Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Cod Are In

Age-0 Pacific cod

My first thought: we should notify the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

Alisa and Elias and I were out at our study site out at Long Island, five miles from Kodiak City, just yesterday.

It was our shakedown trip for our summer sampling, our chance to get the mothership away from the dock and to put all of our new sampling gear through its paces.

We did a test set with the beach seine...and came up with hundreds of juvenile cod, just settled out from the ichthyoplankton.

Alisa, measuring fish on the beach
It felt like life, it felt like renewal, it felt like summer. It even felt like a breath of hope for this fishing town that has been a little short of good news lately.

And now that the cod are in, we're greenlighted to launch on our summer work.

Beach seine and barky
Not incidentally, we all loved being afloat again. The boys were touchingly happy to be sleeping in their bunks.

And I re-discovered that while the true peace of god begins at a thousand miles from sea, a truly good night's sleep begins on your own little ship in a snug anchorage.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Should Have Burned It

Into the dumpster, ignomiously.
We bought a new jib in South Africa. Raised it to the masthead and gave it a try, but then found to our horror that we somehow chafed a hole into the sun protection on the leech.

So the old jib came out of the forward head an saw us, with a few fairly major sewing sessions, all the way back home to Alaska.

This morning, in the midst of prep for our biology work on the boat, and irked at the idea of moving the new jib from one place to another as we re-organized down below, we once again bent the new sail.

This time we're committed. The old jib went into the dumpster.

We put 50,000 miles on the thing.

"Damn," Alisa said. "We should have burned the thing. Had a proper bier. Showed some respect, instead of just putting it in the dumpster."

Elias on the old jib, when it was down for repairs between Panama and Hawai'i.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Barky move

Our planned two months afloat are coming fast upon us. In less than a month, we plan to be ready to cast off.

Less seasoned salts might faint at the prospect of having Galactic ready to go, after she spent a listless winter at the dock and we spent a far-from-listless winter, doing everything except boat maintenance.

Well, in some of my less seasoned moments, I have come close to fainting at the idea of having everything ready. But then I reminded Alisa that the dang boat just sailed safely from Hawai'i, for crying out loud, so how could she not be ready for a little jaunt around Alaska?

And then, with the happy excuse in hand of a visit from our good friend Mary Anne from Tasmania and her new-to-us beau Stu, we executed our long-adivsed plan for anyone finding themselves overwhelmed by insurmountable problems of boat maintenance.

We went for a sail.

It was great. We had a cracker of a day, and all us Galactics felt some of the old magic of being under way. Stu, who is a sailmaker and a racer, kindly kept all opinions concerning sail trim to himself unless he was presented with a direct question.

So now, though the job list is just as long, it feels less weighty.

And, point of order - I did sweat to get a new set of injectors into the engine just before we went on this daysail. Worked a treat for the great billowing clouds of smoke that had previously attended any use of the donk.

Summer awaits.

Good sailing writing should make you do what?

Wet your pants with laughter, that's what.

At least, that was the reaction that both A. and I had when we read this reflection on a dream well lived, written by our good friend Melissa Beit.

Extra credit: explain why these kinds of shenanigans, in the company of children, are a fine idea.

If you can't, you're likely a Dock Queen, or a landlubber, or are simply cursed with more good sense than our favorite sorts of people seem to be.