Wednesday marked my last day working as a reporter for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. I will leave to work on a tendering boat, something I have longed to do since I began reporting on Kodiak’s fisheries almost two years ago.
The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I was inspired to take on this new adventure by the people I have met here and the stories I have written.
During my two years at the newspaper, I often wondered what it would be like to work on a boat. More recently, my friend told me that I could easily find a job on a tendering boat if I wanted. My first thought was that I could never do that. My second thought was that, because it was out of my comfort zone, I should definitely do it.
After asking people what makes someone a good crew member on a tender boat, I decided I had the most important qualities, which primarily include being friendly and a hard worker, both of which are also necessary for my job at the paper.
I began asking around and found a job on a Kodiak-based boat that works out of Bristol Bay for part of the summer.
On Wednesday, I flipped through all the past newspaper editions I worked on (and kept on top of my desk), and I removed more than 30 reporter notebooks overflowing from my desk drawers. These small actions made me reflect on my time here.
I loved talking to community members and running out to report on what is going on in the community. I enjoyed my time covering city politics, community engagement, fisheries and everything in between. I am so thankful for the knowledgeable community members who patiently taught me about their specialties, offered me new perspectives and showed me how much they care about our special Kodiak community.
Shortly after I arrived in Kodiak, the ferry workers were striking. The following year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and our local stories seemed more important than ever.
The whole community was affected, and it was our job to tell those stories and highlight how the community came together to help those most affected.
One group of community members began a GoFundMe for the town’s local movie theater, while another group created a network of volunteers to shop for and donate money to those in need.
Then members of the business community started the Kodiak Economic Development Corporation to distribute funding the city offered from their federal pandemic relief money to help struggling businesses.
There were also tragic stories that reflected the reality of fishing — our economic driver — as well as our community’s resilience , such as the sinking of the Scandies Rose and other hardships felt throughout the years.
I arrived here two years ago from South America, knowing nothing about Kodiak or Alaska. However, writing for our local paper quickly taught me what makes this town and state so special, which is the people.
I am not yet sure what will happen after I finish tendering, but I will definitely come back to the island. And who knows — maybe I’ll have a story or two to share.