GSSR#24 – Arrival in Dutch Harbor

Total Distance: 5,276 nm
Run so far: 2,510 nm
Nautical Miles to go: 2,766 nm
Tomorrow’s goal: 0 nm

Greetings all!

Our final run to Dutch Harbor was mostly calm, but not all. The middle third of the run, about eight hours worth, was on lumpy, confused seas.

I don’t know how to quantify the height of waves. My guess is that they were in the five to ten foot range, but very close together. There really wasn’t much wind. Most of the time we had anywhere between ten knots and fifteen knots, with a brief interval around twenty. This said, it was not a comfortable ride. Because our noses were directly into the seas, the boats pitched up and down. Walking around the boat was difficult.

I can only think of one short story to tell from the trip…

As we were getting beat up the worst, Steven (Seabird), Braun (Grey Pearl) and I were on the radio talking about strategies for avoiding the waves. We discussed whether we should run closer to shore, zig- zag through the water to avoid having our noses directly into the waves, continue past the Unimak Pass to another pass that might keep us in protected waters longer, etc.

About fifteen minutes into our chat, Bill came up the stairs, and asked for the microphone. He seemed a might miffed. With his fisherman-gruff voice, he reminded us that we were now in the Bering Sea, and that this was about as good as it gets, and that we should quit talking, relax, and just focus on getting to Dutch Harbor. I suspect he was holding back, and that what he really wanted to do was call us a bunch of wussies — or worse.

I could see both sides. Bill’s perspective was that we should just recognize that we’re going to have a rough ride from time to time, and that what we were seeing was not all that bad. From our perspective, we’re doing this for fun, and we’re not in a particular hurry. If a detour makes for a smoother ride, I’ll take the detour. It’s not a race.

One way or the other, Bill’s argument prevailed, and we just kept punching into the seas, which eventually calmed down to a very manageable level.

One other note from the trip…

For most of our trip, we haven’t really had to think about other boats. It has just been “us against the sea.” By the word “us” I was just referring to the three GSSR boats, but on this particular journey, it has a much more inclusive definition.

As we began the last eighty mile run to Dutch Harbor, we started seeing other boats. And, I should explain a little, so that this makes sense, but they were almost all AIS targets. AIS is a technology that does two things: 1) It tells other boats where you are going, and 2) It allows you to see where other boats are going. This is an important safety tool. If two boats know where each other are, and where they are headed, the odds are that they will not bump into each other. All large boats are required to have AIS. Smaller boats may have AIS, but generally do not.

Personally, I had always assumed that all boats would want to have AIS, but then I noticed that most fishing boats do not have it. I asked Bill why, and his answer was that he really doesn’t want anyone else knowing where he is headed. Fishermen work for a lifetime to find the good fishing holes. Why would they want to go out of their way to alert others to their “special spots” for catching fish? It’s, in effect, the equity in their business. After a number of years, they know where to go to succeed, whereas rookies have to build their own list of fishing spots.

During our run, we did pass fishermen, but they appeared only on radar, and it was obvious they were focused on a particular location. They were at work, they weren’t trying to get someplace, as we were.

As we approached Dutch Harbor, we were suddenly surrounded by AIS targets. These were larger ships, for the most part freighters or tugs, either coming or going from Dutch Harbor.

One would think that dodging a freighter is easy, and they would be right. It is easy to stay out of the path of a freighter, if you pay attention. However, if you aren’t paying attention, and you aren’t studying your AIS and your radar, then you can have a serious problem. Freighters always seem to move faster than you think, and tugs, oft-times are pulling barges. More than one cruiser has been suckered into trying to pass between a tug, and the barge it is pulling, often with fatal results.

Throughout the final eighty miles of our run, at the same time as we were enjoying the nautical version of “rock and roll,” we were constantly monitoring, and interacting with, a variety of larger vessels.

I’m not talking a large number of vessels. Usually, we had no more than three to five non-GSSR vessels that we were tracking at any point in time. Some of these vessels were headed our direction, and some against us, but all had the potential to be a problem if proper respect was not paid. This meant analyzing each of the vessels and deciding if it was a collision threat or not. In many cases, it meant speaking with the helmsman of the other vessel to understand their longer-term goals, so that our motion through the seas could be coordinated.

With that overly long prefix, I can now relay the story of one particular vessel. I’ve unfortunately forgotten its name, so I’ll call it, ‘Blue Ray,’ which is close. At about 8pm last night, Blue Ray and the GSSR group were on a collision path, seven miles apart, but clearly headed towards each other.  With us headed towards Blue Ray, at 8 knots, and him headed towards us at 8 knots, we would be closing the gap in about twenty minutes. Were it just a one on one situation, the protocol might be simple. We would just line up for a ‘port to port’ passing. Meaning, I would steer such that he went by on my left hand side.

However, this was not an ordinary situation. AIS not only says where a boat is going, but also gives some extra information about what the vessel is doing. In this case, I noticed that Blue Ray was listed as ‘Restricted in Maneuverability.’ This is a special designation for boats which cannot maneuver for some reason. Usually, it means that the boat is doing some special underwater exercise, such as laying cable. In other words, we had better prepare to move, at a moment’s notice, because it wasn’t going to get out of our way.

In situations where there is any ambiguity, the simple solution is to speak to the other boat. Thus, I called Blue Ray, and said, “Greetings Blue Ray. This is the vessel Sans Souci. We are traveling as a fleet with two other boats, and are directly in front of you. How should we arrange passing?” I expected a simple answer, but was somewhat surprised by what I heard. “Greetings Sans Souci. You have asked a difficult question. We are mapping the bottom, and must follow the bottom. By the time you get to us we may have turned around completely, or we might be on the same course. We have no idea. Let’s wait until we are closer, and we’ll do what we can to avoid each other.” This was an unusual request, but an understandable one.

And, all worked out fine. Our group slid to starboard, and he slid to our port. I was slightly ahead of Grey Pearl  and Seabird. We were just kibitzing on the radio about the lights on top of Blue Ray, and how to interpret them, when he suddenly whipped a U-turn and headed the same direction as our group.

The Blue Ray incident isn’t too exciting, until you remember that we were doing this in real time, while also dealing with seas that were competing for our attention, other freighter traffic, some of which wanted to inhabit the same water we were floating on, and a minority of other boats, who didn’t have AIS, leaving to speculation their intentions.

Boating at eight or nine knots only seems boring to people standing on land.

Dutch Harbor is not a port like any I’ve ever been into. Instead of one big marina holding hundreds of boats, there are many small docks scattered around. This is a place boats come to drop, or pickup, fish. It is a working port. If you are here, you have a purpose for being here, and it is expected that you’ll do what you are here to do, and then get out of town. It is not a place that caters to recreational cruisers.

There aren’t really facilities or a marina as we think of them. The port found a place for us, but it is on a float, miles from town, with a bunch of other fishing boats.

And they were only able to accept us if we were willing to raft together. Here you see Sans Souci tied to the dock, while Grey Pearl and Seabird are tied to us.

After sleeping late, to recover from our overnight ride, we spent the afternoon trying to connect to shore power. Attachment meant buying a $400 shore power adapter, and paying $120 an hour for an electrician. The only power here is 60 amp service three-phase. The 50 amp power we see at home is unheard of here. After some serious negotiation, we were able to rent the shore power adapters, and work out the wiring ourselves.

Tomorrow, our plan is to do some sightseeing and visit the town.

On Friday, Roberta, Shelby and I will fly to Seattle for a week, and then return to Sans Souci, and Dutch Harbor, on July 5th. If all goes well, we’ll continue our way west across the Aleutians on July 6th.

I don’t really have  a sense of the town yet. I’ll try to take a bunch of pictures tomorrow, and post them when we get back to Seattle.

Thank you all!

Ken Williams

N6805, Sans Souci

41 Responses

  1. thanks Ken, your graciousness is appreciated. my misstep was disrespect towards an experienced, accomplished at sea Captain, Bill. while at the time my perspective was, that you weren’t DOING anything to jepordize vessel or crew, but merely wishing out loud the going was smoother. in that context, i saw nothing that should have earned you the reaction i perceived you got.

    after reading Captain Bills response i realised a couple of things, the scene did not develop as i perceived, and how demeaning and offensive my portrayal of Captain Bill as “the help” would be to him. any at sea captain is deserving of respect, and one with Captain Bill’s level of accomplishment even more so.

    as a final thought, while i am glad you are willing to allow such latitude in blog commentary, and my cyber “beat-down” provided you with some moments of entertainment (which makes it all worthwhile)i believe in the future, i believe i will engage more finely tuned perception gear, and ensure my sensitivity generator is running.


  2. Mike: No worries! Feel free to say what you think at any time. I’ve always believed people should just say what they are thinking. I would have gotten involved in this thread, but confess that it was kind of fun watching all the debate.

    As someone said, my only thought at the time was that Bill’s job is to give us the benefit of his experiences. I usually prefer people tell me what they’re thinking, even when I don’t want to hear it. And, as Bill said, he was actually fairly polite in his comments. It was my opinion (and, I’m confident that I’m right), that he was thinking “What a bunch of wussies,” but what he actually said was more like: “This isn’t that bad guys. We really ought to just go for it and stop talking.” We had the option to ignore his advice, but ignoring the advice of someone who has “been there before” is usually a bad idea.

    Bill has made the run to the end of the Aleutians many times, and is convinced we’re not going to have a tough time of it. I’m hoping he is right! The fact is: I really don’t like rough seas, and wouldn’t last long as a commercial fisherman. If that makes me a wussie, so be it. I’m a big fan of calm seas, and have no problem sitting in port until the wind calms down.

    -Ken W

  3. my most sincere apologies to all who read and took offense to my comments. Captain Bill, no further spanking necessary. your “cyber-crew” have worked me over suffciently enough where sitting for the remainder of 2009 is not an option. i deserved it, i was mean spirited, and out of line.

    perhaps in the future i will be allowed to make a constructive contribution to this otherwise enjoyable blog. Sorry Ken, Roberta, Bill.


  4. Ron, Interesting pic…that’s definitely when you’re pulling some +/- G’s and you need a seatbelt in the “Head”!

    Don James, Just by a bit…Thankfully I was not at Yankee Station…I got on her when she came back east to Norfolk. Here are 2 videos that some may find interesting…It’s another form of “The Deadliest Catch”! A Carrier doing some rockin and rollin in the Indian Ocean during recovery ops…let’s just say it’s not the taking off that’s as important sometimes as just catching a wire on a moving target and getting back on board safely! The second is the Kitty Hawk and some 60 foot “Rollers”!
    (Note: I didn’t pick the music…if you like it…fine, if not, turn it off!) ( (

    I too hope to be on a “Voyage” someday and hopefully cross deck with some of you!


  5. < ( >

    Overt presence?

    On August 29,1987, PAUL F. FOSTER began its fourth Western Pacific deployment as Destroyer Squadron NINE’s flagship, leading a five ship Surface Action Group and participating in several major allied fleet exercises.

    During a fifth deployment in August 1986 with the USS CARL VINSON CVN-70 Battle Group, PAUL F. FOSTER was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for its performance in OPERATION KERNAL POTLATCH in the North Pacific and Bering Sea.

  6. James: Probably have you by a bit, was on the Forrestal during the fire which was not a good time!! As it is said, a day cat shot is the most fun one can have with one’s pants on. Memories, memories!! Back to boats. Spent some time on a tin can in the Bering Sea, don’t ask why, and it can be a tough ride any time of the year. The GSSR pathfinder folks will have stories to tell to their great grand kids!! More boats will follow and I hope to be one.

  7. Thank You Thank You!! I have never been on a ship let alone out to sea and I live in Colorado. For me the deepest water that I have seen is the 5′ mark at the end of the pool :-). I so enjoy reading about this and thanks for explaning it so that a novice can keep up!! Keep safe.

  8. I have a dear friend who retired as a major general in the Army. He knew that he was not the brightest bulb in the pack, so what did he do? He surrounded himself with the brightest people that he could find and rewarded the heck out of them. In fact, one of his subordinates was so well rewarded that he made general first – talk about unintended consequences! My friend’s ego was strong enough not to be threatened by capable subordinates and peers and those whose advice he chose to follow. Amongst other things, leadership means listening more than speaking. Then a leader either moves toward a consensus or makes a decision – whichever is appropriate to the situation.

    Air crews and small special operations teams tend to be more collegial than hierarchical, but when the crunch comes, everyone knows who is in command AND who bears the ultimate responsibility. Ken has gently touched upon this subject in an earlier posting. Amongst smart, experienced people, these issues do not arise. Every one of the captains on Ken and Roberta’s boat knew this going in. This is not a benign venture and there are hazards when pioneering a route avoided by most commercial skippers. Each crew member brings unique experiences to the bridge and together, with Ken and Roberta’s leadership, they will succeed and enjoy this adventure. Even for Bill, this is an adventure when you throw in Russia and Japan!

    One final point: we are not here to criticize one another. We do not count other than as an appreciative audience. What we think of one another certainly does not count and should not be shared. We know very little about one another and that’s just fine.

    The only thing that should get rougher is the sea and not the comments. That is expected good list behavior.

    Ron Rogers
    Typing, safe in my bunk on my trawler – moored to a dock.

  9. Well put everyone, and actually I’d say we’re all pretty much in agreement with Cap’t Bill…he said what needed to be said and hey it’s just starting…there’s plenty more in store I’m sure! You don’t just cross the Bering Sea without holding on or tossing a few!

    Don James: Nice to meet another Flat Topper way out here on the Blog…VAW126 E2C Hawkeyes’…USS Forrestal CVA 59 (Decommissioned)…glad I can look back on it and that I’m not doing it anymore! I still haven’t been on a ride like it with the kids…and doubt I will…something about age and G forces that just don’t go together anymore! I’d bet Funny Cars and Rails are probably pretty close to “that ride”. I hope they can save her from Davy Jones Locker and make her a museum…unlike the USS America and several others!


  10. Mike: I wonder if you own a company or in a high position of power in a company. Frankly it sounds like you don’t and aren’t. Hiring a professional and then ignoring the advice is stupid. You may not follow the advice, but to ignore it…….that’s beyond stupid, that’s dumb. Take a look at GM, Kodak, IBM, and countless others. The spanking belongs to you and I think there are over 400 folks on this board that will be willing to do so. I have over 18,000 hours at the pointy end of go fast airplanes, over 60% of that time flying on and off great gray ships owned by the American tax payer. Every Naval Pilot learns early on that experience is priceless and to do whatever it takes to beg, borrow and/or steal every damn bit of it you can get. So buck up and shut up.

  11. Mike: Capt. Halverson did exactly what was and is expected of him…….keeping their collective asses out of trouble and telling them what is what and what to expect. What and how he said is not important. At times the open water is not a place for nicey nice……people die. As someone once said, “the ocean doesn’t scare me, I am terrified of the water.” Hire the best and demand advice as bold and honest and without “charm school” language each and every time. If you don’t get it, get rid of the idiot and hire someone who will…….it’s about staying alive to enjoy tomorrow.

  12. Shawn. I think your comment has it pretty much right on. I believe Ken goes by the dictum of either Hunter S. Thompson, or Mark Twain who both said: “Never Let the Truth Stand in the Way of a Good Story”

  13. I think that Ken’s remarks were tongue-and-cheek when he said Bill asked for the mike and told them all to stop being whoosies or whatever, I took it as a bit of humour, and it was probably recieved by the rest of the GSSR group in the same manner.

    It’s like when the President here in SA was asked why the government bought a whole lot of new war ships and stuff, and he jokingly remarked ‘because America might invade’ – it was so obvious to me at the time that he was joking, (he winked as he said it!) but his comments were taken seriously by the media and there was a big issue about whether he’d caused offence etc. My point is that peoples meaning can be misinterpreted when actually they were just having a bit of fun.

    Looking forward to the next blog entry!

  14. Thanks to Brad Freidrick and the airline pilot for their support. Ken and Roberta are genuinely nice people and have never made me feel like a butler or anything less than what I am. They have cheerfully put up with my lack of sophistication in matters “Yachting”. I understand my shortcomings there but I am learning. They also know that I have decades of experience at sea. In 40 years at the helm of boats I’ve never had a single person hurt and never touched the bottom of the ocean. They are also learning. I do not think of them as employers but as friends. If I thought otherwise I would not be there. Obsequeous is not in my vocabulary, I don’t even know how to spell it. If anyone else out there wants to put a sour note on this wonderful trip, please keep it to yourself. The GSSR is a team, not a battleground.

  15. Dear Mike,

    I’m a commercial airline pilot and here is my $100’s worth: I ride on the pointy end of the airplane. I will be the first person to hit the tress, so if I say go….we go….If I say stop, we stop….. No matter who is paying the bill. I can get another job, not another life. If you believe otherwise for one minute, don’t fly. Same goes for boats. Only room on board for one captain. You are right about one thing…. the owner decides who that is and then shuts up and gets what they are paying for. In the end, if you don’t trust them then you shouldn’t hire them. If you do trust them, then trust them and use their experience and judgement. These people could not have built as successful a company as they did all by themselves, so I reserve my comments for Mike. I’ve had friends make smokin’ holes in the ground listening to people with “Get-there-itis”. This means a “Billionaire” needs to get to Aspen in the middle of a snow storm. Not a good idea. Wait 6 hours and a pilot in training could land a GV there. Hire great people, pay them more than they are worth and live life to the fullest. You’ll never look back…..

    I’m not judging, Life is too short…..

  16. I have enjoyed every story told along this trip. Even in the days when you two ran Sierra On-line, the adventures were great. Be careful and enjoy the world.

  17. My “Armchair Opinion”- If I paid some one a lot of money to look after my boat and my life I’d want to know exactly what they were thinking and I’d want their unadultered opinion everytime, all the time, with no sugar coating. It is comparable to the continuing problems with paid Everest expeditions where experienced quides have made disasterous decisions largely because they were unduly influenced by their (high-paying) clients. A hired Captain is not a Butler or Maid who should be seen but not heard. My commendations to both Capt. Bill and the owners who had the foresight and common sense to hire him.
    Brad Friedrick

  18. Here’s in response to “Mike” from Bill. In fact the microphone was handed to me. In fact Roberta told me to say exactly what I thought. In fact it wasn’t as dramatic as you lay it out. You’re welcome to your armchair opinion. Reality dictates certain measures. Lastly, if you want a “spanking” from their crew just let me know.

  19. About fifteen minutes into our chat, Bill came up the stairs, and asked for the microphone. He seemed a might miffed. With his fisherman-gruff voice, he reminded us that we were now in the Bering Sea, and that this was about as good as it gets, and that we should quit talking, relax, and just focus on getting to Dutch Harbor. I suspect he was holding back, and that what he really wanted to do was call us a bunch of wussies — or worse.

    sounds as though you were spanked by your help. perhaps a reminder of who is paying whom is in order. while we are all different, and each handle situations differently, i can’t see absorbing a tongue lashing from the help. and it’s not about ego from my perspective, i just don’t see any upside to allowing Bill to ‘request’ the microphone and pass on his “buck-up and shut-up” edict to yourself and the other owners. if you choose to sound like woosies (which i don’t feel you did) it’s actually ‘Bill’ that needs to “buck-up and shut-up”

    my nickels worth…

  20. I very much enjoy reading about your adventures.
    I’ve been to Dutch (only to visit). And I agree, the port is quite unique,as is the town.
    Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your time there.

    I spent 2 years in Adak as a weather observer, so am especialy anxious to read your impressions of Adak. You’ll find (I think)it is much cleaner and more receptive to visitors
    than Dutch. At least I hope that’s what you find.
    My Brother-In-Law,Joe, is the manager of the fuel dock at Adak, and will be very interested in your venture.

    Good luck and calm seas……..

  21. Shaun- The old guy was very clear on that point, Sly the cat was definately following the boat in 40 degree water and when he picked the cat up he was west of the knockdown and the current was running southeast towards Puget sound so Sly had managed to swim against the current. The cat has never lived on dry land and sticks around his owner’s boat but vanishes every night at 0200 hrs. He seems to make the rounds of all three hundred boats in the wee hours of night. If some boat owner fires the engine up for an early morning trip Sly just stays along for the ride but does expect to be given a fish head when the catch is good.

    Ken- We need a few more pictures of Shelby when you get a chance!

  22. That is such a nice story! Did Sly really try and follow the boats wake? That’s really cool, animals are amazing.

    I love reading all the comments on this blog, its fascinating.

  23. I hope Shelby is feeling better. I have a Sea Story that you can tell Shelby sometime…. At our marina in Victoria there is an old beat up sailboat with an equally well worn sailor who lives aboard. His battle scarred tomcat “Sly” has to be one of the friendliest cats I’ve ever met. The old sailor was making breakfast down below while sailing in some pretty bad weather. The boat got knocked down by a wave. After getting the frying pan and mess cleaned up the old guy realized that Sly was gone. The cat had been on deck when blue water swept the deck. He was so upset that his only friend was gone that he started a search pattern of expanding circles. No Sly. He finally started back on a reverse course. An hour later he spotted a black object being tossed around in the waves. As he motored closer there was Sly dogpaddling away. The cat had been swimming in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (in November) following the boat’s wake. He scooped Sly up in his fishing net and towelled him off. The cat slept for 6 hours and then meowed to go back on deck!!

    The same cat two years later stowed away on another boat and made a trip all the way to San Francisco before the elderly couple realzed some one was stealing food from the galley. Sly stayed with them for several months until they returned to Seatle and Sly was sent on the Ferry to the old sailor in Victoria.

  24. Ken,
    Great job on the rescue of Shelby by grabbing her life jacket handle. It is a good design and my dog “Bandit” loves wearing his. If I say, “wanna go for a boatride” or pull out his yellow jacket he begins dancing in circles. I am sure he would ride on the bow of the boat if I would let him. Of course, this is just around the harbor and Shelby is crossing The Bering Sea where the swells go on forever. Hang in there Shelby…

  25. John S: The problem I was having in attaching to shore power was that I didn’t have the proper adapter. I needed the male adapter, to attach to the end of my power cord, in order to plug into the dock. They cost $400! Luckily Harris Electric here in Dutch Harbor agreed to rent us the adapters for a reasonable price.

    Seabird and Grey Pearl are using the local three-phase 208v power as 208v single phase, by using three of the four wires. Because of the atlas I’m able to use all four wires, and get roughly double the amperage.

    I am technically an electrician, but don’t at all understand three-phase. With single phase, it is straight forward: volts times amps = watts. Even though it is a 60 amp shorepower pedestal, all of us have only 50 amp power cords, so the math is: 208v * 50 amps = Approx. 10kw.

    With three-phase, there is a multiplier which I don’t understand. I saw somewhere that it is 1.73, but this is over my head. The electrician from Harris did say that I would be able to pull 16kw or more through the cable.

    Whatever it is, the Atlas seems very happy with it, and we haven’t tripped a breaker yet.

    -Ken W

  26. Hello Ken, and the rest of the Wrong Way Gang:

    Glad you all made it to Dutch safely including woozy Shelby, I’m sure she’ll be glad to be rid of her sea legs for a while and love the new scents of good ol’ Turf!

    I look forward to reading about the towns you visit and the associated informative blogs along the voyage. After the welcoming at King Cove by the Fire Marshall, I was reminded of the great 1965 slapstick comedy “The Great Race”…and the line… ”Welcome to Boracho”, offered by both the Mayor and later, and more convincingly, Dorothy Provine to Tony Curtis (The Great Leslie). Interestingly the mayor, played by (Hal Smith), was better known as Otis on The Andy Griffith Show! Hope you’re brushing up on your Russian…as Natalie Wood saved the day when they pulled into that town…if not…“beads” always work!
    I hope you have that loaded in your Kaleidescape!

    On a more nautical note, I was wondering what your full displacement is with a full load of fuel, stores and spares, and how much it differs from the design no-load draft of 6’2” in the specs? Also, I’m curious if you’ve been able to tell a big difference in the handling characteristics in open water…such as increased hang times in port or starboard heels or if the Trac is just working harder and dampening the effects due to change in weight? Also remember, for those that may not, if you venture into any “fresh” water rivers on your circumnavigation like the Nile to see the Pyramids, your draft will actually be greater. However, thankfully your depth gauge will still read true, relative to your keel.

    And, on a somewhat related and historical reference to Bouyancy, are the Load Lines or Plimsoll Lines, on commercial ships, which are the “funny” symbols located amidships port and starboard. These show the maximum safe draft line for the different waters around the world and even have special markings for vessels carrying Timber. This loading regulation, amazingly, dates back to around 2500BC…so it’s been around for a while! Here’s a link that may put some to sleep, but is non-the-less interesting and is part of what goes on around us! If you click on “classification society” and take a look at history, it speaks of… “The London meetings of ship’s owners and captains at Edward Lloyd’s coffee house”…through which led to Underwriting and subsequently the famed Lloyd’s Register! (

    All that said, and maybe it’s just me, but I have not seen any load lines on any of the large Deadliest Catch vessels that are 100 feet plus, which may be due to their registration or classifications, and therefore not required. However after looking at some of those boats that are on the Haulback fully loaded with all their pots on top sure appear very precarious in the water, I’m talking not much freeboard, even without the element of ice buildup or a rogue wave! I’m sure Bill knows only too well!

    Have fun in Dutch Harbor


  27. Ken,

    Isn’t your Atlas system designed to handle the 60 amp power? I was under the impression that it could handle just about any scenario out there……

    – John S.

  28. Shaun:

    We do have a life jacket for Shelby. She hates wearing it, but we make her wear it whenever on the tender. It actually saved her life once. She fell off the boat, while transferring to the dock, in a strong current. As she was being swept away, I quickly laid down on the dock, and leaned into the water, grabbing the handle on her jacket. All was fine.

    Dutch Harbor has definitely been put on the map by the “Deadliest Catch”. I’ve been a little disappointed that none of the boats are here. I asked the harbor master if any were due in, and she said she had no idea. I asked our waiter last night where the bar is that they hang out at in the show, and now know where to go. We may head there tonight.

    Actually, I only watched the first couple of seasons. It’s a great show, but I thought it was starting to get a little repetitious. I started to buy the season 3 and season 4 DVDs to have here on the boat, but Bill hates the show and I didn’t want to irk him. Several of his crew guys have been on Deadliest Catch boats, and he thinks the show is exploitative, and eggs the guys to enter into dangerous situations they might otherwise avoid.

    -Ken W

  29. I laughed when I read the section about AIS and fishing boats, I can just imagine ol Sig’s reaction to somebody suggesting he broadcast his destination when he takes the Northwestern looking for crab.

    Glad you guys made it to Dutch Harbour! It must be cool to be in a place that’s become so famous on TV.

    BTW, do you and Roberta have any kind of dog-lifevest onboard for Shelby in an emergency? I was wondering if such a thing even exists. That would be one of my concerns if I was boating with my dogs.

  30. Sadler:

    I’m not worried about pirate attacks up here. There are parts of the world where there are pirates, but this isn’t one of them.

    Although we are in the boondocks, this is a very heavily monitored area. Last year, when I spoke with the coast guard about how we’d reach them in an emergency, they said that they would normally be within VHF radio range at all times. I haven’t spoken with the coast guard yet on this trip, but I suspect they know we are here, and are watching. We must look like a very strange blip on their radar. I’m sure we don’t fit any normal cruising pattern they’ve seen before.

    As to Shelby…

    She is now an older dog, and has been on boats her whole life. My guess is that she would rather have a home and a yard, but ultimately, she is happiest when she is with us, wherever that may be. My primary concern with her is for her safety. When the seas are rocking, it can be dangerous to walk around on deck. She has a dog door, and heads outside if she has to go. We normally close it when the seas are too rough, but up here that can mean about all the time. We modified the railing so that she can’t slide off the boat, although, it can be rough enough here to pitch her over the rails. Roberta tries to go outside to keep an eye on her whenever she goes outside, but that just gives me two people to worry about instead of one (well… technically a person and a dog).

    Cruising with a dog is a huge issue. I recommend it, but it isn’t easy. There are countries you can’t go to. Flights home become a nightmare. Clearing in and out of countries becomes an order of magnitude more complex. It’s like having kids. A huge amount of work, with dubious value, but we love them anyhow.

    Ken W

  31. Ken, any worry about pirates on this trip? With your locations known, I might be a little worried.

    And, my wife wants to know how things are going with Shelby on board for extended periods. We cruise quite a bit, but have not brought our dog with us.

    Thanks for the terrific blog.

  32. Yes, we made it to seafood buffet. By the looks of things around here everyone is well satiated and in the land of nod. Right after dinner Kirt and I visited some of my fishermen friends who were on a research charter and by the time we got back the whole flotilla was asleep. I think they will all agree it was worth punching through a little minimally hard weather to enjoy a repast such as we just had. On the same token, there will be more minimally hard weather from here on out but no buffets as a reward till we hit Japan. I’m sure everyone will survive. Those sushi rolls will taste all the better for it.

  33. Ken, it was a real treat to see you pop up on the AIS right on schedule. Unfortunately, couldn’t find a webcam operating so we could watch you.

  34. Thanks Sam… This blog entry isn’t quite finished. I have to leave for dinner. I’ll polish it, and send it out later tonight… Consider this a sneak peek.

    -Ken W

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Credits     |     Video produced by: Rock Steady Media     |     Teletype photo: Arnold Reinhold     |     PDP-11 photo: Trammell Hudson