KOTZEBUE -- When it’s sunny and temperatures are in the 70s, it’s not hard to imagine the Chukchi Sea is the Mediterranean.
It helps that the sea wall, with its paved walkways and sleek railing, makes the town feel a bit more like a resort than the hub community of 10 villages in the Northwest Alaska Arctic.
The sea wall runs for about a half-mile down the shoreline, looking out over Kotzebue Sound, paralleling the aptly named Shore Avenue. It was constructed in 2012 at a cost of $34 million to help offset coastal erosion and protect the community from encroaching sea ice.
It’s here that the sea wall becomes more than just a wall and more of a gathering place. It’s where visitors mingle and locals congregate. Where kids ride bikes, splash into the water or dive in, bikes and all. It’s where some people walk their dogs, go for a run or stick a fishing line in the water.