Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Time of their (wild)life

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

(60º14.7′ N, 147º42.6′ W — Snug Harbor, Prince William Sound) I got a call from the crew today giving an update since leaving Seward. A few interesting notes on Seward, it is the first place they’ve been to since Labrador that you could drive to directly in your car. It is at the end of a fjord with beautiful mountains all around. Also, the harbor was full of mostly private sailboats which was a stark contrast to the oil and fishing boats that have dominated so far. There was a Safeway! They felt like for the first time they were actually back in America.

Today they traveled about 75 nautical miles in perfectly calm seas. Forecast for the next few days is similar, which has them excited. They’ve been seeing the first signs of fall—the scrub & moss above tree line on the mountains is changing to gold and red. Meanwhile they saw a handful of glaciers and were visited by Dahl Porpoises again. Scott and Raime were able to get to the nose of the boat and look down into the crystal clear water and see them swimming under the boat and playing in the bow wave! They also reported seeing a whale fin of unidentified variety and several black and white-footed albatross. In further wildlife sightings, they added mountain goats to the growing list. Eagle-eye Raime spotted them on a two foot wide ledge above a 500 foot cliff. As I was talking to them they saw a bald eagle nest and ran outside to get a better look.

They’ve been trying to eat up all the left-over provisions from the adventure. Tonight they had mini-thanksgiving dinner with a stuffed chicken (purchased and frozen since Halifax). In spite of being well traveled, the crew reports that the chicken was tasty. The apple pie came out of the oven and they promptly hung up on me!

I did get a tentative itinerary from them. Tonight they are at Snug Harbor on Knight Island in Prince William Sound (site of the Exxon Valdez leak). Next stops are Copper River tomorrow, Icy Bay on Monday, and Yakutat on Tuesday. Scott & Raime fly home from Yakutat on Wednesday. Then it is up to Kipper and ye Salty Dog Walter to bring the Geraldine the rest of the way down to Sitka. They should be there by the weekend and fly home. And none to soon, all this apple pie talk has me hungry!

Sad Sayonara at Seward

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Woke up to an unusual sound…  No wind.  Finally the wind had calmed down, and we had swung 180 degrees.  We got an early start and headed out just as the sun came up.  We had substantial left over swell from the front that had passed, but as the day went on, the seas calmed down and the sun came out.  

We were treated to beautiful views of Petrof, Yalik, McArthur, Bear, and Godwin Glaciers; lots of ice, thankfully most on land!!!  We snuck through Nuka and McArthur Passes, as well as squeezed between two islands with widths down to 120 yards.  The glaciers were absolutely amazing as they wound from the high valleys down to the sea, and the blues were tremendous when the sun lit them up.  We stopped counting the waterfalls; however we did name a few in passing.  Most of the water was glacial in nature, as it had a blue milky color as the glaciers emptied into the waters we traveled.

This will also mark the disembarking point for Rebecca and I.   We look forward to following the Geraldine’s last steps home to Sitka where the journey will be complete.  It was a fantastic day with innumerable beautiful sights, and a great milestone as Geraldine clicked over 7,000 miles since leaving Maine.

Shane and Rebecca

Editor’s Note:  Please note that we have posted some of our bear pictures a few days back.  Enjoy!

Safe crossing, safe haven

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

(59 deg 18.438′ N, 150 deg 56.543′ W — Tonsina Bay, Kenai Penninsula) We left at 7:15 AM for the mainland expecting a somewhat rough passage. The morning and early afternoon were really very pleasant. We saw a whale spout and it delighted us with a “tail shot.” A group of Dall Porpoises played tag in front of the bow. Then about 3 PM the storm forecast for overnight started and it was “honkin’.” Seas were sloppy and fortunately the waves were not too big. We are now securely anchored behind a small island but the wind is still very strong. I will welcome the opportunity to rest. Our new additions to the team did really well today and have adjusted to boat living. Tomorrow we will attempt as protected a passage as we can toward Seward where Shane & Rebecca will depart for land based Alaska site-seeing. Oh, have we said it before; this place is incredibly beautiful: high mountains, plenty of waterfalls, patches of snow and glaciers nearby. Raime likes being anchored where no one else lives; she thinks that is “cool.”

9/18 5:30 PM We are still here safely at anchor. Winds at the anchorage have been as high as 35 kt and are reported at 45 on the coast – no place for us today. We hope to go on in the morning. There are 13 waterfalls off to port and 1 very large one off the starboard side. A Cormorant landed on the windlass to dry out; we have all been enjoying him.

Big bad bears

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

(58 deg 12.6 N, 152 deg 32.6 W — Kitoi Bay, Afognak Island) As the day started rolling, Dad and I worked on debugging a problem with starting the main engine, which turned out to be a bad solenoid. Shane swapped out our fuel filters, and had to replace a few fuses as well (we also fixed the defrost unit yesterday). Late in the morning, we were introduced to Marty Owen, the Harbormaster of Kodiak. Dad had a great time talking with him, and told him how much we’d enjoyed cruising in Kodiak. And today was even better… we had an incredible day today. We left shortly after lunch, and went North across Marmot Bay through rolling seas. We had two whale sightings as we crossed the bay. We headed for Kitoi Bay, where Shane had learned that “we would see bears.” As soon as we entered this cove, Shane spotted five bears on the far shore. We all hurried out on deck and went on a photo shooting spree while Dad circled us around. The bears were gigantic and VERY CLOSE. They were gorging on salmon, who seem to all ready to spawn in a local creek. I used our camera in combination with our binoculars, and was able to get a few really neat pictures of the bears and their amazing claws… We also were treated to seeing two large herds of seals also feasting and doing “synchronized swimming.” Raime and Rebecca spotted a bald eagle too! What an amazing place!

We’ve anchored out here, and are getting ready for another feast of our own.  We’ll post pictures as soon as we can!

Here are a few of the amazing pictures that we captured.  We also have a few videos which we’ll try to share when we’re back home. I’ve also included two of our videos that I took through the binoculars  The first one is a bit jerky because the boat was still moving around.  🙂

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