Day 38: Tuesday July 31, 2012

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1:00 pm Tuesday July 31st.

July is not going out with a whimper here. The forecast was for a gale force SE winds building in the morning. We took down the tent and tarp, at breakfast, saw the white caps by 8:00 am and declared this a rest day. Weathered in. Since the spring tide tonight will be 22 plus feet, even 2 feet higher than last night, we rebuilt our awesome driftwood deck/tent pad up another 3 feet. Just above the salal line. It’s quite a view and great for airing out the tent. I put some biology knowledge and common sense to work and wiped down the entire tent in salt water. That should kill most of the mildew (Salt = osmosis death.) We are now in Alaska summer = no sun and high cool air.  Even so, the tent will dry in 15-20 knot winds up on this deck. I will repeat this process of salt wipe down every opportunity I get to avoid our lovely tent becoming a cheese hut of smelly mildew. I also wiped out the tent bag and soaked the rain fly in the sea. Then rinsed and greased the zippers. Other rest day chores include cooking up chocolate chip pancakes out of the wind in between huge drift logs down the beach and eating them until we were both sick of chocolate. Since we are ahead of schedule, we have no time worries with weather and we have more food than we want to carry. So, we try to eat the heavy items first before the lighter ones. We certainly did not underestimate on food supplies and we have covered a lot of miles in the few days since picking up our box in Klemtu. The chocolate bars are heavy and we need to eat lots of chocolate – oh darn!  Although I over did it at breakfast between the logs this morning. Pancake mix is heavy, so down the hatch they went. Burp.

The coast guard chopper flew overhead a few minutes ago with its rescue basket hanging down. I hope everyone is safe, like we are today. The forecast is for this South easterly to blow through today and calm seas in the morning. If that is the case we will work our way up from here in the Gibson islands to Lewis island,  5.5 miles and then island hop along Porcher island up to Kitson island, about 20 miles if we can. The nice thing is that there are pull out options along the way if needed. I am very glad we made such good progress through princess Royal channel and the ditch. Really who does all that in 4 days????? (0nly us I think).  We are currently about 6 days from Ketchikan and we have just over 2 weeks to get there. So, we can afford some of these bad weather days. I would love to see a couple of sunny days before the end of the trip. You can tell we are near Alaska by the weather. Colder, grey skies, wind and rain. I am very thankful that it has not rained hard here, since we arrived yesterday. Just blowing a storm, cold and grey. Although … the rain has started to fall.

One amazing thing I saw this morning was the spawning of candlefish on the shore. It was so cool to be in a place at the right time (full moon & spring tide) when they come right on shore and spawn. A big ball of fat little sardine like fish. I dipped my cook pot in and scooped up 3 of them to show Traci C. Decided not to cook them up since we have so much food and I think they would be pretty oily with lots of small bones. I thought the eagles would swoop down for a feast, but they did not. Perhaps my presence scared them away? If so, the fish are lucky this time. I tried to film it and I think I got it just before my camera battery ran out. This was another amazing sight to see.

I might be finished filming since my go pro would not charge up from the battery pack for some unknown reason. It has worked so well over the past few weeks. I’ll be bummed if it fails now in the last stretch.

Traci C is napping as I write this. Later I will try to catch some z’s as well. I don’t nap well mid-day it seems.    We both needed a rest day, so this storm is good timing for us actually. We have quite the cool set up as well – now if only I could get the blue tarp to be quiet when it flaps in the wind.     TracyL

Chocolate Bar count: + 2 more =31

Setting up a rain catch system.
Waiting out a wet gale in a tent.

Weather day, Bedford Island

Conditions: stiff SE winds; barometer ???

Last night was an interesting one. We retreated to our log platform camp, and as the tide rose along with the wind, we began to wonder if our platform would become a raft. The tide rose considerably higher than either of us expected, but we remained above it. Neither of us could sleep until we were sure it had turned; it was rather disconcerting to feel our “raft” shake as logs bumped our support structure. *My* air mattress would float, I’m not so sure about T2’s 😉 High tide in the Stinky Cheese Tent on Bedford Island. Yes, stinky cheese tent. We didn’t use the blue tarp on Gribble Island a few nights back, lulled into false security by an evening clearing and glimpse of the moon in the night sky. In the morning, the tent and everything else was soaked with rain. Wet drybags are no big deal – the gear inside does stay nice and dry – but the tent got packed away wet and there has not been any opportunities to dry it out. This morning at least it was dry – and very windy – so T2 washed it down with castile soap and salt water. At least it smells better now. It’s drizzling, gusty, and wet right now. Thankfully no bugs. The weather report is for gale force winds, so we rebuilt our platform at a higher level, and are hunkered down for a rest/weather day.

Quote(s) of the Day

When you are a Sea Gypsy like me you:
Never stay in one place long.
When you arrive you unpack all your gear and spread it all around.
You pitch a tent and hang your stuff up all over the place.
Poop and pee wherever you feel the urge to do so.
You don’t have time to launder clothes or do a full body bath.
You take your trash with you when you depart.
No wonder Gypsy’s seem so uncivilized to those who remain in one place.


GoPro video by TracyL
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