Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prince William Summer

Alternate Text This season would be different in that considerable time would be spent doing major maintenance on the boat during part of the normal cruising season. A lot of debate had gone into deciding where to do a haul-out – Cordova, Valdez, or take the boat to Port Townsend for a winter. In the end we decided that the work would be done in Cordova. Even though the actual haul-out would cost more in Cordova, other costs, such as lodging, fuel, etc. made Cordova the preferred location. Staying in Cordova eliminated the need to travel the great distance to Port Townsend, and having been based in Cordova for many years as a fisherman, Mark knew well the skilled tradesmen and others that could be relied upon for the project. Alternate Text May is always a busy time in Cordova, as fishermen are readying their boats and nets for the season. The fish-boat rush to haul-out meant that Tamara would have to wait until early June for her turn. We would be allowed to stay on the boat during the haul-out, but part of the work involved very toxic fumes and required us to stay in a spare room of a friend – thank you Bill! Floor boards were refinished (again, thanks Bill for the use of your warehouse), bilge areas epoxied and painted, the engine compartment re-painted, and considerable mechanical work performed. Alternate Text As the weather varied, so too did the work schedule—exterior welding and painting performed when the skies were clear, interior work when it rained. Three coats of anti-foulant paint on the bottom, and replacement of the sacrificial zinc anodes finally made Tamara ready for launching. Alternate Text Alternate Text On July 14th Tamara was splashed back in the water, and on July 17th we were off to spend the next six weeks cruising Prince William Sound. The main objective (you have to have an objective!) was to explore very small anchorages that 1) might not freeze in the winter, 2) would allow the use of shore lines to tie in, and 3) had terrain suitable for x-country skiing. Mark, having enjoyed his winter cruise this past season, is eager to do it again next year. And there are many areas of the Sound that we have yet to explore. Areas of focus would be Port Gravina, Naked Island, Glacier Island, Wells, Cedar, and Eaglek Bays, and the Culross Pass region of the western part of the Sound. Alternate Text After the heavy snow of the previous winter there was still a lot of snow on the lower ridges and very few wildflowers were presenting themselves. There were even remnants of snow banks at sea level. Alternate Text Bald Eagles are always present in Prince William Sound, but this summer we encountered more than usual. In several bays where the pink salmon were running heavy, large colonies of Bald Eagles would gather in the mud flats at low tide feeding on the carcasses of fish that didn't escape before the tide went out. The day we anchored at the head of Eaglek Bay there were more than 20 eagles perched in trees, many in pairs. Alternate Text Alternate Text It's not unusual to encounter other pleasure boats when close to Cordova, Valdez or Whittier, but once in the northern anchorages very few boats were sighted. Alternate Text We did manged to rendezvous with Sophie and Oleg, on Kotic II, a boat we met in Ushuaia and Antarctica. Mark had been communicating with Oleg all winter, concerning engine replacement and major maintenance to be done along the US West Coast. They had sailed from Hawaii to Dutch Harbor, then along the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak and into Prince William Sound. We spent two nights and one beautiful day with them on Glacier Island. It's always fun running into cruisers that we've met along the way, especially when the last time we saw them was years ago and 20,000 miles past! Alternate Text Photographically, Nancy concentrated on reflections. She has always enjoyed being in an anchorage and discovering, either early morning or evening, unique images between the shore and the waterline. This really came to life in a particularly tiny place referred to as the Hidey Hole with it's granite shoreline. With just the right light, interesting images presented themselves that under other conditions would not be visible. Here is a fish. Alternate Text And here is the skeleton of a fish. Alternate Text Alternate Text Arriving back in port in Cordova at the beginning of September, the weather turned tempestuous as it generally does at this time of the autumnal equinox. With much remaining to be done on the boat, as well as the time-consuming annual lay-up in preparation for the winter, September will be a busy month once again. But these seasonal rhythms are the measure of time familiar to many cruisers as well as to fishermen and farmers. Winter cannot be long in coming. Alternate Text Cordova has become a favorite spot for cruisers wintering over in Alaska and usually by September there is a new boat in the harbor. As yet this year, though, there aren't any winter-overs. We miss the camaraderie of fellow sailors.


Blogger Editor said...

Testing Comments.

11/14/2012 11:18 AM  
Blogger seewolf said...

Hello Mark, Hello Nancy,
It's always good to hear from you.
All the best for you both.
Jeannete & Wolf

10/28/2013 2:27 AM  

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