Kodiak is the place where Alisa and I spent the last seven years of our time in Alaska, and also the place that we sailed away from on Pelagic, bound for Australia, nearly six years ago now.
I've been back a couple times for work in recent years, but until this month the whole family hadn't been back in four years. My favorite indicator for just how long we'd been away is that we had a three-year-old child who had never been to Alaska.
We just finished a ten-day visit to Kodiak.
For the first four days or so, I was unreservedly smitten with the place. If you're visiting Kodiak in the springtime when there are more than seventeen hours of daylight every day, and you're catching up with friends you haven't seen in years, the place can seem flawless.
But in the second part of the visit, after we had listened to enough stories about how people are actually leading their lives in Kodiak, I began to remember that it can be a very demanding place to live. The winters can be brutal, interpersonal relationships in a town of six thousand people with no road access to the outside world can be challenging, the economy is sometimes marginal, and the cost of living is high.
For all that, we love the place, and this visit confirmed us in the idea that when we finally swallow the anchor and sell the boat and return to life ashore, Kodiak is the place we'll be looking to return to.