‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’ by Rebecca Ruckeyser – An Alaskan Resort for the Adventurous


‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’ by Rebecca Ruckeyser (2022) – 268 pages


Lavender Island Wilderness Lodge is an Alaskan resort for those who want a more strenuous active vacation. Ocean fishing, kayaking, mountain climbing, camping, bear watching, sightseeing glaciers.

The novel ‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’ takes place at this resort which is located on its own small island, Lavender Island, near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. I was going to say that this novel was the first novel I have read that takes place in Alaska since reading those of Jack London, but I then found out that London’s novels actually take place in the Yukon in Canada. ‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’ is thus the first novel I have read that takes place in Alaska.

There are no cars on Lavender Island. People arrive and leave the island via seaplane. When you walk on Lavender Island, it is a good idea to carry a bell with you which will usually keep the many bears there from approaching you.

Pushki was a lesser Kodiak danger, listed below earthquake and fire and bears and hypothermia and volcano and jellyfish. It wasn’t fatal, but would give you a brilliant bubbly rash if you came into contact with its sap.”

Mira is a young 18 year old woman who works at the lodge. She has a talent for baking which is much appreciated by the owners of the resort, Stu and Maureen. Mira has signed up to work for them for the summer. After a long day of strenuous activity kayaking or hiking or fishing (which is more than tremendous) or sightseeing glaciers and extremely tall mountains, the guests at the lodge can gather around the fireplace for refreshments including baked goods, or, if they like, they can relax in the hot tub.

The day of the big storm – the wind flattening the alders so that all you saw was the silver side of their leaves, seagulls blowing haplessly across the water like scraps of tissue – the Vermonters were forced to stay inside. The water was all whitecaps, and there could be no kayaking.”

As I mentioned before, Mira is quite young and she does have some wayward ideas. Mira is hung up about a guy she has barely met, Ed, who works on fishing boats. When Mira isn’t busy at the lodge, she has sexual fantasies about Ed or she’s trying to figure out the exact meaning of sleaze. I think that author Rebecca Rukeyser has done a superior job capturing the insecurities of this young person and the dynamics of an Alaskan resort. Over the summer, personal connections develop that threaten the very future of the resort.

The nice thing about Alaska is that we don’t let a little weather come between us and doing what we want to do.”


Grade:    A-



3 responses to this post.

  1. “ The nice thing about Alaska is that we don’t let a little weather come between us and doing what we want to do.”
    Haha, I could so easily substitute London or even Melbourne for Alaska!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Hi Lisa,
      The weather in Alaska is much more wicked than either London or Melbourne. And that’s not even counting the earthquakes.
      “With more than 20,000 earthquakes reported annually, Alaska is by far the most seismically active state.”



      • Yes, I know, apart from anything you do cold much better than we do. What I meant was that Londoners and Melburnians share the attitude that we don’t let the weather stop we from doing what you want to do.



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