We stepped onto the dock and started hooting and hollering, dancing about. We kissed the dock. Then Connie and I ran up the ramp to find actual earth, just to touch it. As I jumped into the grass, Connie held me back from stepping right into dog poop. How appropriate. We kissed the ground, symbolically.
I checked in at the office where they were quite friendly and conversational, getting our whole story and then giving us tips as to where to provision, do laundry, have dinner, etc.. Back at the dock, we were kept distracted by all the people coming and going, most of them pausing to say hello and talk us up. We started in on the wine by early afternoon. One boater came by and gave us a jar of home made salmon berry jam and a fresh flower arrangement clipped from her anniversary bouquet. Then later her husband stopped by, drink in one hand, and chart in another, and made himself comfortable in the cockpit while he pointed out all the wonderful places to visit nearby. His wife returned and we had a nice sunset party.
We were told that our mooring spot was reserved for special boats, being right next to the ramp and the fish cleaning station. When I checked our slip number, I found that the spot was the frequent mooring of the fishing vessel Sylvia, the same boat we hailed when we came into the coast looking for an anchorage.
A young family came by with a big tub of crab and the husband started cleaning them. Fairly lubricated by then, and always gregarious with new people anyway, I joined them to watch the process. We met the kids and talked to the wife and when they finished the husband looked at me and said, "Bring me a plastic bag and I'll give you some of these." I did, and soon we found ourselves back in the cockpit cracking crab, making a feast out of it. They had 2 small children who were happy to eat our Oreo cookies as a token of our appreciation.
Soon it was dark and another couple came by the fish cleaning station and started processing halibut. He made it look so easy as his sharp knife filleted the big fish. Of course, we came over and watched, and talked, and made friends and ended up with two pounds of fresh halibut in the refrigerator. These Alaskans, they are very generous.
The next morning we got Randy off to the plane and Connie and I started taking apart the boat, opening up the storage areas and dragging every thing out into the sunlight. Much was wet. Some things were starting to mold. So we made a project of it and right now the boat is such a mess you can barely move. We will wash every stitch of clothing and all the bedding and towels. This will take us a few days. We couldn't be in a better place to get our act together. The price is cheap, the store and laundry are close by, the neighbors are friendly, and the weather is good.
Everyone knows our story now. Strangers come up to me and say things like, "21 days from Hawaii, right." or "I'd never in a million years cross that ocean."
Tonight, we're having the halibut and just now, a guy I've spoken with a couple of times came by and knocked on the boat. "Would you like some fresh tomatoes? I brought these up from Oregon on the ferry."
Happily on land,
Scott, and Connie
Update: This morning a guy came by and cleaned a 32 inch long steelhead trout. Now we've got a pound of trout in the freezer.
Also, I've placed some pictures in the previous posts that we submitted while at sea. View previous posts if you want to see those.
|Bar Harbor, Ketchikan Alaska|