Revilla, as we call our island for short, is quite a large island located at the northern latitude of 55-degrees, just east of British Columbia, Canada. It’s the twelfth largest in the United States and 166th largest in the world. The island is traditionally territory of the Tlingit. However, the name Revillagigedo is Spanish and was named by George Vancouver in 1793 in honor of the 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, Juan Vicente de Güemes, who was a viceroy of New Spain, which is what we know as Mexico today.
The island is well protected within the Inside Passage, a mostly island-protected marine highway that navigates north and south along the southeastern coast of Alaska. The island is roughly 120 miles in circumference. The Behm Canal is what separates our island from the mainland to the north, east, and south of us, where the Misty Fjord National Monument is located as well as a couple of large, glacier-fed rivers that drain out of British Columbia, Canada, such as the Unuk River and the Chickamin River. Every once in a few years, the Alaska Marine Highway System offers a full-day ferry tour around the island. I along with some friends have also circumnavigated the island in a skiff over the course of three days while staying in Forest Service cabins along the way.
Ketchikan only offers a forty-mile road system along the island’s most western edge because the rest of the island is inaccessible due to its mountainous terrain, which is only accessed by boat or float plane. Many ocean inlets travel deeply into our island, like like George Inlet and Carroll Inlet, which are closer to town. To the west of the island are Annett Island, which is home to the Tsimshian sovereign nation, Metleketla. Further off to the east and north is Prince of Wales island, which stretches north of over a hundred miles toward Juneau. And you can see the Cleveland Peninsula jut out from the mainland toward the north end of our road system, where one end of the Behm Canal begins. Island life has resulted in a community that is strong in the arts, fishing, and tourism industries. Our isolation has created a pretty close-knit community that also respects one another’s privacy. Revilla can be a tough but rewarding lifestyle, and it’s a wonderful place to visit.