Visitors from Bering Sea island take Model T ride

New experience for mother and daughter

Bering Sea visitors

Mike Gurling – Forks Chamber of Commerce contributed photo

George Helvy of Forks gives a ride in his 1923 Model T Ford around the Forks Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Information Center lawn to Eleanor and her daughter Sophia Gologergen from Savoonga in 90-mile-long St. Lawrence Island in Alaska. The Gologergen’s home is located in the far west of Alaska, in the Bering Sea, near the Bering Strait. The ladies said on their remote island cars are not needed as it is so remote and has only about 900 residents.

Eleanor was visiting a friend on the West End she had not seen in 40 years. Her friend was an exchange student in Savoonga in the early 1970s. This is the first time she and her daughter have been off their island home. They talked about huge drifts of snow back home even during the summer months.

 During the Iron Curtain days the people on Savoonga could not visit their tribal relatives who lived in U.S.S.R.-controlled Siberia. When the curtain fell the people of the area were finally able to see and visit long-lost relatives. St. Lawrence is the sixth largest island in the United States, and is located closer to Siberia then to mainland Alaska.

The Siberian Yupik people who live on St. Lawrence hunt, fish and herd reindeer. The Yupik carve whale bone and walrus ivory and are noted for their carving skills.