Friday, June 30, 2017

Through A Portal, Vaguely

Well. If I had never been to Alaska before, I would be very impressed by the approach at this point.

No bad weather on this trip - it's not really the season for it. But we have been sailing for hundreds and hundreds of miles through thick fog and living with clammy, cold conditions on board for quite a few days now. Occasionally a frond of kelp floats by us, and today we saw a tern. Signs that land can't be too far off.

A foggy day at sea might be the most cut-off feeling that I've ever had in the natural world. There's something about being surrounded by walls that are simultaneously opaque, amorphous, and luminous to put you off your normal game. Meanwhile you're tossing this way and that on the swell that comes charging out from those still walls, and you can't see a thing more than a couple hundred meters's a very isolated feeling, almost one of sensory deprivation. And so these days of traveling through fog make Alaska seem like a suitably distant and different destination. This feels like more like something out of science fiction and time travel than a typical ocean passage. Hopefully the stage is being set for a suitably grand first summer for our family in the Great Land.

Eric is already getting wistful. "I'm sorry to see our sailing years drawing to a close," he says. (Where do 7 year olds get their occasional flashes of lucid syntax, anyway?) "But! I'm excited to start our Kodiak years." That Eric doesn't stay down for long.

And Elias was very happy today to go into a long, quite technical exposition on the similarities in feel and action between mahi mahi and salmon on rod and reel.

That's right. Super-big family milestone today - our first salmon in 10 years, a female silver, still a couple months from spawning, caught by Elias on the high seas. When we left Alaska, Alisa and I were surprised by how much we missed the food. So it was a pure delight to dine on the freshest salmon dinner imaginable, cooked perfectly by A. Elias said it was the best dinner he'd ever had in his life.

Just after the boys were in bed I saw the first alcid of the trip - a rhinoceros auklet, I think, which flew by us twice. I told the boys I'd seen it, and then wished I hadn't, wished I'd let one of them have the joy.

And just now, at midnight Hawai'i time / 0200 Alaska time, I looked out from the cockpit to see that the fog has lifted and the sky is already getting light in the north and east. Summer in Alaska...there are very few things in this world that compare.

We expect to arrive tomorrow.
This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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  1. Impatiently awaiting your arrival!

  2. One day from arrival...Wow! I have been following your every posting since we met. I am 2 days from departure, with a replacement 4x4 for the old Isuzu and heading back up to Namibia, Botswana and beyond. Has been ever so nice to share in your adventures.

  3. I am a lurker, and have been for years! I will be so sorry to see the end of your sailing adventures, it has been a pure joy to follow you and your family on your odyssey.

  4. Congratulations on tying the knot. I think we are going to leave ours undone and hang around in the Atlantic for a while.