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GSSR#21 - Grizzly Bears at Geographic Harbor 06/18/2009
Total Distance: 5,276 nm
Run so far: 1,981 nm
Nautical Miles to go: 3,295 nm
Tomorrow's goal: 98 nm


Greetings!

You may have noticed that the usual thermometer above has been replaced. That was an experiment for this particular blog entry. I don't know that I'll stick with this format. My first reaction, seeing the map was that we haven't come very far. It was partiicularly disappointing that Kodiak and our current location are indistinguishable. We are a hundred miles from Kodiak, up on the mainland, and that doesn't come through on the map.

While on the topic of Kodiak...

Kodiak is one of the 10 largest towns in Alaska, yet only has a population of around 6,500 people. Alaska is a huge state, twice the size of Texas, but not a lot of people live there; fewer than 700,000, half of which live in Anchorage.

Although Kodiak may not have a huge number of people, it is significant in some other ways....




Kodiak is home to the largest Coast Guard base in the world.




The port at Kodiak is home to over 700 commercial fishing vessels, and is consistently ranked as one of the top three commercial fishing ports in the US.







Our first two days in Kodiak were spent on various boat projects. We also did some shopping (Safeway, Walmart, and even a miniature Costco).

Finally, Roberta and I took a day just to drive aroiund Kodiak....



As we were leaving town, we observed these giant windmills. I have no idea how many of these are planned, or what percentage of the town's electricity they might produce, but they are building them quickly. They sprang up while we were in town, and are the largest I've ever seen.

We had been told that the road out of town ended in 42 miles at a hippy town. Alaskan hippies? That might be worth seeing.

On the way to the end of the road, we saw a sign that said "Kodiak Launch Complex". We had heard rumors in town that Kodiak island was home to a star wars missile defense project, and wondered how close we could get. Hippies or missiles? It was a tough decision, but the missiles won, primarily because we got a late start and the missiles were closer.



As we approached the Launch Complex, we started seeing signs promising a surfer beach. Alaskan surfers? That would be even better than hippies! This sidetracked us immediately. The beach, called Fossil Beach, was an incredibly beautiful black sand beach. We didn't see any surfers, but there were waves, and there were even families with towels stretched out on the beach. The water was ice cold, but we saw some kids playing in the water anyhow. Kids don't care.




A few miles further down the road we did indeed find the Missile  Launch Complex. There wasn't too much to see. My guess is that most of the facility is underground. Given the current activity in Korea I expected heavy security and serious activity, but all was calm.



How often can you take a picture of a buffalo, with an Alaska Missile Launch Station in the background?




All three boats enjoyed our time in Kodiak, and could have easily settled in for a longer stay. My sense was that if I'd suggested to Seabird and Grey Pearl that we wanted to stay another week, they would have considered it seriously, but we all know that we're on a tight schedule. We essentially have the month of July to scoot across the Bering Sea, after which the weather will worsen. When we have a "weather window" we must jump on it.

On maps Kodiak Island looks bigger than it really is. However, the top third of what appears to be Kodiak Island is really a series of smaller islands. To reach our next destination, Geographic Harbor, we needed to travel through these islands to get to the northern side. This would mean traversing Whale Passage, a narrow channel, with high currents. Bill Harrington, the commercial fisherman now on Sans Souci, said that this would be easy, and not to worry. He then pointed out a large commercial fishing boat, and said: "See that boat? It went on the rocks at Whale Passage." He followed this with a few other stories about boats having bad days when captured by the current. When we reached Whale Passage, pictured above, the currents were running 3.5 knots, but compared to some of the other passes we've run, it was anti-climactic. Other than a boost in speed we hardly noticed the current.




Our luck at Whale Passage was not really luck. We timed our departure so that the current would be running the right direction, and at a manageable speed. This meant a late, 1:30pm, departure, and didn't leave us time to arrive at Geographic Harbor in the daylight. Instead, all three boats dropped anchor in front of a long sand beach on the north side of Kodiak Island.



We anchored just past Last Timber Point. Bill explained that it was so named because it marked the furthest western point that there were trees! We will not see trees again until arrival in Russia. Past this point, all of the hills and mountains will be covered with the peach-fuzz green stuff that we see everywhere. No more trees? Perhaps we really have fallen off the edge of the earth...




There was already one boat at anchor when we arrived. Soon after we anchored, another boat tied to the first boat. The blue boat on the left, in the image above, is being used for "tendering". When commercial fishing boats are far from their home port, they want to catch all the fish they can, and not be limited to the number of fish that can fit in their hold. The blue boat collects fish from fishing boats, until it is full, and then tenders them back to Kodiak for processing. This allows the fisherman to stay fishing. The blue boat is surrounded by fenders so that other fishing boats can easily come and go. Fish are vacuumed from other boats onto the tendering vessel, and weighed as they are brought on board. I asked Bill if there were ever disputes as to how much fish was transferred to the tender, and he said that it had happened, but that generally the tenders are honest. He said that he runs a count as he brings fish on board, and always has a very good sense of how much fish he has.

The next morning, we crossed Shelikof Strait to reach Geographic Harbor, within Katmai National Park.



One of the reasons that we wanted to enter Geographic Harbor during the daylight is that there is a very narrow passage, which appears on the chart to be impassable. The entrance shows as obstructed by a large rock. Bill has been in before, and insisted we'd have no problem going through the passage, and that it is much larger than it appears on the chart. On the video below you can hear me making him promise that we'll make it through the narrow part of the entrance, without hitting the rock. In the pictures above, you can see that it really wasn't as narrow as on the chart, and that we had no problem whatsoever. I had sonar going, and never did find the rock in the entrance, although I have no doubt it is there.









As I mentioned in my last blog entry, it is a great place to see Grizzly bears. I'm typing this while at anchor, and it is raining. We've seen a fair number of Grizzlies on shore, and took the tender a couple of times to see them, but for the most part, the cold and rain, has limited our exploration. Also, we recently watched the documentary Grizzly Man, about Tim Treadwell and Amie Huguenot's tragic encounter with Grizzlies near here. It gave us a healthy dose of conservatism in dealing with Grizzly Bears. Viewing them from a greater distance than we did the black bears seemed like a really good idea.




Our day finished with a major, and delightful, surprise when another Nordhavn, an N40, called Samba, dropped anchor near us in Geographic Harbor. We couldn't believe our eyes. It was just a lucky encounter. Samba had heard that there were three Nordhavns headed to Japan, and was nearby. Above you see Samba's owners; Josh and Nastasha Tufield. They also cruised here from Seattle. Josh mentioned that they had cruised the south pacific in a sailboat before buying their Nordhavn. You can't see it in this photo, but on the floor beneath the dog is a large shot gun. No one goes ashore here without a shot gun.

Our next major destination is Dutch Harbor. We have 500 miles of mostly open Pacific to cross to get there, and the weather has turned against us. The forecast for tomorrow is for 25 knot winds and 10 foot seas, dropping to 7 foot seas in the evening. I fear that the days of gentle seas and sunshine may be behind us.

Lastly, we have TWO videos today.

The first video is footage from Bill Harrington. It was taken aboard his boat, the Miss Lori, and shows how they catch halibut. The process is interesting, and the video shows them capturing some LARGE halibut. I think you'll like it. The first few minutes of the video are kind of grainy, but it's all I had to work with. Stick with it for some bonus shark footage towards the end. Bill loves to answer questions about fishing, so if any of you have any questions, feel free to post them on the website at www.kensblog.com -- just look for this blog entry, and look for the words "post comment" towards the bottom of the page. Alternately, feel free to email questions to me, and I'll post them for you (ken @ kensblog.com). That said, it is easier on me if you just post them yourself.

If you don't see the video below, then try clicking this link: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqRsRNKR5PU



The second video shows our arrival in Geographic Harbor, including our first encounter with Grizzlies. It's worth watching, just to see us paddling the tender in water six inches deep, while trying to decide if we can outrun a Grizzly. For those of you who are boat-geeks, I shot some footage in the engine room. It isn't for everyone, but those who are excited by motors and pumps will find much to love.


If you don't see the video below, then try clicking this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_y4qTdsaUI



That's it for today. Thank you,

Ken Williams
N6805, Sans Souci
www.kensblog.com
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Ken,

I have been following every entry and photo of your Great Suchi Run with interest and a sense of anticipation of the next entry. You are all doing a quite heroic cruise and congratulations on the conception of the plan and all the prep and now the execution! WOW WOW!!

We saw your boat in Roche a couple of years ago...must have been shortly after you took delivery. Jeez, we just stood there mouths agape with a whole bunch of other folks. She is gorgeous.

We are owners of a CHB 34 (1978 version) and live in Bellingham,WA.. We cruise local, small and economically as that is the only way possible for us. We enjoy the refitting/maintenance on the boat as it is old and has many miles under its keel. Weekends with friends in a quiet anchorage is our best time. I grow bonsai...so the Japan aspect of hour voyage holds great fantasy for me. I shoot video (total amateur) so your blog is fascinating to view.

You are living the dream that many wish for but few can afford or dare to take on. I appreciate your photos and find them interesting and insightful.

May I very respectfully offer: your video may be more viewable if you get a tripod with fluid head. See link for a recommendation on a tripod:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/523163-REG/Manfrotto_by_Bogen_Imaging__BO055XB503HD_055XB_Pro_Tripod.html

You are on such a unique venture that sounds like it will continue for some years that it would be a a treat to improve your video so much with such a small purchase and have many later years to enjoy the great video. We recently cruised a canal in southern France and I did not have a tripod or a fluid head and regret it. When I got home and started to edit the digital video I realized I needed a way to stabilize and smooth the motion of the camera. Voila...a fluid head on a tripod. I got one and it has improved the quality of my video a lot.

May you all have an exciting and safe trip. I will be unabashedly gleeful/enthusiastic in following your trip.

Thank you,
Mike Sandiland
Bellingham, WA
by Mike Sandiland on Jun 21, 2009, 09:49 PM EST
In response to Sam, who asked about surrendering the bear hide to the authorities:
Any bear taken, legally by permit or under extenuating circumstances like ours, has to pass through the Fish & Game office in Kodiak for sealing tags and a bit of scientific evaluation. Our F&G is without doubt the best in the world and being in Alaska it draws the cream of the crop in various scientific fields. The bears are well managed. Bear hides and parts do have a certain value to some people. If you take one under extenuating circumstances without a permit you must salvage the hide, claws included, and the head and surrender it to the ADF&G. Having to kill one is a terrible waste but sometimes a necessary evil. The kill we are talking about was doubly wasteful as it was essentially another victim of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The reason we were in that area was that we were contracted by the cleanup company to retrieve dead wildlife off the beaches. Sea otters, seals and 10s of thousands of dead birds.
by Bill H. on Jun 21, 2009, 04:03 PM EST
Greg:

I'm sorry to hear about the Diesel Duck detained in Petropavlosk. Hopefully it will be a short detention. I spoke with a couple different boats who were detained. In both cases they were under boat arrest for about eight hours, then released, without problem.

I can see the situation from both sides. Petropavlosk is a military zone. Arriving there without giving proper notice, and having advance clearance, puts you at risk for detention. Both of the boats I spoke with put into Petropavlosk with no advance notification or clearance. They were hiding from weather. The russian's policy is to detain boats that enter their waters without approval until their identity and intent can be proven. The political situation with Russia has been heating up over the past few years. I would not want to be in a situation where I was detained there. I'm thinking of the reporters who were detained by the North Koreans. Being captured in a foreign country puts you at risk to becoming a pawn in bigger picture issues.

Hopefully, we are not at risk. We have been very careful to deal with the right people, pay the right fees, get the right clearances, etc. And, we will DEFINITELY make sure we give them PLENTY of notice before getting within 12 miles of their waters.

-Ken W
by Ken Williams on Jun 21, 2009, 01:22 PM EST
Chuck:

There are currently four people on Sans Souci...

Kirt Ahlquist - Kirt is professional crew, hired through Pacific Yacht Management in Seattle. Kirt's primary responsibility is cooking, although he also takes shifts at the helm, does engine room checks, helps with maintenance, washes the boat, dives, and more. Kirt is the hardest working guy on Sans Souci and fun to be around.

Bill Herrington - Bill is a commercial Alaska fisherman who is on board primarily to be the groups "expert" in the Aleutians. Bill has been everywhere we plan to go, and is here to provide local knowledge. He is also a fully qualified captain, and takes turns at the helm as well as helping with maintenance.

Roberta Williams - Roberta, my wife. Roberta has run 20,000+ miles and takes her turn at the helm.

Ken Williams - I'm "the captain" and do turns at the helm, and help with maintenance.

Jeff Sanson - Jeff isn't currently on the boat, but will be joining the boat in Dutch Harbor. Jeff has a 1600 ton captain's license, and is from Pacific Yacht Management in Seattle. Jeff will be taking turns at the helm, and assisting with maintenance.

Jeff, Bill and Kirt are all paid crew. Whereas technically, I am the captain, both Bill and Jeff have more sea time and stronger captain credentials than myself. Kirt has the sea time to have his captain's license and probably will get his license in the next year.

Arguably, Sans Souci has far more crew, and far more qualified crew, than is necessary. That said, we're in a part of the world where things can get ugly. All has been calm so far, and I want to ensure it stays that way. The Bering Sea can kick your butt if you don't show it the proper respect.

Ken W
by Ken Williams on Jun 21, 2009, 12:35 PM EST
Bill the U.S. Climate Prediction Center is predicting an El Nino is forming in the equatorial Pacific and i was curious to know how an El Nino effects your fishing in Alaska and is it true a Marlin was caught in Alaskan waters during the last big El Nino
by Unknown on Jun 21, 2009, 11:57 AM EST
Ken:
Please recap exactly how many people are on board and what are their functions/jobs?
by Chuck on Jun 21, 2009, 11:37 AM EST
just read about a guy in a 57 foot George Bueler designed boat that was detained by the Russian Navy in Petropavlovsk aparently you need to call 12 miles outside the harbor for permission to enter.
by Greg on Jun 21, 2009, 11:32 AM EST
To Ken, Roberta and the whole "wrong way gang".....Your GSSR is such an incredible journey and I really appreciate you all letting us Nordhavn Dreamers follow along. I would ask Ken if he would write a book, because he has an uncanny, interesting way of telling the tale....but then I realized he already have. I need to buy "Cruising an ocean under power" ! I do check in on Seabird and Grey Pearl's blogs for updates also. Tonight I watched my first episode of "The deadliest catch" , curious to see the ocean you are in right now. Quite invigorating.
I have also taken the time to read many of "Sans Souci"'s older blog entries, and found it particularly fun to read about your cruise in Europe. Beeing a Norwegian with family history in ocean fishing, the Atlantic is my stomping ground.
I hope you all stay safe, and look forward to reading more ! ---Frode---
by Frode Garborg on Jun 21, 2009, 03:40 AM EST
I'd definitely break the law and carry if I was in bear country...I was just curious about the legality.

Why did they take the head and claws? Are these things poachers sell?
by sam m on Jun 21, 2009, 01:06 AM EST
About the shotgun issue. Most, but not all, Alaskans will agree that it would be the height of stupidity to walk around in bear country without a means of protecting yourself. I would never want to shoot one myself and after 28 years of living here never have. Being an Alaska resident I could, if I wanted, take one every two years but they don't taste good. I do hunt other game every year with my wife though. We have not been at the meat counter in a store for more years than I can remember. All natural, home made, no preservatives works for us.
I know many people who have been attacked by bears. Sometimes the bear wins. My teeth and claws are not as big as theirs so I like to equalize the equation if possible. I have been involved in one bear attack though peripherally, when a bear attacked two of my crewmen while they were onshore working on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Fortunately they had my shotgun and dropped the bear less than 10 feet away while it was coming on flat out, ears down, hair up. I had to go up the hill and skin it out because they were a little too freaked out to go back. This happened to be in Katmai National Park. The bears don't read the Federal Register and some laws are just stupid. Of course we had to call the authorities and all because it was out of season. The State Police and Fish and Game flew out and interviewed everyone and said if we had not shot that bear we would have had a worse disaster. The legality of carrying a gun in Katmai National Park was never mentioned They confiscated the head and hide and flew back to Kodiak.
by Bill H on Jun 21, 2009, 01:00 AM EST
Another Nordhavn "Gray Pearl...2008 N55...spotting & photographed her in Anacortes today

http://alaskandave.smugmug.com/gallery/8627343_LRo53#569161576_6HJA5
by Dave.... on Jun 20, 2009, 10:34 PM EST
I hope this isn't annoying people! I think it's interesting to find out what legislation actually says. As Ron points out, the media can be wrong or misleading.

Ron,

I'm not 100% sure what you are saying I was factually incorrect about. This is what my research found...

The amendment offered by Senator Coburn concerned the following Federal Code:

"(3) Section 27.42 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, provides that, except in special circumstances, citizens of the United States may not ``possess, use, or transport firearms on national wildlife refuges'' of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service."

Mr. Coburn inserted the following language into the CREDIT CARD ACT of 2009:

"(b)[...] The Secretary of the Interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System if--

(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm; and

(2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located."

(source: S.AMDT.1067 Amends: H.R.627 , S.AMDT.1058 Sponsor: Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] (submitted 5/12/2009) (proposed 5/12/2009))


~Sam
by Sam m on Jun 20, 2009, 10:28 PM EST
As owner of the newest N40 in Europe, I am astonished and thrilled that a little 40 is up there with you! It makes you realise that, if you are careful and cautious, these boats can go virtually anywhere!

Keep safe, all of you.

Colin
by Colin Rae on Jun 20, 2009, 07:15 PM EST
This subject should not take up space on a blog devoted to boats, voyaging, and the occasional dog! However, if one consults the New York Times or the Washington Post, you usually get some semblance of the facts. An online synopsis of an NBC News report doesn’t cut it. From the anti-gun Washington Post (where my former neighbor and friend is Metro Editor):

National Parks Gun Law Takes Effect in February
A new law permitting concealed loaded firearms at National Parks will not take effect until February and the Interior Department will continue to enforce Reagan-era restrictions until then, a spokeswoman said today.
"Under the current regulation, firearms are generally prohibited, but citizens may transport unloaded and dismantled or cased firearms and carry firearms while participating in approved hunting programs and (N.B.) under certain other circumstances," Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said in a statement released minutes after President Obama signed the credit card holders' bill of rights, which includes an amendment allowing firearms at the nation's National Parks and wildlife refuges.

Know your sources for news. Since Ken and Roberta are news “junkies,” I guess that this is fair comment. Bill is a “certain other circumstance”.

Ron (NOT “Roger”)
by Ron "Trapper" Rogers on Jun 20, 2009, 07:12 PM EST
Ken...

You guys made the Alaska News...

http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/061909/sta_452506385.shtml
by Dave.... on Jun 20, 2009, 04:52 PM EST
Roger,

I don't mean to argue, but the article I read and cited below states: "The measure [...] allows licensed gun owners to bring firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are allowed by state law." It doesn't give special mention for conceal and carry from what I can tell, but I didn't look up the text in the Pub. L.

-sam
by Unknown on Jun 20, 2009, 02:51 AM EST
Ken,
I am very sorry to hear that Shelby isn't feeling well and has withdrawn to her spot. I assume that she has been in front of the ER door near the CG of the boat. Maybe you'll run across a vet who can prescribe a motion sickness pill for her. Most such pills put them to sleep, but at least she wouldn't be upset and anxious. Don't know how she would react to a basket. I do know that George's 83 pounds would fight it. Very hot here at 100F and I let George go for a swim followed by an exhausting, for me, bath. He doesn't like any attention except for rubs and kisses - only tolerates brushing. He was especially uncooperative today! He just will not turn around. What am I supposed to do - one side one day and the other the next? He's snoring next to me and almost dry.

I am not going to look up guns in parks because Bill knows what is accepted and customary where he lives and works. You cannot generalize about parks or brown bears and 400 pound halibut. I will correct one misimpression. Congressional focus was on the carry of concealed weapons (handguns) in national parks where the state otherwise permits concealed carry. This measure passed. Please send photo if Bill tries to conceal his shotgun in his pants.

George says that he's cool as long as daddy turns on the Naiads. For head seas, he sleeps unless spray is flying in which case he faces it and is paralyzed - only let that happen once - found him hiding in front of the windlass! Following seas bewilder both of us and after imploring me to explain what the heck is going on, he sleeps. George says hang in there Shelby and the CG is the place to be!
Ron & George the Golden
by Ron Rogers on Jun 20, 2009, 01:10 AM EST
All:

As several of you noticed, my Spot stopped transmitting earlier this morning.

The only reason was that I forgot to push the button to turn it on. It automatically shuts itself off every 24 hours.

I just turned it on, so that my position would be reflected correctly.

-Ken Williams
by Ken Williams on Jun 19, 2009, 08:35 PM EST
Hi Ken,

The answer to the gun question is a complicated one! Guns used to not be allowed. Then the Bush Admn early this year changed regulation to allow them in. Then I think Congress reversed Bush. Then the Republicans stuck a provision in the May credit card regulation bill allowing them in, provided they don't violate the law of the State in which the park is located. BUT, I don't think it has gone into effect yet (I'm not sure). See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30832809/

I know it would seem that Alaska would never ban a gun from anywhere, including an AK47 from a hospital, but Federal Law preempts State law, especially in a National Park.

So the bottom line is, if the recent law passed by Congress has gone into effect, it is legal to carry. If it hasn't, you might not be.

Sorry for the confusing explanation!



p.s. While Congress's action might seem reasonable (essential letting states decide), it complicates things. Many national parks are contiguous to multiple states. So you could be backpacking in the back country reach the state border and legally have to ditch your gun. Obviously this isn't very practical.

Personally, I would like to see guns only allowed if they are essential to safety in the park.
by Sam M on Jun 19, 2009, 07:36 PM EST
Hi Ken,
Your Spot system seemed to work great until you were just off of Perryville about 0730hrs this morning. Are your batteries dead or is it not seeing the satellite? Seabirds Spot is working fine.
by Dave on Jun 19, 2009, 07:06 PM EST
Greetings all.

The GSSR team is currently on the move. We had planned to make a 12 hour run to an anchorage, called Agrippina, but the seas were calm, so we decided to just keep going. We’re now about 30 hours into our 36 hour run, which will get us to Sand Point Alaska sometime this afternoon. Once at Sand Point, we’re likely to be stuck for several days, while we wait for the weather to improve. The seas are projected to be 25 knots SW (which would be directly against us) with 10 foot waves.

Rather than answer everyone’s postings individually, this is a bulk response to everything posted yesterday.

John asked whether or not the GSSR boats have AIS. The answer is: Yes! All of us have AIS, and use it to track each other. Generally though, AIS is fairly short range (under 20 miles). There’s no other boats within 20 miles to see our signal. The best way to know where we are is to check my SPOT page (look at the press page) or Seabird’s spot page (on their website).

Andy mentioned using a hanging basket to help dogs avoid seasickness. This might work – I don’t know. I do think Shelby is seasick. She is doing nothing but lying in one spot, and looks depressed. We’ll be to port this afternoon, and I think she’ll cheer up immediately.

James asked about the video cameras on the boat, and whether or not they can be used to record. There are eight cameras on the boat, each individually controllable from the pilot house (pan/tilt/zoom). They go into a video mixer that has a built-in 320 gigabyte hard drive. I have tons of options for recording, including the ability to record based on motion within a particular segment of the image on any particular camera. I can also set motion sensitive alarms. This said, the only feature I regularly use on the cameras is to monitor the engine room while underway, and the tender, when towed. Everything else requires reading the manual, and I’m lazy.

An “unknown” person had a very interesting question about the use of guns within national parks. Specifically, they saw our video with the shotgun in the tender, and believe guns are forbidden in Katmai National Park (and, Glacier Bay National Park). I asked Bill, and he responded “Bulls..t”. I do absolutely believe that hunting is forbidden within the national parks, but having a gun for self defense, while on shore, is probably not forbidden. This is Alaska, and guns seem to be part of the culture. In any event, this is one of those cases where it is better to “ask forgiveness, rather than permission.” The gun will not be fired unless there is a direct attack by a Grizzly. If it becomes a matter of life or death, then a decision will need to be made, and the Grizzly will lose. If it results in a fine by the park service, I’d rather be alive to pay it. Perhaps, someone can google, or call the park service, to ask whether or not guns are permitted. You’ve got me curious. I can’t imagine guns being banned anywhere in Alaska.

Donna Wilson (Hi Donna!) asked whether or not we’ll be visiting and photographing Adak. Absolutely!!! It will be a highpoint, or a lowpoint, of the trip. My understanding is that the evacuated town and fallen into disrepair. It’s a ghost town, and falling apart. I expect I’ll be posting some very strange pictures from Adak.

Shaun asked questions about the “culture” on Sans Souci, and asked for more information on Shelby, our dog. Sans Souci’s culture is interesting, to say the least, for a variety of reasons. We have multiple captains on board, which means big egos bouncing off each other. Jeff, who joins the boat in Dutch Harbor, has his captain’s license, as does Bill, and so do I. Roberta runs the boat as much as I do, and also has strong opinions. Officially, I’m in charge, which has been working well, because my style has always been to surround myself with smart people, and then listen to them. There’s also a culture clash between the recreational cruising culture, and the fishing culture. I’ll probably comment more on this in the next blog. None of it is bad, and everyone is having fun, but that’s because everyone is bending over backward to make this a fun trip. I always say that it is a bit of an experiment to take strangers and lock them in a 68’ x 21’ box for two months. As to Shelby, she’s not doing well … still seasick. We’ll be on land in a few hours, and she’ll be happy.

Weldon told me about a trawler heading our way from Japan. It would be fun to talk to them. We’ll be in Dutch Harbor until about July 6. Given their location I doubt we’ll overlap…

That’s it for now…

Thank you all!

-Ken W
by Ken Williams on Jun 19, 2009, 02:44 PM EST
Enjoyed the engine room video. Very nice.
by Fred K on Jun 19, 2009, 01:44 PM EST
ken do any of your group have an A I S on board
by john on Jun 18, 2009, 11:06 PM EST
Re Shelby
I thought about hanging a pet basket low below the dining table where she could hop in if there's too much roll.
Andy B.
by Unknown on Jun 18, 2009, 09:54 PM EST
Ahoy there Mateys…
Thanks for taking us all along on your fantastic voyage...it has a way of taking the edge off "The Grind" for most of us, and puts smiles on our faces and in our hearts!

I enjoyed the Engine room and Lazarett video tour. It almost reminded me of “A place for everything and everything in its place”!

Ken, (Technical Alert), I was curious if you have the ability to program one or all of your onboard cams to record and download, either to a server, or your mainframe, sorry I meant dedicated storage device, or are they just real time? I was wondering for security purposes when perhaps You and Roberta and guests are off-ship and will take the dingy to town for a day or so sightseeing and would like to know if anybody gets, lets say “Nosey”, and you want proof before the Keelhaul festivities begin?

Smooth sailing and stay safe,
James
P.S. Like the new distance chart…it adds a little something to the scale of where you’ve been and where you’re going!
by James on Jun 18, 2009, 06:04 PM EST
One thing that did surprise me was everyone carrying shotguns at Geographic Harbor, which is inside Katmai National Park. The rules for Katmai and Glacier Bay clearly prohibit firearms of any kind.
by Unknown on Jun 18, 2009, 05:55 PM EST
Hi Ken,
I am enjoying your reports. I see that you are getting close to Adak and hope that you will be stopping to take pictures. I lived on the island for 2 years in the late 60's when it was a Navy base and have lots of memories. We had a sizable community of military families, housing, one commissary, air strip and a pier. All our food was sent by barge from Seattle every two weeks, then we would occasionally get extras from the Air Force. It would be great if you will post some pictures so I can see what it looks like now.
Donna Wilson
by Donna Wilson on Jun 18, 2009, 05:25 PM EST
Sorry! That last post related to something said much earlier in the comments section, I didn't realise so many other people had commented as well since I last saw it. My comment seems very out of context now lol.
by Shaun on Jun 18, 2009, 05:11 PM EST
I agree, whoever is in charge in any company or workplace of any kind should make sure that staff are properly assigned to meet operational needs. That's the Captain's job, or the foreman's job, or the manager's job, in any work environment people have to be supervised.

Sorry, going off on a tangent, I'm doing a course on 'Sociology of the Workplace' for my Sociology class in uni, so it's always exciting when you see people talking about something that you can actually relate to what you're learning lol.

Thanks for the blog, Ken! It's fantastic, such a great escape. By the way, can you tell us more stories about Shelby? She's so cute.

S
by Shaun on Jun 18, 2009, 05:08 PM EST
Ken,

I am enjoying the photography that you are posting - some really nice stuff. I was wondering who is taking the pictures of all three boats and the high angle picture of Sans Souci on your last post. I'll be interested to see if you stop at Shemya, or at least see it in the distance. I know people in the Air Force who spent time there in the 80's. On the engine room tour (I'm one of the interested ones), you mentioned the stabilizers. I know that they do malfunction and occasionally break or freeze up. I seem to recall you had flopper stoppers on the old Sans Souci, it doesn't look like you have them now. Any back-up?
by John Dignan on Jun 18, 2009, 04:55 PM EST
Ken,

I do not know if you are aware of a Diesel Duck cruiser heading your way. His position is 250 miles SW of Kushiro where they will stop, rest and refuel then head strait to Dutch Harbor, AK. His website is http://www.sailblogs.com/member/sempergumbi/?xjMsgID=92111

Enjoy your trip and thanks for the updates
by Weldon on Jun 18, 2009, 04:44 PM EST
Ken...

The real defense missile program is located at Fort Greely up near Fairbanks Alaska.

These are the ones we're gonna use to intercept the ones that wacko in North Korea will be sending our way any day now....passing right over the GSSR

http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories/060509/loc_img2_001.shtml
by Dave.... on Jun 18, 2009, 02:55 PM EST
Robert:

Thank you for the link. My guess is that the rumors were wrong, and that Kodiak is strictly a civilian site. If it were really a missile defence site, I would have seen much tighter security. One way or the other, it was still a pretty cool place to visit.

-Ken W
by Ken Williams on Jun 18, 2009, 11:29 AM EST
Just a quick note on the Kodiak Launch Site, I believe it is or originally was developed as a site for launching commercial satellites. I had a friend whose company oversaw the construction and does some support for the commercial launches. Its role may have changed in recent years but here is some more info:

http://www.akaerospace.com/services.html
by Robert on Jun 18, 2009, 11:18 AM EST
A bit off topic however: Capt Andy's attitude regarding the missed weights begs the issue of who is in charge and leads to "it ain't my fault." He was the Captain at the time and it was and remains his sole responsibility to assign crew to the duty. His anger at the crew was totally misdirected. The Captain is the Captain and whatever happens on his watch is his responsibility.
by Don on Jun 18, 2009, 09:01 AM EST
Ken:

Funny that you should mention disputes over weights when offloading a catch. Last night on Deadliest Catch the Time Bandit crew slept through the weigh-in and apparent two nets full of crab got off the boat without showing up on the manifest. Captain Andy was pretty ticked off.

Your shots of those standing grizzly are interesting. They look almost human in that attitude; you can pretty easily see how a bear might "become" a Sasquatch when viewed at a distance.

Be well,

/afb
by Adam on Jun 18, 2009, 04:21 AM EST