Moving to an Island in Southeast Alaska

Having the courage to move to a remote island in Southeast Alaska is only one small part of a big decision.

| February 2015

  • Shelter Island Cabin
    The Beedle’s cabin almost enclosed. Inside the cabin, there’s a classroom, recreation room, living room, family room and bedrooms.
    Photo by Jay Beedle
  • Sitka Spruce
    “There is an incredible amount of work to do when you clear a building site in Southeast Alaska.”
    Photo by Jay Beedle
  • Shelter Islanda Water
    Merlin, Jayleen, Jason and Eileen Beedle venture out into the water in front of their family cabin on Shelter Island.
    Photo by Jay Beedle
  • Shelter Island Location
    Chart of the area surrounding Shelter Island.
    Chart courtesy NOAA Chart 17300
  • South Shelter Cover
    Professional wildlife photographer Jay Beedle takes you with him on his journey to Shelter Island, Alaska, in his book, “South Shelter.”
    Cover courtesy Island Images

  • Shelter Island Cabin
  • Sitka Spruce
  • Shelter Islanda Water
  • Shelter Island Location
  • South Shelter Cover

How would you like to live on a remote island in Southeast Alaska? Jay Beedle tells the story of how he and his family did just that in South Shelter (Island Images, 2014). This excerpt, which discusses the amount of preparation and planning that went into moving to a remote island, is from Chapter 2, “We Move to Shelter Island.”

Moving to a Remote Island in Southeast Alaska

"Be careful what you wish for, you might get it." My father reminded me of this quote many times.

A million and one things needed to be figured out and completed before my family could safely live on Shelter Island. I needed to finish the tool shed so I could move those tools and we'd have a place to live; sell our house in Juneau and figure out a place to store our household belongings because our new little abode wasn’t big enough.

How do I get rid of all the junk we have accumulated over the years? What boat should I get to travel back and forth to the island? Where do I park our vehicle on the mainland? Where will we go to the bathroom on the island? How do we get rid of trash? How will we get fresh water? How will we store the fresh water? What is the best way to treat the water so it is safe to drink? How will I heat our home? How will I make a living? Where will I get a job? What if we have a medical emergency? Are we going to have enough money to build? How will we do laundry? Will our cabin need electricity? Will I need a generator-gas or diesel? Where will I store fuel? Do I get a wood stove? What kind of wood stove do I buy? Eileen wondered if she could be a good home school teacher? How would she get ready for home schooling? Who would drive the boat if something happened to me?

My mind will not stop. Instead of sleeping, I'm running around in my dreams trying to figure out the answer to all these questions.

Eileen’s mind is racing also, but she is mentally stronger than me. She is like her father and doesn’t talk unless there is something of value to say. She leaves her worries to God.

2/27/2015 6:36:53 PM

Update: I looked around and you can get them on Amazon for about $100.

2/27/2015 6:25:55 PM

Larry, They are called "XTRATUF" boots. You can get them at most sporting good stores in AK. As far as price, I know they are not cheap but don't remember just how much.

2/25/2015 7:41:25 PM

the article ,moving to an island in southwest Alaska.the boots that they are waring ,where can I buy a pair and for how much? I had a pair of these boots back in the 1960s cant find them in new York state ,can you help. thanks



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