What in the Tuktoyaktuk happened?

August 25th, 2008 by Walt "The Skipper" Jones

Or in other words, Geraldine is once again the talk of the town! We thought it’d be a good idea to take the small boat entrance to get to the public dock (yes they have a real dock – a very big deal in this part of the world.) Skip Boselli will have the last laugh because I always was jumping him for cutting the corner. Well, this time I got caught & we are hard aground at the entrance to the harbor. The western Arctic is incredibly shallow. We have run all day & night in under 30 feet of water. We expect the same all the way to Barrow, AK. The Canadian Coast Guard tried to free us tonight but gave up because of a falling tide. They will resume in the morning. We are currently “listing” about 7 degrees to starboard so Pat will have trouble staying in his bunk tonight. We are all fine and in good humor. More soon. We have made arrangements for fuel in the AM and have been in contact with the RCMP; they are very helpful, but we are still very stuck!

8/25 PS: Last night was scary. As the tide went down, Geraldine listed to starboard about 20 degrees. The freezer drawer opened by itself, fell out on the floor with a loud bang, awakening Shane (Kip was already awake.) She woke me up. We started shifting weight to port to prevent further listing. In the midst of it all we looked up at the sky and saw brilliant greenish-white northern lights. We all prayed that God would watch over us and keep us safe. At 8 AM the inflatable from the CCG vessel Nahidik came to help pull us off the mound of gravel that captured us. We used the 150 HP of the inflatable , the bow thruster and finally Geraldine’s main engine to get us off. Within a few feet we were clear. We are now sitting at the dock in Tuktoyaktuk waiting on fuel, to reprovision and to make arrangements for the next crew change. You’ll see we had a taste of Salinas as we found beautiful lettuce in Tuk, even if if Romaine was $4.95 a head! We also cleared out of Canada through customs with the aid of the Tuktoyaktuk RCMP.

8/25 6:30 PM Anchored behind Pullen Island (69 deg 46′ N,134 deg 26′ W) We got fuel & successfully departed Tuktoyaktuk. We went over 10 miles from the harbor in 12 feet or less of water! Wow, is this ever different from the east coast. ┬áPat made another loaf of bread; onion and garlic and it was delicious!

7 Responses to “What in the Tuktoyaktuk happened?”

  1. Randy Jones Says:

    Unstuck from Tuk! Good job crew and company! I must admit, it is sad to see this extremely pun-able name slip sternward. I hope you get to see more northern lights in less jarring circumstances… DOH! I just realized we didn’t get pictures from the crew. Now we have to wait and hope for Point Barrow in a week or so.

  2. Ryan Hare Says:

    Never a dull moment. Good thing for the Canadian RCMP or as Shane would otherwise call them the “Intergalactic Border Patrol” It would be neat if you could take a short video, maybe on camera… and post it to YOU TUBE for us all to see.

  3. Chuck Single Says:

    2/27/08 I finally got back to find that you are almost out of Canadian waters !! Good !!!

    Dexter is about 84 degrees west, about the same as Pond Inlet of a week ago (or so). I will read back and see how it went (and maybe comment).

    When you go from 80 degrees west (Eire, PA) to 125 degrees west (the west coast of the USA) it is some 2,200 miles. From Pond Inlet to Tuktoyaktuk looks to be about 900 miles when you’re 7 degrees north of the artic circle. I know, you can only go south from the north pole !! And then you can cover 45 degrees with one step !!

    I will now use my Alaska map to follow your progress. A quick glance shows that Alaska is BIG, looks like you have at least 2,000 miles to go to get to past the Aleutian Islands. And 800 more to get to Anchorage, Alaska (Is that were you will store your boat for now ??

    Maybe you have 3/7 of the trip yet to go !! Have you raveled 4,000 miles , so far ? At any rate, I am totally impressed with this voyage of yours, Walt.

    Advice: Stay close to ALaska at the Bering Strait (I’m not so sure the Russian “coast guard” would be so friendly; i.e., return your gun and give you advice on ice conditions.

    I hope that you have seen your worst iceberg, fog, and “winter conditions”. But I just know that the big (15 ft or so) waves are yet to come.

    I have been spending a bit of time with Steve, as he persues his back problems; so I have had more to pray about. With the more open coastline of ALaska, I hope that the icebergs will be well below 20% of the traveling area.

    Smooth sailing !!

  4. Clarence Says:

    Good work. Walter, I would appreciate frequencies and schedule so I could listen in on ssb and maybe communitate. It is very good that gravel was there and a storm was not… bye the way, can the new replacement make CCC’s?

  5. Carlos Fetterolf, Jr. Says:

    Hallloooo Up There – - – Chuck looked and acted very well last Sunday. He’s reqdy for another try at the bridge league. He hasn’t won the league champion since he and Gerry arrived from CA and whupped us all. I fear his present partner is not as good as Gerry or Steve )(who is tdg )(tooooo darn good). – - – -

    Did you religious folks hear abouit the 12 y-o youth who was puzzled about the memorial plaque in the church foyer. He asked the minister the significants all the names and flags, etc. The minister resonded, “This plaque honors our church members who have died while in the service.” The youth responded, “Which
    service, the 9 or 11 o’clock?” – - – more next time – – Carlos

  6. Robert Mellis Says:

    Great adventure. We joined the journey a couple of weeks back when we visited with a friend in Southwest Harbor, ME. He works at the Wilbur Yachts yard, the birthplace of your sturdy vessel.
    I’m surprised at how shallow your area of the world is. How much tidal rise and fall is there?

  7. Randy Says:

    Walt said about half a foot in Tuk.

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I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go — Genesis 28:15