The Wild Strawberry Lodge and Alaska Premier Charters (APC) in Sitka is humming with preparations for the start of the 2012 fishing season. With barely a week before the first guests start arriving, the staff is putting finishing touches on many facets of the true Alaskan fishing lodge experience. As a first-time Alaskan myself, and only having just arrived at the Lodge, I found myself thrown into a beehive of activity that was both astounding and completely unnerving. I’ve only actually been in town for a day, but I’ve already seen so much of the natural wonders that surround such a majestic location and welcoming culture. Never in my life have I felt so easily accepted, even though my knowledge of fishing is less impressive than that of Sitkan geography.
Today started relatively early, especially for a recent college grad who purposefully chose classes later than 10 AM. I was immediately thrust into a work experience completely novel to me; that of housekeeping. Of course, I have been known as a neat freak, but cleaning to such an extent, and all at once, is something that I’d never done. Sheets were washed and folded, comforters fluffed, shelves tidied, and floors scrubbed; all in preparation for our impending guests. Seeing behind the metaphorical curtain was enlightening. As a guest, I’d never really understood the strict timelines and scheduling that must be met in order to provide the guest with a warm and comfortable environment. I was on the go all day, and it felt great.
Unfortunately, I arrived in Sitka too late to see the launching of the boats from their winter resting places, but I can attest to their polished appearances. Before my flight landed, practically the entire staff had chipped in to scrub down the boats, providing a professional diligence to their appearance and upkeep. After a delectable lunch, courtesy of the greatest culinary whiz I’ve ever been fed by, I waddled my way down to the docks to see another distinctive part of pre-season preparations.
The captain of the Full House, Jeff Ching, was meeting with a member of the Auxiliary Coast Guard to have all the APC vessels inspected based on the 5-star program featured in Alaska. Although completely voluntary, this courtesy inspection determines distinct requirements the vessel must meet, based on size. Fitting in the 26-39.9 foot range, the Full House had its registration, operator licensing, emergency preparedness, and training examined for any cracks. I’m also quite thrilled to say that all the APC vessels passed with flying colors, earning an extra two stars for possessing equipment above and beyond the requirements. The stickers are viewable on the port side window, effectively stating that Alaska Premier Charters knows how to provide a reliable and exciting fishing experience.
I know after only a single day here you will realize the true potential Alaska Premier Charters holds. It only took me a few hours and I don‘t think I‘ll be changing my opinion anytime soon, especially if everything continues running as fluidly as it has.