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Alaska Log #10

September 12, 1999

(Click on each photo to see it full size)

Well, it's over. We're home. Sigh.

First, the stats for the trip to Glacier Bay and back:

We traveled 3,150 miles (2,750 nautical miles), which is more than the "as-the-747-flies" distance from home to the North Pole.

Average speed: almost 10 mph (8 to 9 knots)
Traveling days: 77
Miles per day: 41
Hours of travel per day: 4 to 5
Anchorages: 49
Marinas/ports: 18

Whew. It was all a bit wearying, especially as we had to pay attention all the time, even though the autopilot did the steering. These can be dangerous waters, and there were always logs, ferries, fishboats, and even icebergs to watch out for, not to mention the rocks and buoys. And although we are nominally a sailboat, this summer — with the usual Inside Passage light winds, and long distances to travel — we were really just another motorboat with a decorative stick coming out of the deck. Good place to hang the Canadian courtesy flag.

Spinnaker up for the first time! (76K)All in all, the weather was terrible. The worst since 1956, the meteorologists say. Still, we both had a great time and only really minded the weather for a week or two when we each had TWO rain suits alternating because it was so wet. As we neared home, the sun started to come out and we did have some solid, sunny weather. We even eked out a bit of a tan. We managed to sail for a few days, and used the spinnaker three times! Our spinnaker is a red, blue, and turquoise striped 2,125 sq.ft. monster, so this was a big deal for a couple with zero spinnaker experience.

Post-dinner rowdyness with friends (45K)We met lots of great people, both on shore and on the water. We made some new cruising friends aboard 'Vagrant', 'Klatawa', 'Astron' (left NZ seven years ago, and still cruising!), and 'Moanaroa' with whom we will definitely keep in touch in the years to come. In fact, one couple who were guests aboard Raven for a week this summer are New Zealanders we met while cruising down there a couple of years ago, and we became fast friends.

Jan & Signe at the helm (51K)Plans now are to prepare to take 'Raven' south next summer, heading for Mexico via California. We'll spend a month or two in San Francisco, cruising and visiting our son, and then head south after hurricane season passes. Spending the winter of 2000-01 in Mexico, and going almost all the way south to Acapulco, we'll figure out if we really want to — as the expression goes — 'Turn Right' and head for French Polynesia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand. Jan is all ready to go, but as he says he's "merely the CEO." The Chairman of the Board, a.k.a. Signe, is reserving judgment. "One step at a time" is all she'll commit to. Prudent, eh?

Sunset at Fanshaw (54K)The winter's preparations involve plenty of work on the boat (repairs, new equipment to install, changes in old gear) and courses for us. Signe's going for an offshore sailing course ("Someplace warm and sunny!" she insists.) and we both will take courses like diesel engine maintenance, emergency medical skills, Spanish, navigation, weather forecasting, and so on. Jan is also going to get certified in refrigeration maintenance, and Signe will get her General ham radio license. Busy winter ahead. Meanwhile, Jan is (allegedly, anyway) fully employed back at Frank Russell Company until he retires officially next July.

If you're still interested, maybe we'll send out 'Raven's Logs' again when we strike out for the sunny south next year. Thanks for putting up with it all this summer, and for all your good wishes.

Warm regards . . . Jan & Signe

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