16 Apr 2024 15:22

By JAMES BROOKS and
CLAIRE STREMPLE
    The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is [ ... ]

April 16, 2024, Police Blotter
16 Apr 2024 15:20

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
April 15
A protective order was issued at 1 [ ... ]

April 16, 2024, Community Happenings
16 Apr 2024 15:17

Chamber Speaker
Event Wednesday
The Chamber of Commerce speaker series will continue noon Wednesday at [ ... ]

Latest Housing Event Brings New Insights
15 Apr 2024 15:33

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    From high costs and low availability to challenges sur [ ... ]

Work Groups Look At Housing Proposals
15 Apr 2024 15:31

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    A number of participants at Thursday’s community me [ ... ]

Legislators Hear Plea for Rights of Homeless
15 Apr 2024 15:30

By CLAIRE STREMPLE Alaska Beacon     TJ Beers stood across the street from the Capitol in a nav [ ... ]

New Budget Plan Goes from Senate to House
15 Apr 2024 15:26

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    When it rains hard enough in the Prince of Wales Island town of C [ ... ]

Additional Land Added To Tongass Wilderness
15 Apr 2024 15:20

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
A designated wilderness area in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Fo [ ... ]

AFN Leader Nominated For Denali Commission
15 Apr 2024 15:16

By YERETH ROSEN
Alaska Beacon
Julie Kitka, the longtime president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, [ ... ]

April 15, 2024, Police Blotter
15 Apr 2024 13:22

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today:
April 12
At 5:18 p.m. a caller asked for a  [ ... ]

Task Force Winds Up With Limits Unsolved
12 Apr 2024 15:31

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Sitka Tourism Task Force reviewed a number of recomme [ ... ]

World Flyers Made Sitka Stop 100 Years Ago
12 Apr 2024 15:29

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Almost exactly a century ago, the engines of four modi [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Russian Sailor Plans for Voyage Home

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer

Two years ago, a Russian-flagged inflatable catamaran sailed into Sitka, concluding a multi-year voyage from central Russia, through the Siberian river network, across the Bering Sea and along the Alaskan coast.

The vessel’s Siberia-based crew now plans to repeat the voyage in reverse next spring and summer.

Owner and captain of the Iskatel, Anatoly Kazakevich, told the Sentinel he had planned to begin the return trip in the summer of 2020, but the pandemic threw a wrench in his plans.

The Iskatel – which translates to English as “The Seeker” – arrived here in August 2019, after retracing the route taken by Russians in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Once in Sitka, Kazakevich arranged to have his 40-foot inflatable stored here until he had the chance to put it to sea again.

In a Zoom call with the Sentinel on Friday, Kazakevich said he and his crew plan to return in the spring to make repairs on Iskatel and begin the long voyage back to Siberia.

“Two years ago, we finished Baikal-Alaska in Sitka, and now we wait on two questions. First of all is COVID, questions with COVID, but I hope after winter in spring the situation will be better,” Kazakevich said in the call from Irkutsk. “And the second situation is a visa. Russia and the USA have a political problem with visas and we have a way to make a visa for next year, and I hope in the winter time we will do this. And in May or June we will come next year and prepare boat for organization expedition.”

Bill Foster checks out the 40-foot Russian-flagged catamaran that’s been hauled out near the UAS parking lot for the past two years. The pandemic put a halt to the international sailing trip, but the skipper is hopeful about resuming the adventure in the spring. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

He and his crew made the initial voyage over several years, and in 2022 Kazakevich hopes to sail about 2,500 kilometers to Kodiak or Homer. But first, the boat needs some repairs after years on shore exposed to the elements. The vessel is propelled by four sails and twin outboard engines. A large tent on the deck offers shelter to the crew.

He said the initial leg of the return voyage will be a good test to ensure the boat is ready for the Bering Sea.

“We have to prepare the catamaran, we have to buy new masts and do a lot of things. We have a big shadow for this. And after we replace and fix all problems we have to test a way for 3,000 kilometers is a good test, because across the Bering Sea and across the Bering Strait is a difficult way and the catamaran has to be prepared excellently,” Kazakevich said.

Last week, Iskatel crew member Andrey Gridnev was in Sitka to check on the state of the vessel and make preliminary preparations for the summer. He was happy to say the vessel remains in decent condition.

“When I came down and checked out our boat, the floating boat, in spite of all those years it looks great. It’s in great shape,” Gridnev said.

Back in 2019, Gridnev crewed the catamaran from Whittier to Sitka on the final leg of the voyage.

“This is his (Kazakevich’s) life and stuff,” he said. “We were just joined to the expedition, to the crews on some certain parts of the trip. My part was there in 2019 from Whittier right down to Sitka,” Gridnev said.

He especially appreciated the help of Greg George, operations supervisor for the University of Alaska Southeast.

“We were in a worry, what’s happening? And Greg George, he works for Alaska University (UAS). Really, really great thanks and appreciation for him and his help. He was taking care about the boat all these years,” Gridnev reported.

The boat remains today where it was pulled up onto land in 2019, not far from the UAS boat ramp.

Tensions between the United States and Russia are high, and Kazakevich compared the political dynamic to a “glass wall” that separates neighbors.

“This wall is just in our mind, but we are neighbors and all people are interested and all people who live in Alaska are interested in how people live in Siberia,” he said. “And people in Siberia are very interested in how people live in Alaska, they can communicate. We can exchange experiences and we can try to do something together.”

He hopes that Alaskans will join him on his expedition next year.

“Next year, it’s our plan in June and we will start and we hope maybe some people from Alaska will come into our crew and we will do an international crew, it will be more interesting,” he said.

Looking back on his 2019 voyage, he most misses the people he encountered along the way, comparing them to a family.

“First of all I think is the people and the people who live in this territory in the coastline, in the rivers are a people who live with nature and they are a very open people and friendship of all people is good,” he said.

After his return to Russia two years ago, he said, he made a number of presentations about his voyage and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kazakevich extended an invitation to anyone interested in the expedition.

“The Alaskan people are very friendly and it’s very important that we know that Americans and people from Russia can trust each other and are friendly to each other. Come down to our place and we’ll host you,” he said.

More information on Kazakevich’s adventures is available on https://en.baikal-alaska.ru/.

 

You have no rights to post comments

Login Form

 

20 YEARS AGO

April 2004

Photo caption: Sitka High students in the guitar music class gather in the hall before the school’s spring concert. The concert was dedicated to music instructor Brad Howey, who taught more than 1,000 Sitka High students from 1993 to 2004. From left are Kristina Bidwell, Rachel Ulrich, Mitch Rusk, Nicholas Mitchell, Eris Weis and Joey Metz.

50 YEARS AGO

April 1974

The Fair Deal Association of Sealaska shareholders selected Nelson Frank as their candidate for the Sealaska Board of Directors at the ANB Hall Thursday.

Calendar

Local Events

Instagram

Daily Sitka Sentinel on Instagram!

Facebook

Daily Sitka Sentinel on Facebook!