There’s Dutch Harbor, the Pribilof islands, the Aleutians, and there’s also Akutan. Akutan is the Aleutian island that Sig Hansen and the F/V Northwestern docked at to offload during king crab season. And not only did they stop there this last season but have done so for many years. Lucky for them they got to spend a little down time at a cozy-looking tavern called the Roadhouse and lucky for us fans, we were introduced to a little known part of their world that seems full of character and likewise, full of crab fishing details, like the wall full of framed images of crab fishing vessels, some of which are long gone, a wooden table engraved with countless signatures of prior visiting fishermen, and of course,the locals who receive yearly visits of the crabbers who regularly test their fate in the cold dangerous waters of the Bering sea. But what else is there to know about Akutan?
Akutan has a deep and protective bay and is actually 40 miles closer to the “crab fishing grounds” then Dutch Harbor. Although Akutan has no landing strip, has only 100 or so fulltime residents, and has no paved roads–only wooden boardwalks, is still one of the busiest fishing ports in the country, and has one of the largest processors–Trident Seafoods–about 1/4 mile away from the village of Akutan.
First formed in 1878 as a fur trading post, Akutan village was also one of the first introduced to the crab fishing industries in the 1940’s and was home to several floating processors at that time. In 1942, when the Japanese attacked Unalaska, all residents were evacuated and thus had to re-establish themselves as a village in 1944. Finally in 1979, it was incorporated as the “city” of Akutan.
Akutan is a tiny island with a very small community, yet is still an interesting stop for visitors. The active Akutan volcano–last eruption in 1992– is only 7 miles away from city of Akutan and adventurous hikers can climb to the crater. Many scientists have spent time there. There is a large variety of birds and animal life to observe and some of the largest halibut in the world have been caught in the Akutan area waters.