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Monday, June 3, 2013

Joe Island Camping Trip

Saturday afternoon, we decided to take the dog out on a conoe. We wanted to see how he handled the ocean in a small, wobbly boat. We rented a canoe from the wonderful people at Ketchikan Parks and Recreation. If you're ever in Ketchikan and looking for stuff for cheap, rent a canoe from the rec center. $15/day or $25 for the weekend, which starts Friday and ends Monday. Hell of a deal.

Anyway, we rented this canoe and took off around 4. Destination: a beach on nearby Joe Island. We paddled across the calm water and got there as it had just started to rain. Our friend who came across with us in a kayak went back to the big island, and we started setting up camp.

The nice thing about Alaska is you can camp just about anywhere you want. We climbed up from the beach a little ways, find a nice moss bed with some wind protection, started a fire, and got settled.

We let the fire make some good coals, and went for a short walk before deciding to go back and have the good conversation that always comes before sleep while you're camping.

The next morning, we got up, and I walked to the beach to find a seal close by snacking on some of the tiny fish that were eating bugs in unison on the water's surface. About 50 yards off shore, a couple of humpback whales were spouting.

After a brief and vein effort to hop in the boat to catch up with them, we decided to paddle around our tiny island and check it out.

About three quarters of the way around, we decided to pill up on a beach and hike up to the top of the island. After getting immersed in the unending mossy green of the forest, she turned to me and said "Narnia". So beautiful.

We hiked back down, grabbed a quick snack, and paddled back home, another beautiful Alaskan weekend in the books.

Three Sheets to the Wind

May 15th was the day. The down payment was transferred. The keys were exchanged. I moved onto the boat.

Getting used to the quarters were the hardest part. I only hit my head twice, though. Next to the first BattleWagon, this place seems palatial.

What I am living on is a 1972 Hallberg-Rassy yacht. Made in Ellös, Sweden, this model was one of the first to feature a glass wind screen on the pilot house, a feature that now comes standard on almost every cruising sailboat in the world.

In the bow, there is a v-berth which I leave concerted to a single bed. There are shelves on either side, storage underneath, and a couple of small cubby holes with lights and an electrical outlet nearby.

Behind the front berth, on the port side, there is a head with a toilet and a sink who's faucet detaches for showering. The floor has a pump below it to get the shower water out. Across the small hallway, there is a small closet and the water pump and point-of-use water heater are located in there.

Moving backwards, there is a big dinette on the port side, which also folds down into sleeping space. On the starboard side, there is a gallery with a sink, fridge, and propane-powered oven and stove, as well as a gaslight and plenty of storage for stuff.

The door seals all of this in, keeps the heat really well. Behind the door, there is the pilot house, which has the controls for the diesel engine, the wheel, and all of the navigation equipment, from radar to GPS and old fashioned maps. There is a built-in cooler out there for drinks under one if the seats.

In the stern, behind the wheelhouse, another v-berth is just hanging it, waiting for guests to visit, and guarding my outdoor gear until that happens.

Her name is Three Sheets to the Wind, and she is spectacular.