SV Panta Rhei Retirement Trip

Vessel Name: Panta Rhei
Vessel Make/Model: Able Apogee 50
Hailing Port: Seattle
Crew: Larry and Karen
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25 April 2017 | Seward AK
23 March 2017 | Seward, AK
11 March 2017 | Seward, AK
23 January 2017 | Seward AK
06 December 2016 | Seward AK
12 November 2016 | Seward Alaska
14 October 2016 | Valdez, AK
21 September 2016
05 August 2016 | Seward, AK
26 July 2016 | Whittier, AK
19 July 2016 | Valdez, Alaska
05 July 2016 | Seward, Alaska
04 July 2016 | Nuka Island, Home Cove, Alaska
02 July 2016 | Red Fox Bay on Afognak Island, Alaska
01 July 2016 | Geographic Harbor
01 July 2016 | Geographic Harbor, Alaska
30 June 2016 | Port Wrangell, Alaska
30 June 2016 | Port Wrangell, Alaska (not to be confused with Wrangell, Alaska)
27 June 2016 | Chignik, Alaska, USA
Recent Blog Posts
25 April 2017 | Seward AK

Spring has arrived

It warmed up to about freezing at night so we hauled out to clean and paint the bottom of the boat. It's a task we haven't had the facilities to accomplish for about 2.5 years. Now we are back in the water. Yay!

23 March 2017 | Seward, AK

I did it!

Remember that our adventure is "mission driven". This winter we are in Alaska, where it turns out to be dark and cold and snowy and windy. What's the mission?

11 March 2017 | Seward, AK

Winter is still "full on" in AK

We came here for the Alaska Experience. We wanted the old, pre global warming, experience that we grew up dreaming about. Alaska with adventure! Alaska with bear attacks. Alaska with snow. Alaska with sea otters on the finger piers of the marina. Alaska with cold snowy roads and avalanches off the mountains. Be [...]

23 January 2017 | Seward AK

Finally a Moose

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.

06 December 2016 | Seward AK

Experiencing COLD in Alaska

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 [...]

12 November 2016 | Seward Alaska

It is almost ski season. How to entertain yourself?

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. [...]

Spring has arrived

25 April 2017 | Seward AK
Larry Nelson
It warmed up to about freezing at night so we hauled out to clean and paint the bottom of the boat. It's a task we haven't had the facilities to accomplish for about 2.5 years. Now we are back in the water. Yay!

The warming is happening throughout Alaska, including Alyeska (our ski area). So yesterday was the close of the season. They throw a party for the season pass holders and employees. They run the lifts for us only. The snow was "corn", which is soft and squishy bits of ice that is SOOOOO nice to ski on. We felt like superman/superwoman. And it was warm. The employees at the resort are mostly young "ski bums" and they are a FUN group. They are way younger than we are. The bottom of the lift featured a tub of drinks (including beer!). There were social groups of skiers enjoying each other and the outdoors "hanging out". They dressed for spring including sequimed dresses on the girls and shorts on the guys. Cold doesn't seem to be an issue if you are young! Everyone was smiling and the groups were welcoming, even to us! There was an excessive amount of "big air" in the skiing including some pro skiers that can do things that cannot be done.

And I was HOT. The spring snow had me skiing bump runs and keeping up with youngsters. Yup, true. I really was enjoying this.

Too soon the day ended and with it, the season. Karen and I skied 34 days and over 400,000 vertical feet. Compared to our young friends, we're "pikers". Considering that at the beginning of the season we weren't sure we could even ski, we think that is pretty good.

I did it!

23 March 2017 | Seward, AK
Larry Nelson
Remember that our adventure is "mission driven". This winter we are in Alaska, where it turns out to be dark and cold and snowy and windy. What's the mission?

We decided to see if we were too old to ski. Considering that last year Karen broke her hip and that I had "hurting" knees, it was a real question. We deployed all our forces on this mission. We started eating carefully. We went to the gym every day. We bought a AWD car and a roof rack to take the skis. We bought skis and (the first wonder) Larry found ski boots that fit. It wasn't cheap. We bought season passes at Alyeska.

Then we started to ski. At first it was only a few runs per day. In spite of the gym, our legs were noodles. We got cold. It was only twilight between 10:30 am and 3 pm. We persevered through the winter: 26 days of skiing. By spring I found that we could now ski all day consecutive runs and that we could ski everywhere on the mountain, Karen a little less so than Larry but still doing it. Then March came to Alaska.

March is an awesome month. The sun came out and the snow covered the mountains in abundance. They were everywhere. Gleaming. One morning I noticed that some soul had climbed Mt Marathon (behind Seward AK) and skied down. I didn't think I could climb that mountain, but there was another alternative: Chugach Powder Guides. That is a helicopter skiing outfit operating out of Alyeska. I signed up. Karen stayed home to manage evacuating the body should things not work as planned.

Now I had imagined a pretty fantastic ski day. All I had to do was survive the whole day. That turns out to be truly difficult. I'm still exhausted 3 days later! It was more difficult than I imagined. The powder fields were there, but not continuously. We had to work our way across the glacier between powder fields. In between there was wind packed ridges, steep icy side hills, sun crusted deep powder, ice, rocks, gullies, DEEP holes into the crevasse fields to circumvent and winds. There was also sun, deep powder, shallow powder, under snow "features" to destabilize you.

Note, I haven't even mentioned the helicopter which is an awesome machine flown by true experts. We landed on postage stamps, flew mountain valleys in gusting winds, navigated around clouds, climbed like an elevator and spun like a raven in a thermal.

Our guide was fantastic. His first advice was "There are rocks here just under the snow. Follow me closely". I followed within 4 inches of his track. 50 feet later I hit a rock that he missed. OK I thought. I understand now. Do EXACTLY as I say. He kept apologizing for constantly talking, but to me every word was gold. And as the day progressed the reality of the mountain world revealed itself. It wasn't simple or easy but it was an ADVENTURE and it was REAL. Real is 100 times more interesting than imagined.

This day is the high end of my bucket list. My only regret is that I didn't do it when I was much younger.

Mission Accomplished!

Winter is still "full on" in AK

11 March 2017 | Seward, AK
Larry Nelson
We came here for the Alaska Experience. We wanted the old, pre global warming, experience that we grew up dreaming about. Alaska with adventure! Alaska with bear attacks. Alaska with snow. Alaska with sea otters on the finger piers of the marina. Alaska with cold snowy roads and avalanches off the mountains.

Be careful what you wish for. When it comes, you can't get rid of it! And so we are waiting for spring but wondering how many boats will sink if it snows yet again? Note in this picture that the finger pier is sinking at the end. The marina here is excellent and that is the only reason it is still working. Winter has made itself known with snow and ice and high wind and COLD ... all at once sometimes. There is about a foot of pure ice on streets in places. The big road maintenance machines are grooving it! Wow. I call it "farmed ice".

Do not think this isn't wonderful. It is exactly what we wished for. And we are skiing until our bodies sag weakly then slinking back to the boat for rest. You people that are "springing" are missing out!

Finally a Moose

23 January 2017 | Seward AK
Larry Nelson
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
Larry Nelson
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
Larry Nelsoon
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?
Panta Rhei's Photos - Las Gatas and Lazaro Cardenas
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Karen with our drinks at las gatas
Karen with our drinks at las gatas
Added 11 February 2011

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