Rock blasting unearths old anchor in Tongass Narrows

This Feb. 5, 2020, photo shows Roseanne and Bob Wickman viewing and touching an admiralty anchor that was recovered in February during the removal of the rock pinnacle on Feb. 5,2020 at Berth 1 in Ketchikan, Alaska. Port and Harbor Department plans to display the anchor near Berth 1.

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Though the $5.4 million rock blasting project in the Tongass Narrows has ended, it leaves in its wake a more navigable waterway and a memento.

As crews dredged rubble from the seafloor following 15 explosions of the rock hump off Berth 2, an old anchor was unearthed.

The admiralty style anchor, commonly used between the time of the Civil War to World War II, is heavily striated — time and oxidation have given it the appearance of driftwood, despite being made of metal.

Deep long grooves span the brown and orange metal, barnacles are attached to one of the flukes, or points, of the anchor, and the top is busted off, where a thin, cross-section piece called a stock once was.

The anchor was lifted out of the water on Jan. 14, laid on the edge of Berth 1, and hasn't moved since.

Steve Corporon, Ketchikan's port and harbors director, says it could have come from a number of ships that have passed by Ketchikan throughout the years.

Gary Freitag, a Ketchikan-based professor of oceanography with the University of Alaska, said that many anchors of this style were taken from ships and used to secure fish traps in the area.

Corporon described the anchor as rough, having many sharp edges, but also fragile — the edges of the flukes are fraying.

The anchor as it lies is about 9 feet in length and spans more than 6 feet from fluke to fluke.

It is unclear how much the anchor weighs, but estimates range from around 700 pounds to 1,200 pounds.

Corporon wants to set up a display near Berth 1 to share the anchor's history — and put up some sort of rail around it so kids or passersby don't climb on it and cut themselves or chip off pieces of the anchor.

During the construction of Berth 3 about half a dozen large anchors were uncovered, according to Corporon, but none of them as big as this one.

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