After provisioning in Thorne Bay, we cross Clarence Strait with the intention of visiting the small village of Meyers Chuck. Chuck is a Chinook word for saltwater lagoon. After World War II, the town was settled by many Scandinavian bachelor fisherman who were used to living on their fishing boats. Many built tiny cabins out of salvaged wood from the island. Motoring cautiously through the small buoy marked entrance, brings us into a picturesque tiny oval harbor lined with cabins of all shapes and sizes. We take a spot at the head of the harbor on the town dock. The only way to reach Myers Chuck is by boat or float plane. The state ferry system does not stop here.
Ashore, we are soon greeted by Wendy. She and her husband had just returned by boat from Thorne with a new washing machine. After helping them unload it, Wendy briefs us on the town history. She has owned a cabin here for 35 years. There are around 49 homes in Myers Chuck of which only four have year round residents. There is no electricity here. Everyone has generators. There is a gravity fed water system from the lake in back of town. There used to be a general store but it is long gone. The Post Office is across the harbor in a tiny one room cabin and mail service comes once a week via float plane. We are disappointed to hear that Casey ,the post mistress, is out of town. Casey also makes cinnamon rolls, which you order the night before, for all the boaters. We were really looking forward to these!
We spend the afternoon exploring Meyers Chuck. Just beyond the harbor we find a portable saw mill which the residents use to make their own building materials. A single lane forested path takes us to each home around the harbor. Most of the homes as well as the local art gallery are still boarded up from the winter. There was a school at one time but it has now been converted into a home. A community shed contains DVDs and books that are free for the taking as well as volunteer fire, rescue, and EMT equipment. Following the path through the woods, we come upon an old homemade play ground containing a slide and jungle gym. The path takes us to a beautiful beach and a home perched on a rocky island knob. The walk around porch has a homemade bear guards along the deck at every entrance. These bear guards are sheets of plywood with many nails sticking up through it.
Back at the dock, we are soon introduced to Casey, the post mistress, and her fishing husband Steve who have just returned from Wrangell on their fishing trawler. They have lived on the island for 54 years and like many others in Meyers Chuck are unique and independent individuals. They display the true Alaskan spirit. Our only disappointment is that Casey won’t have her famous cinnamon rolls ready for a few more days. I guess we will have to make a stop here in the fall!