What's in her name?

What's in her name (Salish Aire)?

from her new home the Salish Sea

Aire as in a melody of song.

Salish + Aire = The melody of the Salish Sea.

Salish Sea:
In the late 1700's Captain George Vancouver wandered around the waters of what are now known as British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA. He did the usual 1700's explorer thing and put names he chose on everything he saw. The names stuck and are recognized and used to this day.

New lines were added to Captain Vancouver's charts in 1872 (after a near war with Great Britain over a pig) which made waters on one side of the line Canadian and those on the other side of the line American.

It wasn't until 1988 (officiated in 2009) that someone finally realized that fish and various critters, (to say nothing of the water itself) were never involved in the boundary treaties and really ignored them completely. (This is best illustrated by the problems that Homeland Security has with Canadian Canada Geese and American Canadian Geese - it seems they refuse to carry passports and have been known to poop on the head of any border patrol person who tries to challenge their right to cross the border when and where they choose!) In reality the waters from Olympia to the well up the East side of Vancouver Island are pretty much one ecosystem.

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Salish Sea is named in honor of the earliest recorded peoples who plied her waters and learned to live in harmony with her.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A New Year

February 6, 2018

It’s been an eventful time for our family since our last notes.  Our long planned Holiday trip gave us a wonderful time to be with our children and grandchildren but also challenged our extended family’s health.  The plan was for Clarice and I to head south from Alaska to Washington State the day before Christmas Eve and visit with Clarice’s family to the north of Seattle and then we would head south of Seattle to spend time with part of Norman’s family.  We also picked up Norman’s 90 year old mother to take back for what we expect will be the only time she will get to see our daughter’s home in Ontario, Canada.  Shortly after arriving in the cold Canadian mid-west, Clarice, Norman, and Norman’s mother caught a nasty respiratory bug (we may be some of the” lucky” ones that had influenza despite getting immunized).  Norman and Clarice recovered but Norman’s Mother moved on to pneumonia and had to visit a Canadian urgent care clinic on New Year’s Day for antibiotics.  She seemed to be recovering and was able to tolerate the flight back to the West Coast where we visited our son in Portland, Oregon before Norman’s sister and brother-in-law took her home on the train and watched her 24 hours a day for the next week. 

We flew out of Sitka on a beautiful sunny day.  We both agreed we felt like we were leaving "home" even though we were returning to where we had lived most of our lives. 

We had a chance to really appreciate how mountainous Baranof Island is as we were flying south.

While in Ontario our daughter took us to Niagara Falls which is quite the winter wonderland complete with fireworks.  The grandchildren showed off their prowess on sleds and skates and with their toys and computers.  Despite the temperature dropping as cold as -7 degrees (F) we had lots to see and do. 

Our daughter and her husband are active in the local curling club

"Blue Rock" had traveled from Rapid City SD to Sitka Ak and then to Seattle and on to Ontario Canada.  Photos where sent back to the Rapid City Rocks Facebook page all along the way and his travels became quite the sensation.  In the end our grandchildren decided to keep him warm until spring when he may once again head off on his travels. 
This original sleigh was on the lawn of our daughter's neighbor.

Niagara Falls Park was decorated for the holidays and there were even fireworks and a light show over the falls.
Norman's mom enjoyed watching her great grandchildren showing her their games.

Grandson H. catches some air at the schoolyard next to their home.

Our Daughter-in-law in Portland Oregon has quite the fancy quilting machine which Clarice put to good use finishing an Alaska themed quilt she had been working on.
Finally we headed back to Sitka with our bags full of Amazon goods that Amazon wouldn’t ship to Alaska, Costco stuff that is “really cheap” comparted to Sitka prices, and other items we just can’t find locally. All in all, everyone (including Norman’s mother) agreed that the chance to be with family was worth the challenge and the unfortunate illnesses.

On returning to Sitka we were met with our first significant snow here at sea level.  

Our landlord had left us a snow shovel at the first forecast of snow which were put to use the as soon as we arrived back at the boat.

Like everyone else in town we continue to keep busy with walks on the many trails in the area (with less concern about bears while they are hibernating – hopefully), and even a day trip to Goddard Hot Springs with friends (about 3 hours south at 7 knots).

3 river otters were playing in the snow on the next dock over one morning.

We put on our Yak Traks (AKA ice chains for boots) and walked 9.4 miles round trip to frozen Indian River Falls.  The scenery made the walk well worth the effort.

Jarvis did fine while he was walking on the trail but started to shiver once we stopped so Clarice warmed him up.

Soaking in the upper Goddard Hot Springs bath house with our friends from Sitka.
Looking down from the upper bath house toward the lower bath house and Salish Aire anchored off shore.

Clarice and August made like "real Alaskans" as they went from the upper bath house to the lower bath house in their swim suits over the ice and snow.

We had to try the lower bath house as well.

Trail to the upper bath house.

Lower bath house.
 Sitka keeps busy even during the winter months with concerts and festivals.

The lead flutist from the Toronto Symphony played a concert at the Sitka Performing Arts Center.


Sitka Jazz Festival goes on for 3 days

One thing that has fascinated us about Sitka is that there are graves and cemeteries in this very old town in the most unexpected places.  Yes there is the usual formal cemetery with manicured lawns but there are also graves from long past and fairly recent in the forests about town and in church yards.

Russian Orthodox crosses are common with the cathedral having been active from Russian times to the present. 
Grave markers range from simple to fancy looking off through the forest

A marker at the Memorial Park recognizing a sad time in history.  The marker sits at the base of a knoll. 

Another forest graveyard.

Graves in the churchyard of the Episcopal church we attend. 
A fenced grave at the Russian Blockhouse

The memorial grave of one of the Russian Orthodox bishops at the Russian Blockhouse
We have talked about putting a SCUBA compressor on Salish Aire for years but the costs and concerns about where to mount it have always stopped us from moving forward.  We have had our tanks filled once since we arrived in Sitka and realized that depending on finding a reliable filling station as we get farther afield is not an option. We have now added a compressor on the bow (and moved our existing bow deck box forward.

The new SCUBA compressor was quieter during its test run than we had expected.

The compressor with its cover in place.

It was great to get back home to Sitka and we were just settling back into our routine when an 8 AM call from Norman’s sister made it clear that things were not going well with his mother so he caught the noon flight back to Seattle.  Once he was at his mother’s side he put on his nursing cap and determined that she needed to be seen in urgent care.  To make a long story short she was finally released from the hospital 2 weeks later to an Adult Family Home on Hospice Care while her mind/body decides if it can recover from her illness or not.  We last returned to Sitka on January 29th and are continuing to monitor the situation from afar.

When we started our trip we knew that Clarice’s Father and Norman’s mother were of advanced ages and in declining health.  We have often been asked about leaving Washington with these concerns.  We weighed them against the reality that running Salish Aire requires a reasonably good state of health and decided that we would never get younger and we have no way of knowing if our families would live for months or decades so we headed out.  Part of our cruising budget has always included funds for emergency flights back home and some of those funds have now been put to use. We mention this because this is a very real concern when leaving a steady home but if you let issues out of your control cause you to stay in port then your adventure will never begin.

The only silver lining to the story of flying south to care for Norman's mother is that we were in Seattle for the annual boat show which was a lot of fun for us.  At the show we were able to touch base with Marselle from the Hurricane furnace factory.  Norman has talked with him on the phone in the past and considers him to be the "guru" of all things Hurricane.  Since we were having some new problems with the furnace it was good to chat with him and get some new ideas on next steps to take (we believe the problems have now been resolved). We also had a chance to vent to the Time Zero representative about our frustrations with their program.  Finally we were able to attend the Nordhavn get together hosted by Seattle Nordhavn.  It was great to see some friends that we only know from our contacts with them on the internet.  We talked with other owners we may travel with when we head to Prince William Sound in the spring and our biggest surprise was seeing the Goldbergs who used to own Salish Aire (we thought they were in the South Pacific but they had needed to fly back to the States for a short time).