Vancouver Island to the Aleutians and Beyond - Part Ten
I had intended my next blog to be sent from Kodiak but, after being delayed in Sand Point by weather for a few days, I have decided to post this short interim blog.
Friday July 3rd
The weather changes overnight and today is very windy. Along the same dock is a traditional fishing boat with vertical stem called Seymour. The crew tell me she was built in 1913 - making her 102 years old! She is still a working boat. The dock is also shared by Orca and Santana as well as a Nordhavn 46 named Four Seasons and also Rose - a Hans Christian which is almost home having set off from Dutch Harbor on a circumnavigation thirteen years ago! Lets Go is moored on the next dock. She set off from South Carolina and called at the Shetlands and Iceland before heading this way with New Zealand her ultimate destination. In company like this we feel like tourists! In the morning I tour the town to take photos including the sea of daisies and other wild flowers that blanket the local cemetery which has many Russian crosses. During the afternoon the weather seriously deteriorates and strong winds are accompanied by driving rain. Our next guest, Steve D'Antonio, is due to arrive today but his flight is canceled due to the weather. We get kitted up in wet weather gear and tack into the wind to the Anchor Inn Lounge for hamburgers and BBQ chicken where we meet up with all the people from Orca and Santana and enjoy a very nice evening.
Saturday July 4th
The weather has calmed down with light rain and little wind but it is supposed to deteriorate again tomorrow. I miss the July 4th parade but walk over to one of the buildings to photograph the kids' bikes decorated for the parade. We hear that Steve's flight is coming in at 1805. Chris takes a taxi to the airport but the plane, after circling overhead, returns to Anchorage unable to land in Sand Point because of poor visibility. We walk up to the Chinese Restaurant where the lady who runs it tells us she has a father who is 102 years old. As we leave she gives each of a chocolate cookie as a gift.
Sunday July 5th
We awake to more rain and wind. We learn that Steve's flight, originally due to leave Anchorage at 0800 and then postponed to 0900, is ultimately delayed until 1730 tomorrow evening! Someone in town tells Christine they never recall having no flights for four days! By way of contrast, the captain of the fishing boat moored across from us tells us that he has never seen weather so calm in Shumigans as it was before this recent change in the weather.
In the afternoon, we are invited aboard Santana for refreshments and a tour of the boat which has been largely designed and built by Jan and Trees. The boat, which has sailed here from Holland by way of the Strait of Magellan and the South Seas, is an impressive achievement and a credit to her owners. Most of the fishing boats leave today for an opening at O600 tomorrow morning.
Monday July 6th
Another gloomy morning but with a slight improvement in the weather. These delays provide plenty of opportunity for reading and watching the eagles, enormous ravens, smartly turned out magpies and a variety of sea birds going about their daily routines. We go for lunch at local Harbor Café which is decorated with cautionary signs. See the photos for some samples. Less than one hour before Steve's plane is due to arrive, visibility is severely reduced by what in England we call "mizzle" - a combination of mist and drizzle - and we think that this will be another failed landing. But, magically, the murk clears and there is even a momentary trace of sunlight through a patch of blue sky. Two planes land after a hiatus of four days, Steve arrives and we will be on our way tomorrow. My next blog will really be from Kodiak in about two weeks time.