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Alaskan 4th of July and Shooting Fire Works at a Cruise Ship

In Ten Minutes

In ten minutes the 4th of July fireworks display would start!  Back in the day, the Petersburg volunteer fire department shot them across the Narrows from  Sasby Island.  The tide edged towards low. The dark waters of the Narrows filled with open boats and skiffs full of happy revelers. The clouds too crowded in close around Petersburg Mountain which trapped the echoing sound of fireworks-fountains and cherry bombs.  The boaters responded to the reverberating sound with hoots of delight.

On shore all the car traffic finally eased to a stop.  House parties on the north end of the Narrows poured out on to Nordic Drive and spilled on to the darkened beach. On the Narrows and below mean high-tide fireworks are legal.  The boaters launched a volley bottle rockets on the arriving partiers, beneath the lights of Mitkof Highway.  The people on shore joyfully retaliated by launching on the skiffs  marked in the darkness by their red and green navigational lights.

Volleys came fast and furious, as fireworks displays on the beach sent more reverberations through the sky and more smoke in the air. Banks of smoke now rolled off the beach obscuring the street lights.

I saw three “rowdy little boys” I knew racing into the basement of the house where the wife and I intends to watch the show.  They’d accidentally fired on a slow going police car! (The next day the officer, who I knew since his days as a rowdy little boy, said the look on their faces was hilarious!)

Suddenly, from the south a fog horn interrupted the fun.  Above the smoke on the water the searchlights on a slow moving cruise ship scanned the waters for small boats in its path.  Peeved at being forced from the best spot for viewing the fireworks, the boaters up anchored, repositioned their skiffs and then happily joined forces with the shore firing bottle rockets at the cruise ship.

As the skiffs re-anchored and more people came from the house parties, the cruise ship launched on the boaters and shore with its official fireworks!  Sending a roar across Petersburg Mountain that bounced off Horns Cliff.  Everyone launched on the cruise ship.  The echoing roars were deafening.  The smoke was choking.  The fireworks blinding. By then the cruise ship was alongside Sasby Island and the official fireworks of the city of Petersburg launched on the cruise ship!


Author - William Moulton