Stranded Alaska ferry visitors keep busy by painting fence

In this Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 photo, David and Joanne Witiak, of Anacortes, Wash., pose for a photo outside the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in downtown Kodiak, Alaska. The visitors stranded by Alaska's ferry strike have kept busy repainting the church fence.

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Visitors stranded by Alaska's ferry strike have kept busy by painting a church fence, a report said.

David and Joanne Witiak of Anacortes, Washington, have been repainting the fence at the Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Kodiak, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Monday.

The Witiaks drove their RV from Washington to Alaska and arrived in Kodiak for a weeklong vacation on July 17.

The Alaska Marine Highway strike by the Inland Boatmen's Union of the Pacific began July 24 and ended Aug. 2, but it derailed the couple's planned July 24 departure from the island city on the M/V Tustumena.

"Fortunately, we didn't book anything else," David Witiak said.

They stayed at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park while taking water aerobics classes at the Kodiak pool and visiting the public library.

"The rangers and camp hosts have been really good to us," David Witiak said. "We know everyone in the ferry office."

The only appointment Joanne Witiak missed was a haircut in her hometown, but she said that she visited one of Kodiak's salons instead.

David Witiak is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. The couple offered their services to the cathedral in downtown Kodiak and took up an invitation to paint.

"We had nothing better to do," David Witiak said.

The Witiaks began work Aug. 1 at the church that dates back to 1945. Kodiak residents have stopped by to drop off water and tickets for lunch at the Kodiak Senior Center as tokens of gratitude.

The couple hopes to finish the job before departing on the next scheduled ferry.

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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