Author: Julianne Stanford

Into the Depths: The ‘Unknown Titanic’ of Lynn Canal

A little more than 50 miles from the port of Skagway lies the remains of the worst maritime accident to ever occur in the Pacific Ocean- yet many don’t know of the tragedy or of the large-scale loss of life that ensued from a series of unfortunate coincidences in Lynn Canal almost  100 years ago. As the centennial of the sinking of the S.S. Princess Sophia approaches, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia is partnering with various communities impacted by the tragedy, including Skagway, to bring the tale of the steamship’s ill-fated final journey to the public. The memorial will consist of a traveling exhibition that will tell the tale of how the snow-storm of the century, a rocky outcropping in the middle of Lynn Canal and a series of decisions from a well-respected captain came together to result in the death of everyone onboard and the ship settling into its final resting place in the watery depths of the canal. There isn’t a lot of information available about the Sophia’s tragedy due to the lack of eyewitness survivor accounts. Everything that is known today about the events that transpired are gathered from stories from those in the region at the time, documents pulled from the wreck and official inquires into the causes of the accident. —– The S.S. Princess Sophia departed from the port of Skagway around 10...

Read More

Until we meet again, Skagway

I hate goodbyes. They’re probably one of my least favorite things in the world. I dislike how final they seem, like a promise to stay away and never come back again. And so Skagway, I won’t say goodbye to you. I won’t say goodbye to this wonderful town, which has captured my heart in almost exactly three months to the day. Instead, I’d rather take the opportunity to reflect upon my time spent here this summer. When I stepped off the plane on May 13, I had no idea what was in store for me this summer. The plane...

Read More

SFD rescues lost hikers after overnight stay on AB mountain

Two hikers were rescued from an unintentional overnight stay on AB  Mountain after straying from the trail after dark on Aug. 2. Around 9 p.m., Alaska Wildlife Troopers were notified 30-year-old Wei Yang and 22-year-old Yun Zhu, both from Whitehorse, Yukon, were well overdue to return from their hike up the mountain. The pair had alerted local emergency services around 9 p.m. after becoming concerned they could not find their way back to the trail and would be unable to descend from the mountain after nightfall. “[They] were able to give us some coordinates off of their iPhone, and...

Read More

Preparations begin for AP&T’s underwater fiber optic cable

The Alaska Power and Telephone Company has begun the process to install a new, 86-mile long fiber optic telecommunications cable through Lynn Canal. The $10 million project will link Skagway and Haines to existing cables in Juneau and will mean improved Internet connection in Skagway with faster bandwidth once the cable is turned on. Construction crews began work at Smuggler’s Cove on Tuesday, Aug. 3 and continued on through Thursday, Aug. 5 to install the underwater infrastructure where the cable will enter Skagway. Crews worked along Dyea Road for the rest of the week and were expected to be finished by Aug. 12. “That’ll give us time to really clean up the site,” said Vice President of Telecommunications, Engineering and Operations Tom Ervin. “It was raining and kind of wet down there, so as things dry off we’ll be able to do more touch ups on Smuggler’s Cove itself.” The work dates corresponded with the lowest tide for the month of August, which allowed the work crews to install the pipeline to house the cable as far out in the water as it needed to be, Ervin said. A manhole cover was installed in the area for workers to be able to access the pipeline once it comes time for the cable to be connected to the existing microwave site AP&T operates up the Dyea Road. “They will also...

Read More

Wait times continue for AT&T service upgrades

Last summer, the residents of Skagway were plagued by poor cell phone reception throughout most of the tourism season. Calls were frequently dropped, text messages couldn’t be sent or received, voice mails couldn’t be accessed and data crawled at a glacial pace on days when 10,000 visitors flooded in to town from the cruise ships. Customers with AT&T felt most of the frustration over the poor cell reception in town, which was exacerbated when a cruise ship at the Ore Dock blocked the provider’s microwave dish on First Avenue and completely knocked out reception in town on two separate occasions. The uproar over those incidents prompted AT&T to announce last October that they would upgrade the network in Skagway. The provider would install a 4G LTE network by May 2016, in time for the start of the next tourism season, to be able to better accommodation for the influx of people in town. However, as the summer began, no such improvement had been made. With more than half of the current tourism season almost over, AT&T customers can expect a longer wait for improved service while continuing to face problems with using their phones on a daily basis. “I drop calls all of the time during the day,” said Skagway resident and AT&T customer Andrew Cremata. “Fortunately, I only need my cell phone for business and important phone calls,...

Read More

Klothes Rush