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Nap, talk, oooh & ahhh

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

(59º58.5′ N, 144º22.8′ W — Kayak Entrance, Kayak Island) Today was a big travel day — we went 108 nautical miles starting early this morning (before sunrise) and finishing after sundown. Most of the day, we were a ways away from shore (about 25 miles), but we got distant views of a number of additional glaciers. For those of you that are salmon connoisseurs, we are slightly south of Copper River, which is a gigantic mud flat that is bracketed by a few glaciers including Miles and Childs Glaciers.

We had some company along the way today when two pods of Dahl porpoises played around the boat. They stayed with us for a very long time, at least half an hour. On their second visit, there were so many of them that it seemed that we could see several of them surfacing everywhere we looked! It was as if the original few we saw had gone and gathered all of their friends and family to have fun around the Geraldine!

We saw two rainstorms on the radar today, and ended up having hail as we went through them. We also saw a complete rainbow that ended directly in front of the boat. We kept heading that way, but the gold was elusive. We had fun reading, napping, talking, and ooohing and ahhhing with the porpoises. It was a great day here on the Geraldine.

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.  🙂

Interview & Anniversary

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

(Kodiak, AK) Yesterday afternoon after lunch (Chinese, as requested by Raime), we headed back to the boat and ran into Casey Kelly from KMXT Public Radio ( He had just been down the boat and had left a note for us. He interviewed Dad with an impressive looking microphone, and Dad took him on a tour of the boat, and gave him an overview of the Northwest Passage trek on his Polar Map (which I hadn’t seen before). All of the latitude lines are drawn in circles, so it gives a much different view of the Arctic than I have become used to looking at the Google Map we have on the website. We filmed the interview with our digital camera, and while Raime continued with the filming, I stepped outside and called Shane and Rebecca. It was fun to hear Shane talk with Casey, as he remembered different times of the trip, and had different things to say.  Casey will be airing the interview today.

Casey helped Dad with a ride to the airport yesterday to pick Mom back up! She immediately came back, took a trip to the grocery store with us, and then whipped up a fantastic dinner of Cream of Brocolli soup. We had a fun meal with Ed, and enjoyed staying up with him. He caught a plane back to San Jose early this morning. We have not been out to eat since Mom got here!

Today Mom and Dad celebrate 36 years of marriage. Congratulations to them!

Back in the USA!

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I got a call from Mom tonight to say that they have arrived in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska!  Since leaving Tuktoyaktuk, they have been unable to connect to their email, but have several updates to give us once they are reconnected.  They stopped off in Pullen Bay, and then did another all day, all night, all day run to arrive late tonight.  They are tired, and were ready to collapse!

Mom said that the Northern Lights were beautiful, but that they have only seen them the one night as the other nights have been overcast.

The phone connection was a little flakey and so our conversation ended up being cut off, but I was able to get an updated schedule.  They are on track, they believe, to get Mom to Nome so she can fly back to California on September 3rd, and then Pat to Dutch Harbor on September 11th.  Rebecca, Raime and I are hoping to fly up to meet Dad and Shane on September 13th.

This update came in from the crew this evening:

At 10:30 PM and 141 degrees West, Shane and Pat were on watch and celebrated the border crossing with a Chocolate Chip Cookie! We have been going on shifts through the day and night and are in following seas between 5-10′ high. They lift us up and we surf down them as if being carried along by God’s hand. We are five miles off shore and heading toward Barrow and expect to be there tomorrow night. We hope to get fuel there and press on to Nome where Ed will come aboard and Kip will get off. We hope to be in Nome 9/3.

The Geraldine just keeps on steady and strong. We made 40 gallons of water yesterday successfully also. (When the seas calm down we are all longing for a shower and clean hair!)

The land is so low we cannot pick it up as a radar target. The fog and clouds block a view of the distant mountains. We passed a ship pulling a barge coming toward us and had a conversation over the radio. It is always fun to make contact with the other boats at sea with us.

PS at 6:30 PM Stopped for the night at Cross Island right off of Prudhoe Bay. Prudhoe Bay is locked down tight; no visitors allowed without Homeland Security clearance. We are relaxing behind a sand spit so low it didn’t show up on the radar until about 1 mile away; yet it provides the protection we need against the sea. (70 deg 29.359′ N; 147 deg 59.555′ W)

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