Isolation is a Way of Life for Whittier Residents - Particularly in Winter
Locals paint picture of community at the mercy of the elements.
Even though the boat’s wheelhouse is outfitted with two computers and a landline phone, Arneson said they’re often no match for Whittier’s storms.
But he’s accustomed to it.
“If we lose all this, personally, it doesn’t bother me a bit,” he said from the wheelhouse, as the wind outside buffeted the boat and churned the harbor into frothing whitecaps.
Plus, Arneson said Whittier’s summertime visitors compensate for any winter isolation. The same harbor that sat partially deserted outside his window brought thousands of cruise ship passengers every summer, and he said he’d met many of them as they walked from the ship to the train depot down the dock by his front door.
Now, Arneson said many days go by when nobody crosses the ice-covered float. When the tunnel into town opens every hour to let vehicles through from the highway, sometimes there are none.
“We kind of enjoy,” he said, eyes twinkling, the dim light of the boat’s interior reflecting off his glasses. “Let’s put it that way.”
He doesn't need a lot of visitors.