Photo essay from Kodiak Island: Captain Santa and a Christmas tree made from bird deterrent tape

Thirty years ago, in December 1984, I moved from Seattle to Kodiak, Alaska. My Mom fretted. “When are you coming home?”

To describe island life, I wrote letters to family and friends, and slipped a photograph or two in the envelopes. Soon my summers were sprinkled with visitors, traveling North to see for themselves. “But what about the winters?” They asked.

To continue the tradition, may I share with you a visual smorgasbord from the past couple weeks. Mind you, we’ve had a snow-free winter so far, but my motto as a photographer (and cook, gardener, whatever) has always been: Do the best with what you’ve got. So, short and sweet, I hope you enjoy the images:

Let’s start with a dazzling Christmas tree that’s 30 feet tall. It’s made from a flagpole, lines, bird deterrent tape and flood lights…

Christmas, tree, Kodiak, Alaska, sunset, outdoors, light, sun


Didn’t you know? Captain Santa guides his reindeer from the pilothouse. If it gets foggy, he resorts to radar…

santa, claus, boat, costume


While on a late afternoon hike on Pillar Mountain, above the City of Kodiak, we were treated to this golden view of the airport and surrounding mountains…

kodiak, alaska, airport, mountains, winter


A sign of the times, or should I say, a reminder for all of us…

celebrate, sign, physical, therapy

At a Christmas potluck, we were greeted by beet crabs and broccoli coral. Yes, I live in a fishing community…
table, decorations, food, beets, broccoli, crab

During a visit to St. Innocent’s Academy, a local school for troubled youth, I noticed a collection of vacuum cleaners huddled in the corner. “Do you have any Santa hats?” I asked one of the students. Soon we had a chorus of vacuum cleaners signing, “Oreck Come All Ye Faithful!”…
Oreck, vacuum, Christmas, elves, tree


I found this chunk of kelp while walking along the beach on a frosty morning. (I came back later with buckets and loaded them up with shredded kelp for the compost)…

kelp, beach, ocean, frost, fertilizer

Our winter has been so mild, we still have carrots growing in the hoophouse. We mulch with spruce branches and kelp to keep the soil from freezing…

carrots, harvest, Alaska, organic, gardening

Kodiak Island is home to an amazing variety of birds and during the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, we’re often rated Number 1 or 2 in Alaska for number of species. Here is a long-tailed duck, spotted during this year’s count. A beautiful bird, isn’t it? The sun lighting up the mountains in the background casts this golden reflection on the water…

Oldsquaw, long-tailed duck, Kodiak, Alaska, Marion Owen, birds, waterfowl

If you’re still with me, I’d like to finish with a blessing, by Robert Louis Stevenson:

“Lord, we thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with which we expect on the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth.”


See you in 2015!

This entry was posted in Essays and inspirations, Kodiak Island, Alaska, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Photo essay from Kodiak Island: Captain Santa and a Christmas tree made from bird deterrent tape

  1. Migdalia says:

    Thank you very much for such beautiful pictures and for sharing them with us. Happy Holidays filled with load trucks of blessings. :>))

  2. Linda says:

    O My ,How breathtakingly beautiful and thank you so very much for sharing with us. I Always love your pictures.Last year the snowflakes were my very favoite.
    Hugs, from Radford, Va.

    • marionowen says:

      Thanks Linda… Two things I hope for: that you have a wonderful Christmas and new year filled with blessings; and that it SNOWS soon. We are not having a white Christmas… but I keep praying for photographable snow.

  3. Ron Padgett says:

    Love all of the photos! I specially like the one of the airport and base! Brings back memories!

  4. carol says:

    Wonderful photos. Quirky Kodiak! Frozen in the ground carrots when one winter came early. I read that story on the net. When I came to Kodiak 17 yrs ago, I remember landing in the snow. It was a surprise to deplane, going down the ladder into the snow instead of going from plane to a terminal.via a ramp. I remember the bird count, too. The eagle that I saw without the “white bald” was just a youth. Kuopio finally got snow a few days before Christmas, so the “natives” are rejoicing! Temp today 21 F – not bad. Mostly overcast -gray daylight for about 4 and a half hours.
    To see something different, check out the Cajun Night Before Christmas from the Louisiana bayou. And for totally weird, Rare Exports from Finland. You can be glad that North Pole is actually there in Alaska!

  5. Eva says:

    What a blessing your blog is to us!! Thank you for the photo essay, and the humor : ) The Santa/Oreck cleaners are a hoot : ))) Happy New Year!

  6. marionowen says:

    You’re very kind, Eva. Thank you for your comments. So nice… and blessings to you every day of 2015!

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