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Harriman Expedition Retraced



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2001 itinerary

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2001 Expedition Itinerary

July 21, 2001 - Seattle
Harriman Expedition Retraced participants gather from around the nation in Seattle. The evening lecture, marking the first gathering of the Harriman Scholars and expedition participants, will be presented by Kay Sloan, co-author of Looking Far North: The Harriman Expedition to Alaska, 1899.

July 22, 2001 - Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Retraced participants fly to Prince Rupert, British Columbia to board the M/V Clipper Odyssey, while the ship takes on provisions. The reincarnation of E.H. Harriman's "floating university" makes final preparation for the 30- day voyage.


Cape Fox Inner Passage

Inner passage waterway near Cape Fox.
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July 23, 2001 - Cape Fox, Metlakatla Village/Ketchikan
The expedition travels though Alaska's Inside Passage, visiting Old Cape Fox Village and Metlakatla Village on Annette Island. With permission of Saanya Kwaan tribe elders and leaders, the expedition lands at Old Cape Fox Village to honor Saanya Kwaan tribe history. Tribe members will join the expedition and travel with the ship to Metlakatla and Ketchikan. Old Cape Fox Village artifacts originally gathered by the 1899 expedition, and subsequently housed in U.S. museums, will be repatriated. In Ketchikan, the Saanya Kwaan will host a "welcome home" celebration whose theme is "100 Years of Healing," honoring the spirits of the objects and commemorating the repatriation.

July 24, 2001 - Wrangell and Farragut Bay
The ship will cruise through the Wrangell Narrows, making a port call in the town of Wrangell. Russian fur traders, looking to block the Hudson Bay Company's advances via British Columbia, established Wrangell in 1834. The Clipper Odyssey anchors for the evening at Farragut Bay, where in 1899, scientists conducted collecting trips.

July 25, 2001 - Taku Harbor and Juneau
After a brief stop in Taku Harbor, where C. Hart Merriam surveyed small mammals, the ship will dock in Juneau for the night.

July 26, 2001 - Skagway and the Railway to White Pass, Yukon Territory
The expedition will navigate through Lynn Canal to Skagway, then ride the White Pass Railroad to the summit of White Pass, gateway to the Klondike. In 1899, Skagway was a two-year-old boomtown, with a population of 3,117. E.H. Harriman wanted to see the narrow gauge railroad and the engineering feat required for its construction. The day's theme is ecotourism and its role in Alaska's continually evolving coastal the economy.

July 27, 2001 - Peril Strait and Sitka
As in 1899, the expedition will spend a day at Sitka, once the territorial capital of Alaska. Continuing the theme of economic development and the environment, the ship's visit will be hosted by Sitka community representatives. Together we will explore Sitka's history, from Russian fur trading to contemporary issues involving the changing role of logging and forest products in Sitka's future.

July 28, 2001 - Point Adolphus and Glacier Bay
The Clipper Odyssey passes Point Adolphus in Icy Strait, a rich feeding ground for whales, before entering Glacier Bay. The granite peaked entrance to Glacier Bay and crystalline icebergs were, even in Harriman's day, a favored touring spot. Today, this glacial ecosystem is a National Park, a Biosphere Reserve and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Members of the Glacier Bay community will join the ship as it cruises the bay, to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in preserving and managing this magnificent resource.

July 29, 2001 - Yakutat Bay, the Hubbard Glacier and Yakutat Village
The ship enters Disenchantment Bay, named in 1791 by the Italian navigator Alejandro Malaspina, who sadly discovered that the bay was not the elusive Northwest Passage to Asia. The expedition will see the Hubbard and Malaspina Glaciers, and visit the Tlingit village of Yakutat. At Yakutat, members of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe will host our visit, focusing on their history and culture.

July 30, 2001 - Kayak Island
The expedition passes Mt. St. Elias and cruises to Kayak Island, site of one of the earliest European explorations.

July 31, 2001 - Prince William Sound: Cordova and Valdez
Passing Orca, where the G.W. Elder stopped in 1899 for repairs, the Clipper Odyssey anchors off Cordova, near the Chugach National Forest. The Cordova community hosts our visit with an introduction to Prince William Sound. A panel of scientists and industry leaders will join the ship to discuss Alaska's oil economy, the political and environmental effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the future of Prince William Sound. The ship proceeds through the Valdez Narrows to Valdez, terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

College Fiord

College Fiord, Prince William Sound, 1999.
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August 1, 2001 - Prince William Sound: Columbia Glacier, College Fjord and Harriman Fjord
Sailing through Prince William Sound, the expedition will pass glacier after glacier named by the Harriman Expedition in 1899, including the College Fiord glaciers named for Yale, Harvard and Smith College. The ship sails through Doran Strait, named in 1899 to honor Capt. Peter Doran, the G.W. Elder's captain. At this point the Clipper Odyssey enters the long, narrow fiord first explored by the original 1899 expedition, and from that day forward, called the Harriman Fiord.

August 2, 2001 - Prince William Sound: Knight Island and LaTouche Island
As with the original expedition, the ship will explore Prince William Sound for a second day, surveying LaTouche and Knight Islands. E. H. Harriman and W.B Devereux were particularly interested in LaTouche Island's copper mining operation.

August 3, 2001 - Chiswell Islands, Nuka Bay, Seldovia Bay
The Clipper Odyssey will sail through the Chiswells, an archipelago of small, rocky islands off the Kenai Peninsula that are home to thousands of birds and sea mammals.

Walkway built near Habibut Cove

Walkway built near Halibut Cove in south-central Alaska.
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August 4, 2001 - Homer
Our ship will dock at Homer for the day to take on provisions and water. Just after midnight, we set sail on the second leg of the journey, making our way toward the open waters of the North Pacific and Bering Sea.


Scientists examining dead puffin

Biologists examine a Tufted Puffin in breeding plumage found in the wildlife-rich waters near the Chiswells, 1999.
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August 5, 2001 - Kenai Fjords and Barren Islands
The ship sails the coast of the Kenai Fiords National Park, known for its high diversity of wildlife and ecosystems, including one of the largest icefields in North America (50 by 30 miles). Our exploration extends to the Barren Islands where we survey seabirds and sea lions.

Kodiak bears

Kodiak bears in water, Kodiak Island.
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August 6, 2001 - Kodiak Island and Kupreanof Strait
We dock at Kodiak, Alaska's largest island, and site of the 1899 Fourth of July celebration, parade, and kayak races. In the midst of the patriotic celebration, Charles Keeler read a lengthy diatribe against U.S. intervention in the Philippines, which was duly noted, but did not dampen the festivities. It was also on Kodiak that E.H. Harriman eventually shot his bear. The Kodiak community will host a series of site visits exploring the Native and Russian history of the island, as well as the marine science research that supports Kodiak's extensive fishing industry.

August 7, 2001 - Kukak Bay and Geographic Harbor, Katmai National Park and Preserve
The expedition begins its survey of the Alaskan Peninsula, with landings in the Katmai National Park and Preserve, including Geographic Harbor and Kukak Bay. In 1899, a scientific party of 6 spent a week in Kukak Bay collecting and botanizing. The collecting party could not have imagined the cataclysmic event that would occur in the region, 13 years later. Within what is now Katmai's boundaries, the Novarupta Volcano exploded in 1912, displacing seven cubic miles of the earth's crust. A landscape resulted that contained thousands of geysers reaching 500-1000 feet into the air. Our surveys of the Park's 10-mile wide Shelikof Strait coastal zone will touch a minute portion of Katmai's four million acres.

August 8, 2001 - Chirikof and Semidi Islands
As the ship makes its way to the Aleutian Chain, we enter waters considered to be among the richest fishing grounds on earth. Species at the center of this North Pacific fishery are halibut, pollack, salmon, and king crab. We will see the ecological and social influence of this vast resource as we explore the Chirikof and Semidi Islands, the former named for the second-in-command on the Bering Expedition of 1741.

Sea lions resting near Popof Island, 1999

Sea lions resting near Popof Island, 1999.
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August 9, 2001 - Popof and Unga, Shumagin Islands
The ship will anchor off Popof Island, within the Shumagin Islands group. In 1899, several of the scientists left the Elder for a ten-day camping and survey trip to examine the intertidal zone and the islands volcanic formations. With a naturalist's curiosity, these scientists began to gather geological observations in one of the most tectonically active areas on earth. Though no unified theory existed in 1899, the early stirrings of geologists such as those on the Harriman Expedition led to the eventual development of the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

August 10, 2001 - High Island, Unimak Island and Unimak Pass
The Clipper Odyssey enters the Aleutian Chain with a landing on Unimak Island. From this point, the Aleutians extend for another 1000 miles into the North Pacific, establishing the most western point in the United States. The near perfect cone of Shishaldin Volcano dominates Unimak's landscape. Being the largest volcano in Aleutians, it rises 9,373 ft. above sea level. Shishaldin is also one of the more volcanically active in the Chain, erupting at least 27 times since 1775.


Murres on rock, Dutch Harbor.
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August 11, 2001 - Dutch Harbor, Unalaska and Bogoslof Island
The first activity of the day is a port call at Dutch Harbor, where John Burroughs, wracked by constant seasickness, tried to jump ship in 1899. In Dutch Harbor, a gateway to the Bering Sea ecosystem, a panel of fisherman, scientists and policymakers will join our discussion concerning the role of the international fishing industry in the region. In the afternoon the expedition will approach the volcanic Bogoslof Island, which is actually two volcanoes joined. In 1796, Old Bogoslof emerged out of the Bering Sea. Then, 87 years later, in 1883, just 16 years prior to the Harriman Expedition, new Bogoslof rose from the ocean floor. From our vantage point on the Rim of Fire, we will explore plate tectonics and the recovery efforts for the Stellar sea lion.

August 12, 2001 - St. George, Pribilof Islands
The Clipper Odyssey visits St. George, Pribilof Islands, in the Bering Sea. This is our first landing in the tiny archipelago known as the "seal islands." The open tundra habitat is wetted constantly with rain and fog, making the summer wildflower bloom second to none. We begin a series of island landings where seabirds dominate the cliffscapes.

August 13, 2001 - St. Paul, Pribilof Islands
The ship visits St. Paul Island, site of a government-regulated seal rookery in 1899. In fact, because the fur seal remained an important and internationally contested resource, the Harriman party had to obtain a landing permit from the Secretary of Treasury in preparation for the expedition. The fur seals, which spend the majority of the year at sea in the North Pacific, haul out by the thousands to breed in the Pribilofs. The seal colony that C. Hart Merriam was so anxious to see in 1899, is today the largest northern seal rookery in the world.

August 14, 2001 - St. Matthews Island and Hall Island
From the Pribilofs, we sail almost due north to St. Matthews Island where, in 1899, E.H. Harriman tried once again to bag a bear. With Edward Curtis' assistance. U.S. Biological Survey ornithologist Albert Fisher set out to identify and collect birds. Records indicate that Fisher and Curtis had a more productive outing than Mr. Harriman. In the afternoon, the Clipper Odyssey weighs anchor and sails to Hall Island, which, in 1899, Fuertes found to be an ornithologist's dream. Like Fuertes, we will survey thousands of seabirds including auklets, murres, puffins, kittiwakes, fulmars cormorants, and guillemots.

August 15, 2001 - Boxer Bay and Gambell, St. Lawrence Island
We continue our voyage toward the Arctic Circle and one of the largest of the Bering Sea islands, St. Lawrence. With a morning landing, we will explore the rocky beach and adjacent tundra that contains marshlands and ponds. In the afternoon we sail to the northwestern end of St. Lawrence Island, to the Yup'ik Eskimo village, Gambell. The landform on the northeastern horizon is Siberia's Chukotsk Peninsula, just 38 miles away as the Thick-billed Murre flies. We visit the village whose 300 residents remain dependent on subsistence hunting and its traditions. One of these traditions, ivory and bone carving, is expressed in both practical forms as well as fine art.

August 16, 2001 - Teller, Little Diomede Island, Arctic Circle
The ship passes Port Clarence, perched on the tip of a long crescent-shaped sandspit that forms the bay separating Teller and Port Clarence. In 1899, the population of Port Clarence was 485, split about evenly between Yup'ik Eskimo and foreign visitors. Today, Port Clarence is an U.S. Coast Guard base with 24 personnel operating LORAN long-range navigational equipment. Continuing across the bay, we anchor and visit the small town of Teller, population 281, located on the Seward Peninsula. Teller is a traditional, subsistence hunting Kawerak Eskimo village whose livelihood heavily depends upon the use of seals, fish, beluga whales, and reindeer that are harvested from a herd that ranges in the area.

Upon leaving the bay and passing the station at Port Clarence, the Clipper Odyssey sails into true oceanic wilderness as we make our way toward the Arctic Circle. In late afternoon we approach Little Diomede Island and its only village, Diomede, population 133. It is a traditional Ingalikmiut Eskimo village with a subsistence lifestyle where polar bears are a fact of life, and seal and walrus hides are routinely used to make clothing, parkas, hats, and mukluks. Skins and furs are used for barter and trade currency. At Diomede, named after Saint Diomede by Vitus Bering in 1728, we are at 65d 47m N, 169d 00m W. Just 2.5 miles to the west is Russia's Big Diomede Island, with the International dateline passing between us.

We clear out of the United States, steering north through the Bering Strait and into the Chukchi Sea. That night, as the ship crosses 66d 33m North, we will be able to tell our grandchildren we saw the midnight sun on the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is the boundary between the North Temperate and North Frigid Zones, and marks the southern limit where the sun does not rise on the winter solstice, nor set on the summer solstice.

August 17, 2001 - Cross International Date Line
In close order, another, "did I ever tell you..." for the grandkids: steering west, the expedition "loses a day" as the ship crosses the International Date Line. The "IDL" is an imaginary, irregular line in the Pacific Ocean that roughly corresponds to the 180th meridian. East of the IDL is one day earlier than on the west (Monday in Nome, Alaska; Tuesday on Cape Dezhnev, Siberia). If we were sailing around the globe, and making adjustments for the time zones crossed, the cumulative result is we arrive back at our starting point one day ahead or behind our colleagues who did not sail with us, and remained at the starting point. To correct for this gain or loss of a day, we have to add or loose a day when we cross the International Date Line. From the Bering Strait, to the North Pacific Ocean, the line is deflected eastward through the Bering Sea and westward of the Aleutian Islands, so the American Aleutians and Little Diomede, and Russia's Big Diomede are all in the same (but different) day.

August 18, 2001 - Cape Dezhnev, Lorino, Mechigmensky Bay
The expedition will sail by Cape Dezhnev, Asia's easternmost point of land. The cape was named for explorer Semyon Dezhnev, who on behalf of the Czar explored the Chukotka Peninsula in 1643. Chukotka is 3,700 miles from Moscow, but only 55 miles from Cape Prince of Wales on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska. If the weather is clear, this is the only place in the world where one can see two continents, Asia and North America; two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic; and two time zones, today and tomorrow. The expedition will stop at Lorino, population 1,500, which is a re-settlement village inhabited by the traditionally interior people, Chukchi ("people rich with reindeer") and coastal Yup'ik Eskimos with their distinctive maritime culture.

August 19, 2001 - Ittygran and Old Chaplino
Continuing southeast, we make our way to Ittygran Island and Old Chaplino. The "old" is indicative of the Yup'ik Eskimo practice common along the coast of abandoning villages and re-establishing them in "new" locations (Novoe Chaplino, established in 1958). We will visit Whalebone Alley on Ittygran Island, the location of a Yup'ik religious and cultural site that was once the largest Native community on the Chukotka Peninsula. In the afternoon we clear out of Russia and deadhead to Nome.

Seward Penninsula

Tundra hills in background, Seward Penninsula.
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August 19, 2001 - Nome
No, it's not a mistake. Crossing the International Date Line heading west across the Bering Sea, the expedition gains a day as it continues on its way for Nome, the final port call of the Harriman Expedition Retraced. Members of the National Park Services' Shared Beringian Heritage Program and members of the Nome community meet us at the dock. After our morning event, we fly to Anchorage. In the evening we celebrate and recount the accomplishments of the expedition with a banquet hosted by our friends at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

....So blue, so beautiful, to gently glide
'Mid islets forested, past shores that stand,
Dark portals opening to enchantment's land,
Where all is but a dream, soon to be
Lost in the purple mist of memory.

Charles A. Keeler, Harriman Series, Vol. I



Columbia Glacier
Columbia Glacier

Columbia Glacier from Heather Island.
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"The edge of this part of the continent for a thousand miles has been broken into fragments, small and great, as by the stroke of some earth-cracking hammer…"

John Burroughs, writing about the steep cliffs in Southeastern Alaska, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"I was now... to make their acquaintance at the brief period when all the best and sweetest scenes of their lives are enacted. Many of them are silent for the most part during their winter visits, and only on the Alaska shores are their songs to be heard."

Charles Keeler on seeing birds he’d seen wintering in California, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"They were from the East and the West, lumberman from Maine and Pennsylvania and old miners from California and Colorado. They were a sturdy sober looking set of men, no nonsense about them... homely, slow, deliberate men, but evidently made of real stuff."

John Burroughs, writing about the miners he met in Orca, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"If one inquires of an individual connected with the salmon industry in Alaska something about their numbers, he is at once told of the millions found there, and informed that the supply is inexhaustible. The same language will be used that was heard in past years with regard to the abundance of wild pigeons, or of the buffalo, or of the fur-seals of the Bering Sea…"

George Bird Grinnell, after visiting the salmon canneries near Orca, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. II.

"As we progressed the mountains fell apart... The Captain naturally hesitated; it was unmapped and unsounded water. We went on under a good head of steam down this new inlet where no ship had ever passed before. It was one of the most exciting moments of our voyage."

John Burroughs on the discovery of Harriman Fiord, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I

"We dropped anchor behind a low sandspit in Kachemak Bay, on the end of which is a group of four or five buildings making up the hamlet of Homer. There was nothing Homeric in the look of the place…"

Frederick Dellenbaugh.

"How beautiful and interesting the shores we passed that day; smooth and rounded hills as green and tender to the eye as well kept lawns... Never had I seen such beauty of greenness, because never before had I seen it from such a vantage ground of blue sea ... To eyes sated with the wild austere grandeur of Prince William Sound, the change was most delightful."

John Burroughs, observing the influence of the Japanese Current on Kodiak Island. Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I, "Arrival at Kadiak" (original spelling).

"When we put our heads out of our windows in the morning... we were at anchor off Popof Island... we saw a low green treeless slope... from which came many musical bird voices-- the lesser hermit thrush, golden-crowned sparrow, fox sparrow, yellow warbler, rosy finch... It is a novel experience to wake up in the morning on an ocean steamer and hear bird song through your open window."

John Burroughs, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"The whole of the Alaskan Peninsula, and all the islands in the Bering Sea and Aleutian group, are of volcanic origin, and some of thew embers of the old fires are still alive in our day, as we had proof. Since our visit there has been other proof in the shape of severe earthquake shock felt all along the Alaskan coast, in some places disastrously."

John Burroughs, "The Shumagin Group," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"According to our original program our outward journey should have ended at the Seal Islands, but Mrs. Harriman expressed a wish to see Siberia, and if all went well, the midnight sun. "Very well", replied Mr. Harriman. "We will go to Siberia." And toward that barren shore our prow was turned."

John Burroughs, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"It is much easier in Alaska to bag a glacier than a bear…"

John Burroughs, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"Upon approaching the edge of the cliffs a wonderful scene lay before us. Some great black splinters of rock two hundred feet high stood out in the water close to the shore, the waves dashing about their bases, while all over their sides, and upon every ledge, crowded the seabirds.... opposite on the precipitous volcanic face of the island was an almost solid front of birds."

Charles Keeler, "An Evening on Hall Island," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. II

"We stood off across Bering Strait for Port Clarence in Alaska, where we hoped to take water... and about noon dropped anchor behind a long sickle-shaped sandspit, which curves out from the southern headland, ten or twelve miles away. In the great basin behind this sand bar a dozen vessels of the whaling fleet were anchored and making ready to enter the Arctic Ocean, where some expect to spend the winter."

John Burroughs, "Port Clarence," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. I.

"All through the village, on poles, and frames hung the property of the [Siberian Eskimos]-- deer skins, some of them of the domesticated Siberian reindeer obtained by trade from the Chukchis of the adjacent interior.... on drying frames were spread the skins of seals and walruses, while scattered about were seal nest, inflated seal bladders, the inflated complete skins of seals turned inside out and drying-- to be used as walrus floats, or perhaps oil cans.

George Bird Grinnell,"Siberian Eskimo," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. II

"Standing or hanging against the sides of the houses were harpoons, spears, and paddles.... all about the village were stretched great lengths of seal and walrus hide, cut into slender lines to be used for dog harnesses, lines to be attached to harpoons, and in making seal nets."

George Bird Grinnell,"Siberian Eskimo," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. II.

"We had three tons of coal left in our bunkers, but of our little stock farm down below only the milch cow remained. She had been to Siberia and back and had given milk all the way. No voyagers were ever more fortunate than we… We had gone far and fared well."

John Burroughs, Harriman Alaska Series, Vol I.

"There is one word of advice and caution to be given those intending to visit Alaska for pleasure, for sight-seeing. If you are old, go by all means; but if you are young, wait. The scenery of Alaska is much grander than anything else of the kind in the world, and it is not well to dull one's capacity for enjoyment by seeing the finest first."

Henry Gannett, "General Geography," Harriman Alaska Series, Vol. II


For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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