Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Visit to Platinum



Earlier today, Dutch had one of those serendipitous opportunities to do something fun and unexpected that come along every so often. A friend invited him to take the extra seat on a charter plane to the village of Platinum for a quick down-and-back afternoon trip to look at the site for a new fish processing plant. What a great way
to spend a clear and sunny spring day.

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I knew he’d have a good time. His friend is a hard-working, energetic young man named Brian who once worked for Dutch, and for whom Dutch served as a mentor. A different job opportunity drew him to Anchorage a few months ago, and Dutch has missed him. Brian was glad to have his new company send him out this way on the reconnoiter mission.

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Platinum is a tiny village on the edge of Kuskokwim Bay, about 125 miles south of Bethel. It has 41 residents. The children are either home schooled or sent away to school; the building sits empty since it was closed a few years ago. There is no village clinic or health aide; patients travel 12 miles to Goodnews Bay, the closest village. Simple problems are often cared for by a man with some nursing training who has lived in the village for about fifteen years.

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Platinum is located on a spit of land at the mouth of Goodnews Bay. It was named for the eponymous mineral being mined there in 1927. A fish processing plant being built there would be a huge financial benefit to the community.

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The flight down took about 45 minutes and was smooth and beautiful. It was a great day to be out flying. The Kuskokwim River is completely clear of ice, as is Kuskokwim Bay and as far out into the Bering Sea as they were able to see. The mountains that are the tail end of the Kuskokwim Range march right down to the sea at Platinum.

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Brian and Dutch were met at the airstrip by a guy with a pick up truck who drove them around the village. Dutch took pictures and Brian talked business and they were back on the plane home within an hour. It was a nice Saturday afternoon.


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All photos by Dutch.


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