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Photos: Life in Old Harbor on Kodiak Island, Alaska

A view from Old Harbor towards Sitkalidak Island, where Shell's Kulluk drill rig is stranded. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The village of Old Harbor, the closest community to Shell's stranded Kulluk drill rig. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Oil spill containment boom staged in Old Harbor, the community closest to Shell's grounded Kulluk drill rig. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Coast guard and Shell Oil representatives arrive by helicopter in Old Harbor for closed meetings with the tribal council and village corporation. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Edward Pestrikoff, a fisherman in Old Harbor, is concerned about the potential environmental impact of the Shell Oil Kulluk grounding. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Old Harbor fisherman Rolf Christiansen is concerned about the potential environmental impacts of the Shell Oil Kulluk grounding. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Ravens play in a tree in front of Old Harbor's Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Wilmer Andrewvitch, a reader at Old Harbor's Three Saints Russian Orthodox church, making decorations for christmas. Russian Orthodox christmas is Jan 7-9. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Old Harbor residents decorating the Three Saints Russian Orthodox church for Christmas. Russian Orthodox christmas runs Jan 7-9. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A village sign on the hillside above Old Harbor. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Old Harbor dump. Brown bears are prolific in the area, even in winter. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bobbi Anne Barnowsky, environmental director for the native village of Old Harbor, in her office. She has an environmental response team ready to help in the Shell Oil Kulluk grounding recovery effort, but so far has not been asked to help. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Old Harbor's Three Saints Russian Orthodox church, the only building in Old Harbor to survive the 1964 earthquake. Jan 4, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes,Jill Burke

OLD HARBOR -- Early January in Old Harbor, on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, offers reminders that weather is a force humans are wise to respect. High winds during the same storm that wreaked havoc with Shell's oil rig caravan ripped a shed apart at the town dump, sending the roof careening into the fence they'd constructed to keep bears away. Fishermen know if they want to come home alive, they can't push their luck with angry, turbulent seas. And in this area of the coast, the sea is often roiling too much to even think about trying to land a boat on Sitkalidak Island's southern shore, where the Kulluk remains stuck and perhaps, damaged from below.

Full story: In Old Harbor, hitting the rock

The community on the southwestern edge of Kodiak Island, accessible only by air or boat, is being established as a local staging area for the larger response. Boom, the material used to contain oil on the water and keep it out of streams, has been shipped in. A Shell employee and a Coast Guard member made it to Old Harbor on Thursday to talk with select people there face to face. Another team is in Kodiak waiting to helicopter in, if the weather will let them.