The “vast Bering sea” covers alot of area as Deadlist Catch fans have learned over the last three seasons. But just where are all these docks, the offloading areas and processors, exactly where is east & west, how far away is Russia, just how many islands are there, and what other interesting things are out there?
The islands sit on top of a ridge that divides the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. The Aleutians are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, with approximately twenty-four active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, caused by the collision of two of the tectonic plates that form the Earth’s crust.”
The Pribilof Islands are in the Bering Sea west of the Aleutian Islands. They consist of St. Paul, St. George and several lesser islets. Some refer to the Pribilofs as a group of four islands and some say five. We’ll refer to them as five islands: St. Paul, St George–as mentioned earlier–and also Otter and Walrus islands and Sea Lion rock.
The weather on the Pribilofs is as diverse as its animal life. There is a common saying on the islands: “This is the only place in the world where you can experience all four seasons in one hour.”They are 230 miles north of the Aleutian Island chain. The islands are completely open to the weather in the Bering Sea. Trees do not grow because they cannot take root due to the almost constant wind.
Besides being home to multitudes of stored crab pots, and besides being a stop off point for crab fishermen–whether it be to pick up pots like the Northwestern did or whether it be as a protective haven from deadly Bering sea weather–the Pribilofs are also home to the largest population of fur seals in the northern hemisphere.
Akutan Island is in the eastern Aleutians and is one of the Krenitzen islands of the Fox Island group (sounds complicated doesn’t it?). It is 35 miles east of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor, as Mike Rowe has explained to us before. And it’s also 766 miles southwest of Anchorage. As we’ve learned from Deadliest Catch, season 3…Akutan has been a favorite offloading point for the Hansens of the F/V Northwestern for years. The island contains Mount Akutan volcano, which had a major lava eruption in 1979. On an interesting note: “Akutan is an Aleut name reported by P. K. Krenitzin and M. Levashev in 1768 and spelled Acootan by James Cook in 1785. This name may be from the Aleut word “hakuta” which, according to R. H. Geoghegan, means ‘I made a mistake.’
Sand Point is also a port of stop for some of the Deadliest Catch fishing vessels and is on the eastern side of the Aleutians as shown on the map below. It’s also a favorite with hikers, in large part because of its beautiful views and lack of bears. The island is also home to a spectacular population of bird life including eagles, puffins, cormorants and kittiwakes. Don’t be surprised if you spot a buffalo. A free-roaming herd was imported to the island years ago. Local boat owners are often available to tour visitors around nearby waters to view a vast array of marine life. A popular day trip destination is nearby Unga Island
Last but not least is Kodiak Island. The F/V Maverick chose to offload it’s king crab harvest in Kodiak this season. It is a bustling metropolis in comparison with the other islands being discussed. The population there is approximately 14,000. Kodiak is famous for huge Kodiak brown bears, fishing, for having one of the largest commercial fishing port in the nation–in addition to Dutch Harbor of course–and is called Alaska’s Emerald isle because of the rich-green color the island turns to in the summer months.
These are the Alaskan Islands I’ve come to think of as Deadliest Catch connected locations “of importance” to the show.