First Cruise Ship of Season Arrives in Kodiak

russian_traditions_tour_pic.jpgA picture of tourists receiving food as part of the Russian Traditions tour in Kodiak. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Yesterday morning, the first cruise ship of the season docked in Kodiak and tourists flocked to the nearest attractions. Alaska draws tourists from all over the world with its scenery, its hikes, and its wildlife, but also with its media coverage.

When asked why they came, Margaret and Phil Sparks from the north of England said they wanted to see the Alaska from TV with their own eyes. They say there are a couple of shows that are especially popular.

“The program that everyone seems to see is Deadliest Catch,” says Margaret Sparks. “That’s the one that everyone sees at home and those and obviously there’s the ice-road truckers and all those different kinds of programs.

“I think everyone thinks it’s very snowy, cold, bleak – that’s the sort of impression that everyone gets, and everyone’s a fishermen, but then of course it’s the wildlife side of things. There’s the bears, the birds, and all the different sea life.”

Another tourist who had traveled from Florida with his wife says he spent a few years in Russia working abroad in the Foreign Service. John Tool says he is especially interested in the Russian occupation part of Alaska history.

“You hear about it, you read about it, and you say ‘well I’d like to see what I’ve been reading about.’ In other words, ‘I want to see for myself,” says Tool. “It’s [Kodiak] lightly populated and very large, and being from Texas originally, I can appreciate large.”

Visitors with an interest in Russian culture also had the chance to join the Russian Traditions tour and attend lunch at a Russian tea room at the Marian Center. Kodiak Tours organizer, Dee Ann Valdivia, says she hired caterer Sheri Ewing from Red Hot Cooking.

“She made borscht, piroshkis – kind of like little meat pastries – and Russian tea cakes,” says Valdivia.

Valdivia also booked the Balalaika Players for entertainment. After the lunch, Coleen Lincoln from Australia says she especially liked the farewell song the band performed.

“Oh, I thought it was lovely,” says Lincoln. “It nearly made me cry at the end, I wanted to take them home.”

Valdivia says she’s been doing the tours for about 20 years. And she’ll be doing one again this Saturday for the next cruise ship, which is scheduled to arrive at 10am.

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