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  • Writer's pictureJon Watkins

Sitka, Alaska...The Last or Final Frontier?

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Jon tells his adventure of traveling to Sitka, Alaska for his Dad's sixtieth birthday. The only thing he and Jenn knew about Sitka before going was that it was in "The Proposal" starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. It turns out that the Paxton family is not a real family. It also turns out that if you call Alaska "the final frontier" instead of "the last frontier", you will be mocked forever.

Heads up, Alaska has a lot of bugs! But it also has amazing views, animals everywhere and some of the best fishing you can find. Jon came back with over ninety pounds of fish! Three days on the boat was enough for him. He must have not felt great because all he did was share a bottle of Josh wine every night. On a guys trip, he usually would do much more!!

John: New mic, new podcast?

Jen: Not new podcast.

John: Fourth episode.

Jen: I know.

John: New episode.

Jen: New episodes.

John: Second glass of wine for Jen.

Jen: Yep.

John: We're doing Josh wine today. Josh Sellers.

Jen: Why?

John: Because for the vacation we're talking about today, it's what my father and I drank the entire time while we were there. We did wine man stuff.

Jen: Okay.

John: Here's two dudes drinking, Josh Cabernet every night.

Jen: Oh gosh. So, rugged.

John: We were hardcore.

Jen: Yeah.

John: We're in Alaska. That's where men are. Yeah, mountain man.

Jen: I was not invited to this trip, but I'm invited to the podcast.

John: If you could just play the part of my father, here's what you got to do. Just put me down every few seconds. It'll be fine.

Jen: I'll just be angry, a lot.

John: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Well, I mean, you're, you're doing a fine job with the wine. That's what he did too. So, it's kind of like that. Uh, yeah. So, Josh Sellers is actually one of our favorite wines that we drink often.

Jen: It is.

John: Not even during a podcast, just sometimes on a Tuesday night.

Jen: Or one Wednesday. It's a nice, steady Eddy red for us.

John: Or a Thursday morning with some scrambled eggs.

Jen: Okay. That's ridiculous.

John: Whatever. This time around it is Sitka, Alaska, where we're talking about. Sitka, Alaska we only knew it for one thing.

Jen: The proposal.

John: Right?

Jen: Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock.

John: The best.

Jen: You cannot go wrong.

John: Did they hook up in the movie? That's the question.

Jen: In real life? You mean?

John: Yeah.

Jen: I would like, I think so. I think so.

John: I think they did.

Jen: They're both so good.

John: Oh my gosh. They're like naked in those scenes. They're both hot.

Jen: They're both hot.

John: Yeah.

Jen: I love that movie. We should watch that tonight.

John: All right. After we do this, this little chump show, we'll go and watch something. Now, so Sicko, Alaska, I didn't know a lot going there outside of that's where the proposal was based. Again, manly man, who I am. It's one of the like warmer spots in Alaska. Like it's really warm there. It's a rainforest. They call it a Temperate Rainforest.

Jen: Really?

John: So, you think Alaska and you think the glaciers, you know, the banks in the snow?

Jen: Snow.

John: No, they don't. We get more snow. So, we record this in Utah. We get more snow at our house than they do in Sitka, Alaska.

Jen: Interesting. Is it wet though there?

John: Yeah.

Jen: It looked kind of damp.

John: Kind of like Seattle.

Jen: Okay. That makes sense.

John: Portland, that style it's small to like 9,000 people live in Sitka. It's not a big town.

Jen: Oh.

John: I think it's a poor town.

Jen: I think it's also ran by the Paxton's.

John: No, that's part of the proposal, not an actual part. That's not a true story. It also turns out I learned a very valuable lesson and I want this for anyone who doesn't finish the podcast. I want you at least to know this part of it. If you call the Alaska the Final Frontier instead of the Last Frontier, they will mock you constantly.

Jen: Oh my gosh. Did you do that?

John: Yeah.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: The Final Frontier is Star Treks. The Last Frontier is Alaska and those Alaska men they're hardy.

Jen: Yes, I'm sure.

John: They don't take kindly to you referencing the proposal, Final Frontier and then getting Josh wine. I was not made for Alaska.

Jen: No, but it looked beautiful.

John: It was gorgeous.

Jen: I've never been interested in going to Alaska.

John: Yeah.

Jen: But after seeing all your photos, I kind of want to go. I don't know if I want to go on this trip in particular.

John: I don't want to go on this trip.

Jen: No.

John: I'm kidding.

Jen: But it looked beautiful. I think I want to go there.

John: It's gorgeous. It's like really, when they talk about like untouched, like that's what it is like. And there's some times, and we'll talk about being on the boat, but you'll look out and you'll see these glaciers in the distance and you're going, wow. I only have seen these like on Nat geo and this is real life. Like, so that was really cool. Uh, there are a lot of bugs in Sitka. I don't know about all of Alaska, but I will tell you their mosquitoes get bad. So, um, I would actually take the bug spray and spray my bed, like the perimeter every night. Which I'm not sure if that's good to huff bug spray while you sleep. But I mean, they were just, we were not like a cabin. We weren't like sleeping in a tent, but still, I mean, the, the bugs would just find their way in and we all were dealing with mosquito bites.

Jen: Maybe you should have gotten like a little mosquito net to sleep.

John: I think I would have been mocked more probably from the guys I was with.

Jen: Yeah, that makes sense.

John: If I put a mosquito net up.

Jen: What about bears? I hear there's a lot of bears there.

John: I heard that.

Jen: Wasn't it like however many bears per person?

John: One bear per square mile in Alaska. It's so weird.

Jen: Did you see a bear though? You never saw a bear?

John: No, we only saw him from the boat. You could see him in the...

Jen: Oh, you did see them.

John: But we never saw one up close.

Jen: Okay. But you did see them.

John: Yeah, we did one day, like where we kind of went for a hike. And which was crazy because you could see the salmon like swimming, upstream, what a sad life.

Jen: A Salmon?

John: Like you watch them. I'm watching them die, literally die, swimming, upstream. That's it's sad.

Jen: Let's not come back as salmon.

John: I do recommend bringing light weight clothes that way you can take on and off if you're going to Sitka, especially if I did a fishing trip, that's what we did. And it was nice. Just, I never was too cold or too warm. No, it was cold.

Jen: You're always cold.

John: I was cold.

Jen: You're always cold. You also, we also bought you a really nerdy fishing hat. Was that necessary or not necessary?

John: I wish I would've just worn like a ball cap. You told me

Jen: no, your dad told me.

John: That's right. He's like, oh no, you get this fishing cap. So, I went and got it. And I looked like such a poser.

Jen: You looked nerdy. It was a nerd. Okay. So...

Both: don't do that.

John: Unless it's your style and your jam.

Jen: Yes. Unless you're a legit fishermen,

John: then that's fine. But for myself, when I haven't fished, since I was nine years old to put on this also, it was like, it was like a cheap one. We went cheap with it.

Jen: Well, yeah, I wasn't going to spend a ton of money.

John: It didn’t Look right on me. And it looked like the guy you invite to go somewhere. And then he realized when they show up that they've never done it before, because like the tags are still on it. That was me. And I'm with like a bunch of hunters the whole time. Um, I wear light pants. I remember I didn't wear jeans.

Jen: No, no jeans.

John: Yeah. And then we also brought a mechanics gloves. That's a brand mechanics with an X at the end for fishing on the boat because the metal would get really, really cold on the boat. And so, you needed something and again, I, I get cold easy, so I actually, um, they sold them at the charter, but I had these rubber, like, almost like an electric. Like if I worked for like the utility company, I assume these are the gloves they had me use. Like if I was up there.

Jen: Got it.

John: That's my, I'm sorry, go ahead please. I know what you want to do. She needed a sip of wine. Have I bored you already?

Jen: Let's keep going.

John: It's like six minutes into this thing. We did this. So, this was my father's 60th birthday. We went to Sitka, Alaska and went and we paid for this charter. It's called King Fisher Charters and Lodge and they do it right. I will say like, It's legit.

Jen: Yeah.

John: There's a lot of different charters out there. And I was doing research kind of reminding myself about before talking it and some are definitely not as nice as this.

Jen: I think I know someone else that did this same charter that also agrees that it's top notch.

John: Yeah. Everything about it. So, you fly in and I don't know if there is another plane besides Alaska air. I never saw one.

Jen: Okay. That makes sense.

John: They run. It's like they're the mob. No other, like if you're Delta, you're getting beat up.

Jen: You flew into where though?

John: Sitka.

Jen: It wasn't direct from here.

John: Oh, I flew to Seattle.

Jen: And then Seattle to Sitka.

John: Yeah

Jen: Oh okay.

John: It was two hours.

Oh, that's not bad.

It's not so far south. It was an easy hop and it's a big plane. I thought I was going to be on like a propeller plane, like you see in the proposal. Exactly. And it wasn't, it was just like a normal. It turns out you can fly a normal plane into Sitka. No. So, we landed and the lodge picks you up. They have like vans and they take you right to their cabin. And the way we had it was we had a big enough party for the whole cabin. But if you don't, you actually have to share the cabin with people. You don't know.

Jen: Everyone has their own room?

John: I don't know.

Jen: Well, no, you were there.

John: Yeah, but I'm saying like, if you're sharing with people, you don't know. I was with my dad's group. I didn't know anyone in that group.

Jen: Right.

John: So, I, yeah, I had to share a room with someone I didn't know.

Jen: How was that?

John: I didn't know him. It was weird. Like it's strange. There's two beds in a room. It's like this big cabin, right? Like there was three bedrooms. And two beds in each room and there's a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms, but like I had to share it with this guy I'd never met before, who liked to party, by the way.

Jen: I would have thought that you guys would have got along.

John: I was afraid of getting seasick.

Jen: Smart.

John: So, I didn't really drink a lot that first night, but he did and I had water next to my bed and I woke up and the water was gone. And I remember waking up in the middle of night and taking a sip, but not like finishing it turns out he was showing the glass with me.

Jen: Oh, well, that's nice.

John: We bonded. We had a good time. Yeah.

Jen: Did he know that? Did you tell him?

John: In the morning we had a conversation.

Jen: Was he embarrassed about this?

John: No, he really didn't care. Only one who did was me.

Jen: This was also like middle pandemic.

John: Oh yeah. I didn't know this guy.

Jen: Geez.

John: They feed you a lot with King Fisher. They bring it like at four in the morning or five in the morning. Your doors not locked. They just come right in.

Jen: What about bears coming in?

John: They didn't seem to be worried about it.

Jen: Oh.

John: Bears would have to climb a lot of stairs. They bring in like huge breakfast and it's different every day and there's like an oatmeal. They have some snacks or they have a greasy food everyday too, but I was afraid again of getting seasick.

So, I didn't do the grease. I did oatmeal.

Jen: Plus, can I ask you an honest question?

John: Yeah.

Jen: Is there bathrooms on the boat?

John: I was afraid of having a poop on the boat.

Jen: Yeah. You don't want to have a greasy breakfast and then...

John: You know what you do? You hang off the side.

Jen: No.

John: You do. I know. Did someone do that? I don't think anyone in our party did. If so, I don't remember it. I might've blacked it out from the trauma of it.

Jen: That is horrifying.

John: I know, I know. I don't think I could.

Jen: Do you wipe? I have so many questions.

John: Yeah.

Jen: Oh my gosh!

John: I know.

Jen: Okay. So, you got to time your breakfast, your coffee, your morning routine before getting on that boat.

John: Yeah.

Jen: Okay.

John: In fact, I think that I didn't do a lot of coffee for that reason.

Jen: Smart.

John: Yeah. Just water.

Jen: You did get the patch?

John: Yeah. I got this, patch for seasickness and I put it on like the 72 hours before we were there. The first day it didn't work right. It was six-foot swells non-stop and you're on this tiny little fishing boat and it just, I don't think, cause there's never a rest, right? It's as if someone were to poke you all day and it gets annoying, it's like the same thing and no one in my party. And then I was with like, again, like my dad and his buddies, they're all hunters and stuff. Like they look, they act tough, but I'm telling you, they weren't feeling good either. Cause everyone was quiet that first day.

Jen: Right.

John: And they would have been talking and drinking if they weren't and [crosstalk - 00:10:57]

Jen: And you actually don't get seasick, very like. Like it's me that usually gets seasick when we're on a boat. You don't.

John: The captain, you know, we're all not feeling great the first day. Like the first king salmon we catch, which is the whole point of going there. He guts this thing and we're out there and it's a female, so there's row. So, there's fish eggs and he's like 'oh, you got to eat these. Like, this is what. You know, the lore is.' So, we all were like eating raw fish eggs on the boat.

Jen: Sick.

John: Yeah. Like you're already ready to actually, there was one guy in the party who was seasick the entire trip.

Jen: The entire trip?

John: He just laid, there's like a little captain's cabin where we could sit with a table. He laid in there. The whole trip never wants fished. He was ill. Like, why did he come on the boat the next day? I wouldn't stay home.

Jen: Especially if okay. Day one, fine. Trying to get your sea legs. Day two, maybe. But third day I'm out.

John: Out after day two. If I felt the same way as day one, I would have stayed home and just got drunk. I would have just drunk all day. They would have come home. I would have still been nauseous, but from a whole different reason. What's cool is they not only feed you breakfast, but they also feed you like dinner when you get back. And on the boat, they make lunches every day for you. So, like you really just. You do have food in your belly, if you can keep it down constantly. And then at the end, when they pick you up from the boat, they'll drive you by the liquor store, which is why we're drinking Josh. Because my dad and I would go in every day

Jen: and you picked up the Josh.

John: And I thought I was I'm ready to like throw down, but no one really was except for my roommate.

Jen: So, you didn't know, you didn't want to share water with him that night.

John: And I was afraid I was going to be sick the next day on the boat. So, yeah. So, all we do is picked up like a bottle of wine and ate dinner and we were in bed. Got off the boat by5:30pm. I bet we were all asleep by 7:30pm.

Jen: Really?

John: Except for my roommate, which was 1:30am. Oh yeah. No, he went for it.

Jen: Wow. Good for him.

John: Yeah. He had a good time. We did go at the end of the season so fishing was a little bit different. Like we, it was kind of harder to find some of the spots and it would've been, if we would've gone earlier.

Jen: Which is shocking because when you came home, you were telling me that it was

Both: nonstop.

John: Yeah.

Jen: So, how would it be in the middle of the season?

John: I don't know. I was fine with, because it was already chaotic enough. We had like four lines in and it was constantly catching. You're fighting them, bringing them in and the people were gutting them and killing them or clubbing them and all of that. This is the fun fact they don't tell you about going on a fishing boat. And, and look, if you're, if you're a man, man, I'm sorry, but when I'm watching the captain club, the fish to death, like there's blood going everywhere.

Jen: I think when you told the story about the halibut, there was just a little bit too big that you caught.

John: Oh, my God, we caught this halibut that was a little too big and you have to have them between a certain size. They just rammed its nose into the side of the boat until it was the right side. I am not that person. All right, here's a side note. Everyone had to pick out like boots to wear on the fishing boat, like rubber boots. The charter gives them to you and there's all these black ones. I found the one pair of white boots.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: Just to embarrass my father in front of all of his dude friend.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: My white boots were red with blood every day. Traumatized talking about it. Captain though he's like, exactly. If I'm going to Alaska on a fishing trip, I want the surly captain, right? Like that's who I want. That's who he was. Like, he was,

Jen: Did he have a beard?

John: Oh, you like stubble. Not like a nice trim, like just.

Both: Unkempt.

John: Yeah. Overweight. Sloppy.

Jen: Smoking?

John: Oh yeah. He would be lighting one with one in his mouth constantly. There'd be two cigarettes in, as he was cleaning fish.

Jen: Does he only own like overalls?

John: I never saw, I think he wear the same thing every day. Yeah. Yeah, because he got the overalls on it. Well, he does it like six months of the year and then he moves, he goes back to Seattle and does whatever.

Jen: I bet he makes big [inaudible - 00:14:51].

John: Oh yeah. Well, cause we were tipping. We all tipped a few hundred at the end.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: So, he made big for that then whatever he gets paid and he only does it six months of the year. So, it's not, it's hard.

Jen: It didn't seem like it was hard for him though. You think it's hard for him?

John: He worked a lot.

Jen: Well, cause he went home and like clean the fish?

John: Yeah. So, we would get all the fish. He'd do like a quick cut it open, put it on ice kind of thing. And at the end, when we left, he would actually clean it each fish, and then they would take it back to where they would finish the job. So, I mean, he did a lot.

Jen: And you guys came back with a ton.

John: We came back with 90 pounds of fish filets.

Jen: It was insane.

John: Yeah. We were targeting king salmon and halibut and I wanted sablefish but we never made it there. It was further away and we just never got out to it. That's like Rockford.

Jen: Okay.

John: I want to, I just was hoping for like a third something.

Jen: Yeah. That would have been cool to have something else.

John: Yeah. A bunch like constantly. The one fish I did catch there, I was like, it was fighting me a lot and like all of a sudden stopped and I thought maybe we caught a rock underneath and all of a sudden, a shark jumps out of the water with my fish in its mouth.

Jen: Like what kind of shark?

John: Shark, shark? I only know one shark. I know two sharks. The hammerhead and the great white. Those are the two sharks.

Jen: There's a tiger shirt. I don't know.

John: Would you be able to notice a tiger shark if it jumps out of the water?

Jen: Yeah, I watch, I watched shark week. Every year. It was in a Megalodon?

John: It was definitely not a Megalodon attacking us twice.

Jen: Baby Megalodon?

John: Might've been.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: No, I mean, it was probably like seven feet. It wasn't that big of a shark.

Jen: A shark is a shark. I'm sorry.

John: I got the fish though. I ended up getting it in really? And we have a photo. Of me with the fish and you can see the shark bite out of that fish.

Jen: That would have been so cool.

John: That was like a cool moment. We caught a shark. They throw them back in. Oh yeah.

Jen: Is it like against the law or are they just not good?

John: Does he eat the fish of all the fishermen who are going through? So, they killed the shark and then threw it back in.

Jen: Oh, they kill it?

John: Yeah. I'm not getting anyone in trouble. Oh, my God. I'm gonna ruin so many careers like this silly little podcast, they shut down fishing charter. They do your fishing the license though. The king salmon stamped, cause you only can catch so many of each fish every day and they watch that stuff pretty hardcore. And then also, they actually freeze it all. And so, they gave us these boxes of frozen fish that all I had to do was. No, they checked it in for me.

Jen: Yeah. They did everything.

John: I did nothing.

Jen: You did nothing.

John: It is the laziest man's way of fishing and I still complained a lot.

Jen: You had to reel in the fish. That was hard work.

John: I did that part of it.

Jen: Yes.

John: That was it.

Jen: That was pretty much it. You didn't kill it. Didn't club.

John: It didn't club it.

Jen: You didn't fillet it. None of that.

John: No, I just, I reeled it in halfway.

Jen: It was kind of one of our biggest stresses when you going on this trip was getting the fish home. Cause everyone's like, it's so expensive to get the fish home. You should check an ice chest. Remember people were telling us. Checking ice chest. And I was like, Ooh, like we don't really have like, are we going to go buy an ice chest. It was like this whole thing. And then we're like, okay, screw it. We're just gonna, like, you're just going to figure it out when you're there.

John: And figured it out for me.

Jen: And they did. And you know what? It didn't cost anything because you just checked it.

John: Yeah. They flash frozen, put it in boxes, we checked it and then I brought it home before it was unfrozen.

Jen: It was totally frozen still.

John: It's almost been a year, have 90 pounds of fish that we've slowly eaten almost all of it. Do you want me to go back and do it again and club more fish?

Jen: I really do. It was, oh my gosh.

John: It's worth it for the fish.

Jen: Oh my gosh. The fish was, and it was so, I mean, we love seafood. We love fish. So, for us, it just, it's been so nice to just like every week we have fish and it's fresh.

John: You do a blackened salmon that's like so good.

Jen: I know. I pinned so many fish recipes. I mean we have made tacos. We've had poor man's lobster with the halibut. That was really good. The blackened salmon. Yeah. And I've learned how to make locks. And let me tell you, now that I've learned how to make locks.

John: We don't go to Einstein bagels anymore.

Jen: I don't buy them as often because it's, it's so easy.

John: We're down to like the last two fillets right now.

Jen: I know, I'm actually kind of sad about it.

John: Or if anyone's going and they want to send us some.

Jen: Totally.

John: If I haven't shut down King Fisher with my halibut or a shark story, please send us a fish. So, there's Sitka Alaska for you. We do appreciate you listening. In fact, did you see how many reviews we got this week.

Jen: I know. And thank you guys. They were all good reviews. Just like we asked for it.

John: Yeah. There were five out of five. In fact, we had a listener, I do a radio show here in town who gave us such a nice review saying they were excited to hear you and how funny you were and someone else saying show feels like it's just like friends sitting down and drinking wine.

Jen: That's what we want.

John: Yeah. That's the idea of it. And I wish I could read them verbatim, but the kids took our phones before we started recording. We need to do something with the kids to keep them occupied.

Jen: Right.

John: And so, our son's playing Fortnite downstairs and he's texting friends on our phone. And then your daughter, our daughter has one.

Jen: And yeah.

John: It's a.... But hey, thank you for the reviews.

Jen: Thank you so much.

John: Still, you can give a review five out of five. Tell us if you liked the show and follow us on Instagram. And that would be...

Both: Our Savings Starts Tomorrow.

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