We Love Prince William Sound

by The Talvis on February 16, 2011

The Talvi Families, Port Ashton Lodge Owners & Operators
The Talvi Families 2008, from left: Randy, Tristan, Paige, Myles, Lia and Tasha. (At home working, Russ, Bjorn, Erik, Katy & Kristofer.)

We love Prince William Sound! In our pursuit to spend more time in the Sound we developed Port Ashton Lodge a cabin rental and full service lodge. Located on the 1918 Port Ashton Saltery site, our retreat includes rustic log cabins and a Beach House that overlook Sawmill Bay.

The Talvis are four family partners in Port Ashton Lodge. Randy, Lia and their children, Myles, Tristan and Tasha live in Alaska. Randy is a life long Alaskan who has grown up living one adventure after another in Alaska’s outdoors. He has over 30 years of expertise navigating the rivers and oceans of Alaska. His background as a fisheries biologist, commercial fisherman, wrestling coach and teacher will be used to help entertain and guide you during your vacation. Lia enjoys sewing, cooking, hiking and fishing. She has over 20 years experience working with people in the hotel and food industry. She will make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive. Her expertise cooking seafood and desserts will keep you coming back for more. Myles is our fishing enthusiast. He loves to fish and enjoys sharing his fishing secrets. Tristan is our naturalist. He loves to talk about all of the local plants and marine life. Our youngest child, Tasha, is our artist and cleans cabins with her mom. All of the Talvis enjoy living and sharing their experiences at Port Ashton Lodge.

Paige and Russ grew up in Alaska. Although they moved to Kauai, Hawaii, in 1990, their love of Alaska has never diminished. Because of this they moved back to the city, Fairbanks, Alaska, that they had grown up in.  All of their family enjoy experiencing the vastness and beauty that only Alaska can offer. Paige loves to fish and quilt. Russ enjoys the quiet sanctuary of our remote Alaskan lodge and Russ, Paige, and their children, Bjorn, Erik, Katy, and Kristofer have all helped with the planning and building of the lodge. On Kauai they owned and operated an exquisite restaurant, 22 N (www.22northkauai.com) at Kilohana. Their unique concept was to harvest locally grown and sustainable food. We put their hospitality experience to use at the lodge to ensure you have a memorable and tasteful stay with us.

Read through a few of our blog posts to get a glimpse of what life is like out here at Port Ashton.


Dock Flippage

by Paige Talvi on February 24, 2011

(Originally published Aug. 24, 2009. Read original post here.)

Docks are an expensive luxury in remote Alaska. Buying and hauling the lumber and fabricating a dock is complex so buying a used dock made a lot of sense for us. Our dock is part of the salvage of the old Valdez Harbor dock…Russ, Randy and friends towed it from Valdez with the Wild Abandon and the Faith, Randy’s old boat, to Port Ashton in June, 2005.

All went well until in the LaTouche Passage they became concerned that gas was running low. They radioed a neighbor who brought gas. One friend fell through a dock hole as he attempted to tie up the neighbor’s boat to the floating dock so Russ jumped onto the dock to assist.

It was rough and there was no cleat to tie up to so Russ was weaving the line around the bull rail when the boat and the dock surged together breaking his wrist!

So when we decided to bring in another dock it was an easy decision to hire someone else to tow the 120′ dock.

“There’s a submarine in the bay,” radioed our neighbor. Our dock had arrived twisted at midpoint with half of the dock flipped upside down!

This predicament posed a whole new set of problems and Randy began ruminating about how to flip the dock back right side up. Caution is Randy’s constant companion…he spent almost a week considering how to flip the dock safely.

During the contemplation week, Boulder Bay, captained by John McLean, offered to help flip the dock. The plan was to submerge the front of the dock using the Boulder Bay thus flipping it as it was flipped on the way out from Valdez. In preparation, Randy disappeared one morning with Tristan, a chainsaw and the portable marine radio. He told Tristan if something went wrong to radio Port Ashton and then he cut the dock at the twist…so now there were two pieces, one upright and one upside down.

It was a sunny, warm day when Captain John had a break in fishing to assist. Randy, Russ and Boulder Bay crew tied and knotted the lines between the upside down dock piece and the seiner. Lia and I watched from the beach with some friends while the kids swam in the bay.

Full speed ahead, Captain John began pulling the dock. It looked as if the plan was working and then snap, snap, snap, a piece of the dock broke like match sticks. At this point, I dropped my camera and my mouth fell open, and I missed the shot. Come to find out Darren of the Boulder Bay caught the event on his video camera…I’m hoping to get a copy to include in the blog!

Everyone was so disappointed, probably Randy more than anyone. He knew there was more work ahead and we had lost more of the dock. This was not a project he wanted to revisit in the fall. So Randy returned to puzzling out a solution.

And, then it came to him. We could hang the dock from the old fuel dock pilings on high tide and let the tide do most of the work. Unfortunately, Randy had to return to Wasilla to teach school so it was up to us to prep the dock.

Captain John’s 16 year old son, Jake, helped Russ, Russ’ aunt and uncle and I run 6 lines under the dock to the outside “bull rail.” Jake tied all the knots and wove the line under the dock using a salvaged 2×4 and gaff.

Fortunately, Randy was able to talk his workmates, Justin and Mike, into coming out the following weekend to assist with the flip! Randy climbed up onto the creosote pilings and tied the lines to the piling header, completing the cradle.

Then we watched as the tide went out and the 15′ tidal change tightened the lines and the dock moved increasingly vertical. Just before the extreme low tide of -.09 feet at 9:39 PM on Saturday the dock was about 80 degrees of vertical so we put one more line on top of the dock and pulled it over with the Wild Abandon.

Cheering ensued, we retied the dock to the pilings, and started the campfire.

I ran up to the Creekside during the celebration and heard a distress call over the radio. A seiner was taking on water just a mile from Chenega Bay. We use a trash pump to fill our hot tub so we radioed that we had a pump available. Some neighbors were rushing out their pump and so they felt they had enough pumping power…until they discovered the neighbor’s pump did not work. Again, we radioed that we had a working pump…and eventually a tender arrived in front of our beach, launched their skiff and Randy and I floated the pump out to them on the kids styrofoam floats! It was dark and of course, the water went over our boots…about 52 degrees fahrenheit.

We listened to the action until 12:30 p.m. Around 11:30 p.m. the captain gave up the fight…even with three pumps they could not overcome the rushing, incoming tide. They abandon ship. We offered to host the crew at Port Ashton but they needed phone service and so they stayed at the hatchery.

It was an exciting day filled with ups and downs and we were proud to be part of the Sawmill Bay community who rallied to the rescue.

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Moon over Sawmill Bay

February 23, 2011

(Originally published Aug. 14, 2009. Read original post here.) Summer moons require late night viewing. Lia and I are typically up until 11 pm (unless I sneak off early to bed), finishing dishes, baking and planning for the next day…and sometimes a little late night internet shopping. Whenever we see the moon rise we grab […]

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Feeding Dogs & Bears

February 22, 2011

(Originally published Aug. 10, 2009. Read original post here.) Every morning it is somebody’s job to feed the dogs, Licorice and Heila. They work hard for their room and board keeping the bears at a distance. Licorice lives under the Creekside cabin and that is where she is fed. Dry dog food mixed with leftover […]

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Rocking & Rolling in the Beach House

February 21, 2011

(Originally published July 26, 2009. Read original post here.) Over the summer we sleep in most of our accommodations at Port Ashton at least once. Last Wednesday it was our turn to sleep in the Beach House. That night the tide topped 16′ which means we were floating. Tides are high in Alaska but this […]

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Fresh Eggs

February 20, 2011

(Originally published July 15, 2009. Read original post here.) Five dozen eggs…that is our inventory par. We eat and use plenty of eggs. Most baked items require eggs…and eggs are a common breakfast entree at Port Ashton. So when we run out of eggs it’s an emergency! Our nearest grocery source is a 3 hour […]

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Overwhelming Laundry

February 19, 2011

(Originally published July 8, 2009. Read original post here.) Laundry is constantly arriving at Creekside – clothing, table linen, sleeping bag liners and bed linen. Between July 2-5 we had 40 guests, 6 dogs, 4 kids, 13 boats and 36 loads of laundry! Here is our personal laundry…notice the towels in the shower…we have found […]

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Fish Alaska Story

February 18, 2011

(Originally published July 8, 2009. Read original post here.) We were so excited to have a writer as a guest. Les Palmer, a columnist for the Kenai Peninsula Clarion newspaper, and his fishing buddies were guests at Port Ashton Lodge last season. Getting publicity for the lodge seemed very important and having a professional writer […]

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