The Bering Sea

Captains’ Log: Stardate 14072018 Day 29,
Alaska journey

Current Position. 53 40N. 168 47W
We are doing well, getting lots of sleep and finally able to cook and eat. John was the mainstay of this leg as I battled motion sickness.

The cold sea is fairly calm at the moment, a nice relief from the rolling and pitching while cooking or standing to chart our position. With very little wind the sea suddenly becomes turbulent, chasing us with white cappped 2-3?meter waves on long swells about 7 seconds apart lasting several hours. Peering out through the cabin hatch I can see only walls of dark gray water looming closely at the stern. A few caught us by surprise sending clear water through the lifelines.
The cockpit is a salty mess each time we step out to look around. John does most of the work outside as it’s very slippery and he has a hard time maintaining his foothold. I am easily thrown about so I stay just inside the companionway waiting for instructions.

The Bering sea, another adventurous dream fulfilled. Far off, 709 miles to the North we are just abeam “The Big Diomede island”. It’s Russian territory sitting almost equally between Alaska an Russia. 20 miles to the Alaskan border and 23 miles to the Russian border. Pretty cool.
We thought we’d see some Russian fishing fleet on radar or the AIS but we encountered only one Alaskan fishing boat thus far. Miles of gray ocean and light gray sky beyond our visual scope in all directions seem so surreal at times. Like we are the only two people left on the planet. No radio chatter, not even static noises.

We are motor sailing and approaching the northwest corner of Umnak Island. We have only to round Umnak and Dautch Harbor, Unalaska will be within 15 hours.
We hope to arrive by early morning to catch a slack current. The opposing current runs at about 2.5 knots against us later in the day. At least the forecast is for North wind and very light so our headway into the dock area shouldn’t be hampered. A new place, new surroundings, reuniting with our cruising buddies.

We will post again as we turn the corner!

Adak Winds

Day 28 of Sailing Alaska

Pos 52 48N. 172 30We departed Adak harbor at 06:15 in good conditions with full sails. We anticipated stronger wind once out from the protection of the island so we’re prepared for a brisk 400 mile sail to Unalaska.
Our noon to noon run was 133 nm in 20 knots with steep waves in short periods. As the wind increased we dipped our cap rails into the water, forcing us to slow down and reef our the sails. We surged down some of waves with a skidding effect that sent my stomach lunging upwards. Bring on the seasick tablets.

The wind has abated some leaving us with northwest sloppy seas from the Bering sea and light wind from the Southwest. Bad combination for sailing downwind or even quartering off the beam. So we’re motorsailing til the wind picks up and the sea conditions stabilize. We have 230 miles to go.

We bought Adak sweatshirts with the words “Adak, Alaska Birth place of the Winds” they aren’t kidding.
The picture was taken when we arrived in Adak. The south wind was gusting over 50 knots around Mt. Moffet, elevation only 2800 feet but the affect of the williwaws were very apparent. Notice the boomerang shaped cloud. We sailed under that with reefed sails and heeled so far over we that we had to keep our hands on the sheets/ropes to release the wind from the sails to right Konami. The clearing in the center of the boomerang was windless leaving us bobbing on the choppy sea. It was a kickass ride!

Wind has picked up, I can hear the waves rushing under us now. Time to pay attention to the them, surfing and skidding isn’t good for our appetites.

Into the Mystic

Good bye, Adak, it was a real vacation. We spent 13 days on Adak living almost carefree at anchor and tied to the tall fishing dock. The local residents were very generous with rides, some fresh food, shower and laundry facilities in their homes and gave us a few large chunks of fresh halibut. We had a grand tour of the old Navy facilities, toured the dark, mold ridden underground bunkers, and were driven around the island getting a current status on the massive clean up job of the Navy responsibility. Our tax payers dollars to the tune of $12-15 Million dollars a year since 1995 are being spent on ordnance removal, and diesel tanks – millions of gallons buried in leaking underground storage tanks. Most of it from the 1980’s fear of war with Russia.
Beyond the ghost town/city that could be used for a setting of “The Walking Dead” complete with city blocks of abandoned duplexes, vehicles, fire trucks and bulldozers the 60 or so annual residents and 300 transient fish plant employees the rugged and wild terrain is magnificent!
Sea otters, seals and bald eagles were plentiful indicating a healthy coastline. We hiked in The waist deep tundra, lupine covered hillsides and black sand beaches.
We enjoyed spending fun time with our cruising buddies, Arpatas-French couple and Tara-Netherlands couple.

So now we’ve all departed, bound for Unalaska- Dutch Harbor where we hope to reunite with our Australian friends on Dione.
We will post our passage notes as we sail the 400 miles, hopefully 3 days in a brisk wind.

Send us good thoughts on the South wind!

moving on after the blow

We departed Bay of Islands this morning after spending 1 great day in beautiful tundra and mountains with lake, caribou, bald eagles flying overhead; and 2 nights sitting out 27 kts of wind in the small cove with 2 other boats. Gusting winds howled down off the mountains as we all sat in our doorways watching to make sure we weren’t dragging anchor. Trapper’s cove is a small sunken crater with just enough room for 3 boats snuggly anchored in close proximity to one another. All was very good, we enjoyed a traditional Japanese “hot pot” dinner aboard Konami, the first since leaving Japan for all. A very nice celebration to have us 3 boats back together once again.
We are bound for Sweepers Cove, 38 miles around other side of Adak. There is a 4th July celebration at the boat harbor, burgers and maybe fries- john’s favorite. We heard that there will be fireworks too but being it’s still daylight at midnight not sure what we will see.?We’re not sure how long we’ll be in port, there is another big blow coming by The end of the week. Watch for us on the Iridium Go tracker.