06 April 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
14 March 2013 | Bayswater Marina, Auckland NZ
11 March 2013 | Bayswater Marina, Auckland NZ
01 March 2013 | South Island NZ
23 February 2013 | Invercargill, South Island NZ
15 February 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
06 February 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
03 February 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
30 January 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
24 January 2013 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
14 January 2013 | Bayswater Marina, Auckland NZ
31 December 2012 | Queenstown NZ
30 December 2012 | Doubtful Sound
16 December 2012 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
15 December 2012 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
10 December 2012 | Auckland, slip G25 Bayswater marina
10 December 2012 | enroute to Auckland, currently at Kawau Island
Finally a Moose
23 January 2017 | Seward AK
We are living in a winter wonderland with daily snowfall. The snow is waist deep. It turns out that travel isn't so easy unless you are on a plowed road. Moose know this. So they walk on plowed roads preferentially to off road routes. We saw this moose just north of Seward.
This is a REALLY beautiful place. But, the first boat has sunk. More sinkings are forecast by local residents. We are shoveling and heating. Even the big fishing boats are shoveling. But there are a lot of unattended boats.
We are getting the full Alaska treatment this year
Experiencing COLD in Alaska
06 December 2016 | Seward AK
I'm reading the weather reports from the lower 48. People are complaining of snow and ice on the roads. But how many boats in the marina are acquiring "ice beards" on the bow and stern of their boats while moored at the dock? We've got them and they are a sure sign of a miserable night on the boat. Outside air temperatures reached 10F and winds gusted to 45 knots. It was dangerous to walk the dock. Ice cleats were needed on Xtra Tuff boots (insulated and knee high). A hat and hood on a coat and gloves on the hands are necessary.
Electric heat is terribly insufficient. With 10kW we got the boat up to 51F. Fortunately the Webasto hot water diesel heater is working. You should know here that our boat is insulated (but it has single pane glass windows, which ice over, of course). People tell me that the houses in Seward also cool off when these winds blow. But the winds blow much harder in the marina and that is common knowledge too. So now we know why there are so few livaboards!
So what do you do when there is so much winter ahead? Well, I went skiing last week! Yay! And we've made a lot of friends that have warm wood stoves and big TV's for watching the Seahawks. I'd say that we aren't living much different than the rest of America except that the covers on our bed are much thicker.
It is almost ski season. How to entertain yourself?
12 November 2016 | Seward Alaska
In Alaska the answer to what to do always lies outdoors. Today on the way home from Anchorage we watched surfers ride the tidal bore down Turnagin Arm. It gets up to 10 feet high and its front moves about 15 mph. You can drive down the road that runs along the shoreline and therefore stay ahead of it. Or you can put on a dry suit and ride a paddle board like a surfer continuously surfing for MILES. How cool is that? We watched about ten surfers catch the wave initially. That number soon became 6. Those surfers were pretty good. They have to position themselves in the right place along the wall of the bore in order to stay on the wave, just like ocean surfing. The difference is that you can do it continuously for a very very long distance. See http://www.alaska.org/advice/alaska-bore-tide
And the rest of the story is that we were in Anchorage getting skis, boots, bindings, poles, and clothing to go skiing. We are now all ready. All we need is snow. We have rain now. Too warm. Now we are in Alaska hoping for colder weather! Who would have thought it?
14 October 2016 | Valdez, AK
It is the middle of October. Temperatures are dropping like we are in Alaska. Even so it's not Halloween and the locals have already hibernated. The tourists have all fled south. At 8am it is still dark. Snow has fallen on top of our surrounding mountains. So what do we decide to do? Road trips. We need to see the Kenai Pennisula (Homer), the Northern Lights, and Valdez.
It turns out the Kenai pennisula has oil and gas fields, so there are relatively big cities there. And it is flat (except for the mountains that surround Seward). Homer has enormous tides and a sand pennisula that is HUGE. It also has Nothern Lights, but we slept through that opportunity.
Valdez is considerably further away from Seward than Homer and we cross the bottom part of Alaska. What did we see? Well, no cars or trucks except us. That's a little alarming when the temperature drops into single digits and you realize that if something happens you are all alone in a vast wilderness. But, cross fingers, we know that "You gotta get lucky" and we still are.
Turns out the ski areas at Valdez were somewhat exaggerated. They drive to Thompson Pass with the car and ski down to the highway below. Its a majestic run, but there is no ski lift or ski patrol. There is also a rope tow beginner hill near town. This is what a small town can muster for winter entertainment and actually I'm thinking it would be a whole lot of fun, but Alyeska will be better. We are pretty happy that we chose to winter over in Seward. Being close to Anchorage is a giant plus. And it turns out we found "work".
Yup, we are now "house sitters". We have three jobs lined up! The houses are outside of town and actually pretty typical of Alaskan homes. Our big assignment is to feed the dogs and keep the heat going even if the power fails. People don't just leave their houses here. Someone needs to pay attention because of the cold (and the dogs and bears). The jobs are short duration (a week or two at a time). We actually get paid for this! This will broaden our Alaska experience and we are making friends. Friends matter even more during long cold dark winters.
The picture shows the Worthington glacier on the road into Valdez. Note that we are mostly alone where tourists normally swarm during the summer.
The First Winter Storm Arrived
21 September 2016
We've read about this. They say, "Summer ends quickly in Alaska". I'm thinking it is true. But how it arrives,...that is the lesson.
It blows in. Last night the wind reached 60 knots with heavy accompanying rain. Fortunately we were facing into the wind and behind a very excellent breakwater. Even so, 60 knots gets your attention.
WE bounced a little. Fortunately "bounce" didn't develop into "heave". Heave breaks lines and bashes boats to bits against the dock. So, we worried but all was well. I'm told that we have this rather excellent marina because of the 1964 earthquake which included almost total devastation of Seward with an accompanying (really really big) tidal wave!
The photo shows 8 lines holding Panta Rhei to the dock. Also the dock has a metal rail to tie to and steel pilings on both sides of the dock. You might ask, "So why do you worry?" You have to feel 60 knots of wind in a moving 44,000 pound boat before you can understand. It's a lesson that will leave you, "sucking air".
Checking out Alyeska Ski Resort
31 August 2016
Winter is coming. Each day is 5 minutes shorter than the last. Tourists are thinning out in downtown Seward. It's time to think about how we are going to spend the long winter nights. Worry abounds.
But wait! We can buy ski passes at Alyeska Ski Resort. And when the light wanes, they turn on artificial light and we can night ski. Now there is an idea! So how can we check this out?
It turns out that the resort is open year round and in the summer it is busy with hikers and mountain bikers. That turns out to be a community that is much younger than we are. We rode the tram to the top of the mountain and walked down. Sounds like a good plan, right? The scenery was utterly breathtaking, majestic. The air was cool and crisp and invigorating. And we were with our friends Paul and Louise Albert. We hadn't planned on the walk down being so STEEP. Before too long our quadriceps began to loose strength. We rested, and then moved on. Each time we moved we went a shorter distance. Before long we were near to our limits but still there was more down to go.
Fast forward to the restaurant; we all were laughing hysterically at the memory of Paul trying to keep walking but without working quadriceps and eventually falling over. But we learned that after a while we could get up again. And so it shall be when we ski.
WE also found out the resort has a salt water swimming pool and a hot tub. This is sounding like a very good plan!