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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hey everyone, the final update is that the boat is staying the winter in Homer, AK. I was able to catch a flight out on the morning of the 25th and I got home yesterday, the 26th. It was a long trip, with lots of good memories. Unfortunately due to the weather we couldn't make it all the way to Vancouver through the inland passage but Homer seems like a really nice small Alaskan town with good facilities so it should work well for Nordwind. Other than that, thanks for following me on my trip!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

On to Homer

The Seward harbor master determined that Nordwind was too nice and too expensive to take responsibility for protecting it all winter. Then, every other port we talked to said the same thing. As of yesterday afternoon we were going to make for Sitka (across the Gulf of Alaska), either leaving this morning, or waiting another week in Kodiak for more bad weather to pass. Then late yesterday we got word from Homer, that there might be a possibility for wintering over there (much closer). We are about to leave for Homer and evaluate the facilities for wintering.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Updates: I posted more photos which can be seen here: The other latest update is that we are not leaving Kodiak in a hurry anymore I guess because of the flooding thats happening in Seward and the terrible weather in general so we're here until around Wednesday. But Alex did talk to the Seward harbormaster and apparently they can haul us out and they are sending Alex the forms to fill out now so if all goes well the end of our trip is 170 miles away. ALSO Rob caught a ride back on a boat with the crew of Time Bandit from the Deadliest Catch and they said we were absolutely crazy doing what we are doing!

Through Hell and High Water

So after 4 days here in Kodiak (the longest I’ve been in one place since being home) we found out yesterday that after all the harbor master’s bs-ing they actually don’t have a spot for us to keep the boat for the winter. That means like it or not we have to push on. The plan is to leave early tomorrow morning (Saturday) and probably make for Seward, or may go for Yakutat Bay. Seward is the next potential port where we could haul out and keep the boat for the winter. They have a large storage yard good marina facilities and there is bus service to Anchorage. Unfortunately they are undergoing some flood problems right now so we haven’t been able to get in touch with the harbor master. If we don’t stop there and go for Yakutat, we’ll be playing with fire so to speak but in reality wind and water because we have a little less than a 48 hr window of clear weather in between ugly looking low pressure systems and Yakutat is about 2 and a half days away… If you go to and click through the map to get to the Gulf of Alaska you can see what we’re dealing with up here. The litte arrows on the map are the wind speed, each little barb is 10 kts, and the color is also related to wind speed. At this point, especially after spending 4 and now 5 days here in Kodiak, we’re all pretty tired and are struggling to get back in to sailing mode. Once you stop somewhere, let yourself relax, and start thinking about ending the trip and going home it’s really tough to shake it off and go again. Kodiak has been cool and really fun but unfortunately we have no choice and tomorrow we dive in to the 20 ft seas and hopefully mild 20-25 kt instead of 40-45 kt winds of the Gulf of Alaska as we try to push on and find a place for Nordwind to call home for the winter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Catching up in Kodiak

Heyyy everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting anything recently, we've been busy moving around a lot and I got back into cell phone range and got caught up calling people instead of blogging. Anyways, we are now in Kodiak on Kodiak Island. We spent the 15th in Geographic Harbor which was spectacularly beautiful even if it did rain all day...We saw lots of bears walking the beaches and feeding on salmon in the rivers. There were also lots of seals and eagles and other exciting things all nestled into lots of little waterfall filled coves amongst 3-7,000 ft peaks. We met a fisherman named Justin who was stationed there working for a lodge. He was spending 9-12 days living alone on a little fishing boat and the company would radio him at 7am every day telling him whether they were going to be flying in clients that day to go halibut fishing. If the weather was bad they didn't come and he had the day to himself. Needless to say he was pretty excited when we showed up around 9am and anchored next to him. That night the wind picked up and in what is becoming Nordwind fashion, our anchor started to drag. Around 3am we all woke up and after dragging in a few more gusts down off the mountains we pulled anchor and motored in circles around the bay until daylight when we could make it out of the narrow canals, since ya know our radar doesn't work and what not. We then set out across the Shelikof Strait between the Peninsula and Kodiak. It was a beautiful sunny and 40. That being sunny and blowing 40kts. There were steep 15+ foot seas and 30-40kts as we set out on a beam reach motor sailing across. It was another wet and wild ride but at least it was sunny which made for some fun driving. We made it across and into the islands off of Kodiak where we encountered a 6kt current in one strait propelling us along at 12-13kts over ground and there were sea otters everywhere just floating along on their backs alongside us! It was very cool. We pulled in to Kodiak around 5 o'clock local time and got a spot alongside the dock amongst all the fishing boats. Yesterday I spent the whole day walking around, I went all through town and then a couple miles out of town to Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park and hiked around there for a few hours. My legs are killing me. Franco and I were joking today about how the most hiking we've done is from our cabin to the doghouse, and then maybe the long trek from the doghouse to the bow...Anyways Abercrombie was very cool and very beautiful. It was a navy base in WWII as a part of the Aelutian campaign, which honestly I didn't even know existed. Apparently Dutch Harbor got bombed by the Japanese? I should probably learn a little more history. Now the park is all forest and lots and lots of rasberry bushes. Actually most of the island is lots of rasberry bushes and it's peak season right's been a delicious few days. On to the more important matters at hand, there is an increasingly good chance that this may be the end of our trip. We have been looking at the weather for crossing the Gulf of Alaska and to say that it's bad would be an understatement. It's terrifying. 30-40kts with 50-60 predicted in some places and 20ft seas for the next week with maybe 1 day inbetween low pressure systems that are stacked up across the Pacific. This weather, on top of the increasing list of repairs necessary for Nordwind, is giving Alex more and more reason to look at leaving the boat here for the winter. There are facilities here for most of the repairs we need; all of which could be started on now instead of in 3 weeks. We also don't have a good anchor and chain that would allow us to weather out these storms in a random bay if we do continue on. Plus, Hans' plan for next summer is to cruise Alaska, and what better place to start from than Kodiak? We are hoping to get some more weather information tonight or tomorrow, and tomorrow morning we also confirm if there will definitely be a slip for the boat for the winter. So for now we are on hold. While it would be a bummer to miss the inland passage and Alaska panhandle down to Vancouver, I think we are all pretty exhausted at this point and floating around the idea of just stopping here is pretty appealing to all of us.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Unimak, Nagai, Alaska Peninsula

So to catch everyone up to speed, we spent a couple of days in Dutch Harbor for some much needed R&R which basically just entailed some time on land being real people after 2 weeks straight cooped up in boat. The agent lady who I talked (complained) a little bit about in one of my last posts gave us her Chevy Silverado pickup while we were there, for which I immediately asserted myself as primary driver. It was so nice just being able to drive around, even if there were only about 3 roads, after spending 2 months sailing. All in all Dutch Harbor was great. From the stunning beauty of the island itself which I described in the last post, to the wildlife of bald and golden eagles and the massive salmon run going up the river right through the center of town. It was also great for me to be back in America. There is something very comforting about driving a big gas guzzling pickup truck and knowing what to expect when you walk into a big American grocery store after shopping in mom and pop type shops for the entire trip. Anyway we are now a few days back on our way and we expect to be in Geographic Harbor on the Alaskan Peninsula across from Kodiak on the morning of the 15th. We've had smooth fast sailing so far from Dutch with good wind from behind we've been doing around 8 kts with only a few light patches to motor through. Since this trip is anything but uneventful, the latest development for yacht Nordwind is that our radar isn't really working. And by not really working I mean it doesn't see the massive 5,000 ft. mountains rising out of the water 5 miles away from us let alone little things like 300m cargo boats. We're working on it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but hopefully either we can fix it or someone in Kodiak can. Hopefully my next post will be of some beary merry tales of bears slapping salmon out of the air as we watch them fish straight out of National Geographic! From a very safe distance of course…Also the AIS tracker on should be working now that we´re back near civilization, there is a link to it on the left hand side of the blog!

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Photos up!