Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kiska Island, 7/12/08, by Bob

Kiska, along with Attu and Adak, were occupied by Japan in World War II, in 1942. After the battle of Attu, there around five
thousand Japanese left on Kiska Island. The U.S. mounted an invasion in August, 1943, but a few days before the Japanese had
evacuated and the U.S. forces landed on an empty island.

We came into Kiska Harbor at night and in the rain. I was hoping the electronic charts were correct, because there are a lot of
wrecks in the harbor, some of them at or near the surface.

We anchored between two piers, with Josh and Melinda shining lights to make sure we wouldn't hit anything substantial. The next
morning, were headed to land. We only covered a small part of the island, but we saw about a dozen WWII artillery guns, machine
guns, old communications towers, and lots of etc.

Most of the buildings had been torn down or had fallen down. We saw some piles of unused machine gun bullets and a few artillery
shell casings. We saw the our first bald eagle. Apparently they're not too common west of Kiska, but there are hundreds as far west
as Adak.

I kayaked over near the north point Kiska Harbor and climbed up on North Head, about 350 feet up. I was walking out to a point in
the fog, and was really surprised when I looked down to see the waves washing against an islet over 300 feet almost straight down. I
came back later in the day when it was sunny, and it wasn't nearly as scary.

There are a lot of roads around the island, but they haven't been maintained for a bunch of years. It was really interesting to walk
around and see the old war structures and equipment. There were old boardwalks going across the meadows, lots of telephone poles,
lots of collapsed buildings, and large areas that have been cleared. The cleared areas seem to be around the gun emplacements. Maybe
that's where they've cleaned up the live ammunition.

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