3.  Petersburg to Juneau to Anacortes

17 Aug 99

Just a short note to update you on my whereabouts – I sit in Anacortes, Wash. As we
speak.  The last time I wrote I left you in Petersburg, Alaska, a great, quaint town.  From
there we (crew #2: Bob Gardner and Tom Sramek, old sailing buddies) went to Tracy Arm
and anchored in the cove at its entrance.  The next day it was dodge-them-if-you-can or
bumper-boat-them-if–you-can't with the ice bergs, all the way to the South Sawyer glacier.  It
was fun at first, then challenging, and then a concern – I have Naiads (stabilizer fins) wung
out from the bottom of my boat and I very much wanted to return with as many fins as I
started out with.  (Yes, I know, don't use a preposition to end a sentence with.  What a dumb
rule to be stuck with.)  So anyway, we got really close to the face of the glacier, were
surrounded by icebergs, sort of, and immediately started waiting for the thing to clave.  We
waited a good long time but no calves.  So we retraced our steps and turned north once
again and ended up in Taku Harbor where we tied up to the government dock that night.  A
nice semi deserted snug harbor.

The next morning, I encountered one of the few locals digging for clams in the mud right
along side of the pier.  All she did was scrape the top of the mud about 2 or 3 inches deep,
with a shovel, and wa la (as my French friends like to say) there were clams, Cockles and
Butters I think.  It was so easy.  Muddy but easy.  The neat thing about the whole deal is
that she planted the clams there herself over 10 years ago!  Since then they have multiplied
like hard shelled bunnies.  She said there were boo coo (another Frenchie.  You can't say
that I am not educated.) clams after the first year,  All she did was to get a dozen clams from
the grocery store (uncooked work best) and sprinkled them around where she wanted
them.  Nature did the rest.

Then on to Juneau (strange spelling, no? (or maybe neau?))  Two weeks from Nanaimo to
Juno.  It would have been nicer to take a little longer, maybe 4 weeks.  Less time traveling
and more time visiting.  But the crew only had 2 weeks, so 2 weeks we took.  Never the
less, it was a great trip.  Fantastic really.  One not to be missed.  

So anyway, crew #3 arrived on the airplane from SFO at about noon and crew #2 then
boarded it for the return flight.  Crew #3 was Rocky Rockmore (Dr. Rocky) and Gerry Brown
(no relation to the mayor of SF or the mayor of Oakland or the commodore of CPYC).    
Essentially we retraced are steps from Juneau to Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver
Island.  Then we dallied in Desolation Sound since we were ahead of schedule, and
enjoyed the scenic wonders and sometimes rapid waters thereof.  Squirrel cove was
particularly nice.  We met up with John and Lois Watson and crew Ellie there and spent
some pleasant hours sipping spirits and swapping tales about the trip up from the Bay Area.  
After that it was back to Nanaimo and farewell to my true and loyal crew for a few weeks of
solitude before the next wave of crew arrive.  So here I sit waiting.  Just bouncing around
the Golf and San Juans, going from place to place, spending a few days here and a few
days there.  

Oh, before I forget, there is more to the iceberg story.  Crew #3 apparently read the guide
books a little more thoroughly then crew #2.  They found out that had we witnessed the
glacier calving, it might have sent out a wave as high as 25 feet.  Had that happened we
would have been ground to bits by all the icebergs around us.  Well maybe not bits but
surely the Naiads would have been severely banged about and probably broken.  I can just
picture the crew in the flybridge being flipped off into the icy water as the boat rolled from
side to side.  (Don't you hate it when you get flipped off?)

One other thing before I go.  While on the way back, 3 or 4 Orca surfaced to take a gulp of
air just about 2 boat lengths in front of us, I mean dead ahead, crossing our bow from port to
starboard (i.e., I had the right of way).  Here we were going along at 8 knots and all of a
sudden there were 3 monsters right in front of us.  Shortly after they disappeared, 2 or 3
more came up in the same location, i.e. I was still going 8 knots and they too came up 2 boat
lengths dead ahead, took a gulp of air and were gone again.  Well no sense slowing down
now; they were gone.  But not tail end Charlie.  One more Orca repeated the feat and came
up 2 boat lengths dead ahead, took his gulp of air and waved to the cameras.  (Who said
whales have no sense of humor?)  By this time we were all highly animated.  Instead of
gulping we were gasping and gushing.  I sure hope that Rocky got a good picture of one of
those events.

Well enough already.  There's chicken cacciatore to reheat and wine to finish.  That reminds
me, what Italian cooks have had to do with catching Tories has always eluded me.  Could
some erudite reader elucidate and illuminate the essence of this enigma?

'Till next time,

Tom Sramic
3. Alaska '99
Outside of Tracy Arm
Inside Tracy Arm
Crew 3, Gerry Brown and Rocky Rockmore:
Me and Rocky
Gerry Brown
Back to Tracy Arm
Some of Rockys Pictures:
Tail end Charlie
El Capitan
Ellie and Lois
Kimberly Ann in Squirrel Cove.