2021 Season Final Blog
30 September 2021 | Home in Anchorage
William Ennis | Cold!
Eight days ago, we arrived back in Anchorage, tired from a day's flying. We had been able, after all, to visit Conni's father for a few days and help celebrate his 94th birthday. Happy Birthday, LaVerne! We also got to see Cali friends whom we've met through the years, so it was a nice time.
We were fetched from the Anchorage airport by our dear friends, Toby and Peter. Prior to our arrival at the airport, they had notified us that we could get our CoVid vaccine booster there, with little waiting. Conni fetched the boxes and bags and I hustled to the vaccine center and got my jab: I was the only one there. Today's grim news is that Alaska has 114 cases per 100,000, while the US average is 37. Georgia and Florida both track a bit higher, but we're #3.
As is traditional, T and P fed us a great meal and filled us in on the Anchorage happenings, and then carted us and our cargo home.
So, Friday...we received over 17-inches of snow! Holy smokes! It snowed and snowed, most of the day and all night. It was one of the earliest and heaviest snowfalls in history. Lucky us! Oh, yeah, we lost power for most of the day! What a crazy homecoming we had. Saturday was spent clearing the driveway and around the house with great care and anxious upward glances for a roof avalanche of snow.
Our trip to French Polynesia was good but truly, the limits for traveling ashore eliminated many of the fun activities that we usually enjoy. Our plans for my nephew, Ian, were severely limited, although he is good natured and showed no distress at missing so many sights and visits: he didn't know what he was missing. We're used to taking long walks ashore, meeting people and seeing sights not seen before, and all of that was gone. Certainly we'll be back and things will open, but it was a frustrating experience. It's their country and as guests, we are obliged to obey their rules. And we shall.
Still, we got to visit some long-time favorite locations like Avea Bay and Fare on Huahine, and visit the beautiful Bora Bora. We hadn't even set foot on Hauhine last season, so that was a treat. We didn't get to eat or even go ashore other than twice for groceries on Bora Bora, alas. We were hankering for a cheeseburger and fries at the Bora Bora Yacht Club, but were not permitted ashore. That prohibition also cost us a lot of web page posts and clean laundry. It brought home to us how dependent we are on shore-side facilities.
We've grown to love and appreciate French Polynesia and its people. My first affection was for the water and islands, but we've soon learned what kind and outgoing the locals are, and have experienced first hand what Polynesian hospitality means. Conni and I wish them well and for them to have success in resisting CoVid.
We did suffer some unexpected gear failures. The aft head wouldn't pump rinse water, although we may have determined the cause: I'll re-plumb the head next season with some better and non-collapsable hose. The forward head had some plastic pump handle parts break, so we had to use a rag to hold the broken parts to pump water into and out of the head. The damned autopilot died, although we think that it can be repaired at some expense. The SSB, our main distance communication device, was unusable because of heat damage on the LED display. "Heat damage" is our analysis since the screen is unreadable and looks as if heat might have been the culprit, but the unit is never in sunlight, so heat is more likely. Our new B&G wind sensor would not pair with its base so was unusable. When we arrived home, we found a new unit awaiting us. I'll have to determine how to ensure that the sensor and base are paired before hauling it to the boat. We have our work cut out for us, and some expensive repairs.
We're looking forward to returning with working gear and then venturing a bit further afield than this year. The lockdown and gear failures were determining factors in our decision to curtail our adventure a bit. Our plan had been for a visit to the Tuamotus, as you might remember, and when all that gear is working, we're still interested in the trip, perhaps next season.
The new stern section cover is in place and will provide a lot more rain and sun protection for the cockpit and companionway. I didn't install the new AC-powered charger since the old one was working, but it's on the boat should it be needed. The bilge pump works automatically and reliably. It should not have taken so long, but we finally have that crucial piece of gear working.
We did have some gear successes, too. The engine, as usual, performed spectacularly, although we have a poor starter battery that I must replace next season. The outboard and dinghy were completely reliable transportation, thankfully. We bought an outstanding handheld VHF, a Standard Horizon HX-300, that performed exceptionally well. All of our usual electronics performed well. After our surprise at the autopilot failure, we did decide that we need to check the old gear on our arrival rather than assuming that it would work. At least we'd have time and resources to find a quick fix if we knew earlier. Conni's work on our shower system was a game changer and resulted in a cleaner, fresher-smelling crew. Our batteries are getting old but our solar panels and Honda generator are still successful at keeping them charged, albeit with a bit more time devoted to the task. Our installation of a new music player resulted in an easy-to-use music system that we both enjoyed. There's no CD player, but mechanical players are much more prone to failure and we both have iPhones as music sources. In a funny episode, nephew Ian, at 25, loved Conni's play list, mentioning that he knew no other adults with such a one.
We're already beginning to plan for next season, as is the way.
I did get a final webpage posted, showing photos of our last days in the yard.