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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cordova to Whittier

June 8, 2018

10:30 PM thinking about being sunset as we leave Cordova area
10:30 PM thinking about being sunset as we leave Cordova area

It’s been an eventful several days as we traveled to then from the town of Valdez. 

Tatitlek Village on the way to Valdez
Southern terminus of the Alaska Oil Pipeline

Valdez from the air

One our way to Valdez we stopped and spent a night at anchor in the outer harbor of Shoup Bay State Marine Park.  The park is at the toe of Shoup Glacier.  When a glacier moves forward it pushes a pile of dirt and rocks (moraine) which often stay and act as a dam as the glacier recedes.  Shoup Glacier has an  outer moraine that can be crossed by larger boats with the central passage about 15 ft deep at low water  and an inner moraine about 1 mile further with a very well defined channel that can be crossed with a small boat on high tide.  The outer moraine defines the bay as it is pretty much salt water and the inner moraine defines the lake as it is primarily fresh water.  Once you enter the lake it’s about 1 ½ miles across the lake to the toe of the glacier which is back a short distance from the beach.  The fjiord leading into the glacier was covered with fresh bright green growth with the arrival of spring and many waterfalls from the snowfields at the top.  The effect was much like the opening scenes from the movie Jurassic Park except it was cloudy and cool rather than hot and muggy. In any case the scenery was amazing.  After anchoring in front of one of the public use cabins with a shore tie as the shelves out from the shores are fairly narrow with steep drop offs, we waited for the tide to come in and then took Jarvis in the dingy to visit the glacier toe. We (including Jarvis who seemed very interested in the glacier for some reason) were in awe and just wished we could see what the bay would look like on a sunny day.

Setting for Jurassic Park Ice Age - Shoup Bay State Park outer bay

Looking across the lake/lagoon toward Shoup Glacier

Jarvis was quite intrigued by the glacier and walked right up on the ice

Foot of Shoup Glacier

On his way to see the ice

Ice cave at the foot of Shoup Glacier

The next morning we awoke to perfect blue skies and decided to go back into the lake to check out 2 other cabins.  When we got through the channel into the lake we saw that a float plane had come in while we were sleeping to one of the cabins.  We offered the couple in the plane a boat ride over the lake to the toe of the glacier and they were glad to have the chance to see it. When we were about to land back at their cabin they offered us a ride in their float plane. Perfect weather, incredible scenery, and a chance to do something on my bucket list – I couldn’t say “YES!!” fast enough.  They took us (including Jarvis) for a flight over Valdez and the surrounding mountains and glaciers.  We were able to see the immense Columbia Glacier from the air and even got a couple photos of Salish Aire at anchor.  The only one with some trepidation was Jarvis but he seemed to settle in after a bit as he usually does with new experiences.
"Hey, would you like a ride in our float plane?"

Looking from Shoup outer bay over the moraine to the glacier at the head of the lake/inner lagoon

Our ship at anchor
Initially Jarvis didn't know what to think but he got used to the ride very quickly

Do we get a tax advantage for having the boat used as an airport?

From Shoup Bay we travelled through Valdez narrows (after confirming with traffic control that we didn’t have to compete with any oil tankers) and on to Valdez where we got a nice spot on the dock. We enjoyed the town that was really gearing up for tourist season with RV parks and fishing derbies advertised everywhere.  I was excited to have a “red meat” dinner of ribs that tasted great and noted that the Radio Shack store had a forest of ham radio antennas sticking out of it.  The next morning I met with AL4O “Larry” and we yabbered about radios and boats for a while.  At the end of the conversation he offered us his truck so we could drive up the Richardson Highway to see the scenery between town and Thompson Pass.  The pass still had a lot of snow and clouds were low so it was scenic but not “super wow”.  On the other hand the highway passes through a narrow canyon with several amazing waterfalls that made the trip well worthwhile.

After we returned the truck we headed out in somewhat mucky weather to anchor in Sawmill Bay State Marine Park south of town.  We had been settled on our anchor for about 2 hours when I heard a radio call that sounded very close including the information that a child was unconscious likely from carbon monoxide.  I yelled at Clarice to grab the first aid kit and oxygen tank while I grabbed the AED and then we both headed to the dinghy deck.  We normally take about 20 minutes to launch the dinghy but we believe we had it in the water and loaded with gear in less than 10 minutes and were on our way to the only other boat in the anchorage.  On arrival we found a man who was lucid who reported that they had been running the generator and trying to start one of the engines for about 20 minutes.  There was a young boy who was rapidly losing mentation until when Clarice got to his side within seconds he was unresponsive.  A third adult woman had been throwing up and was only partially lucid.  I opened doors and windows while Clarice put oxygen on the child and we were able to have everyone in somewhat better shape by the time the Coast Guard showed up not much later.  The 6 young men loaded everyone on their boat (including Clarice and I as they didn’t have the medical expertise we did) and we headed back to Valdez at over 30 knots.  When we last saw the family, everyone was much more lucid and the child was able to walk to the ambulance with just minor assistance. In looking back our honest assessment is the child may not have survived had we not been able to respond as quickly as we did. Clarice decompressed with her sister and our eldest grandson on the phone and I said a few prayers of thanks.  We also were publically thanked on the radio by the CG and we made sure they knew how much we appreciated their response as well.

CG press release about our rescue with kind kudos for "the nurses from Salish Aire"
"Raft" of otters in Sawmill Bay

June 16, 2018

After the last notes we anchored for several days as we moved towards the town of Whittier.  Our first Anchorage was in a bay connected to the fjord leading to the Columbia Glacier which we had flown over during our float plane ride.  We were pretty excited to see the face from the water if the ice flows would allow but didn’t really have the chance to get close enough as it has receded quite a bit from where our charts show it to be. In any case the day we arrived we put into a cove separated from the main fjord only by a shallow moraine. The moraine allowed us to travel over in our dinghy but kept the many large icebergs away from us. The first evening we watched a glacier tour boat go quite a way up the fjord and likely the tourists got some nice photos of the face.  The next morning the ice that had been gathered near the glacier end of the fjord was now spread throughout the length and we were really glad we had anchored behind the protective moraine.  We did take the dinghy and found a path among the bergs to travel about 2 ½ miles up the fjord to where we could just start to see the face at which time we turned around as the air was pretty cool coming off the glacier and icebergs and we were all getting cold.

An old moraine kept the large icebergs out of our anchorage

Oyster Catcher flirting
Columbia Glacier from the water

Columbia Glacier from the air

Next we moved to Ester Bay which is a virtual fairyland anchorage that was a kayak heaven surrounded with open meadows and mountains on Esther Island.  Entering the anchorage was the first time we have seen a number of salmon jumping and the local net fishermen tell us the season is finally picking up.

Ester Bay Reflection 
Clarice setting a stern tie

Ester Bay

Esther Bay meadows

We then picked up some longtime friends from Anchorage in the town of Whittier and took them to Surprise Cove Marine Park for the night.  The anchorage is lovely but the surprise turned out to be a rocky bottom that would not hold an anchor.  It usually takes us about 15 minutes to set an anchor securely instead of the hour it took us there.  When it did set it held well.  The next day the weather turned from lovely to windy and even the locals indicated it was an unexpected change. To add to our frustration (we were supposed to be showing Bruce and Tina how smoothly we had the whole boating thing under control) we discovered water on the bedroom floor when we returned to the dock.  After pulling everything out from under the beds and lots of mopping and work with the water vacuum we felt we had things under control but left the boat in a big mess as we headed into Anchorage with our friends to visit their home but not before we had to fight with the shore power GFI to get it to stay connected to keep the batteries up despite the refrigeration drain. (The source of the water turns out to be a long standing seep from the top of the fresh water tank when we fill it to the brim – it had pooled and then overflowed when we used the watermaker and added weight to the port side of the boat – not terribly hard to fix (we hope) when we decide to take time to work on it.)

The weather in Anchorage was very warm and sunny.  We enjoyed being back in a large town where we could visit big stores and take in a movie.  We really enjoyed catching up on the news with our friends and they took us to their lakefront cabin on Big Lake north of Anchorage.  Jarvis was pretty happy having a whole back yard to himself to explore as well.

Bruce and Clarice paddle on Big Lake north of Anchorage 

Bruce and Tina's cabin on Big Lake north of Anchorage
top to bottom, left to right: Bruce, Tina, Norman, Clarice, Jarvis

We are now tied up in the Whittier Marina while a windy rainy storm passes through after having one sunny day when I was able to hike to scenic Portage Pass.  Whittier itself is a really unique place. Whittier is at the head of a fjord that happens to be just a short distance from the city of Anchorage with the small problem of a large mountain blocking the way. Natives and later everyone from miners to railroad builders used the Portage Pass route over the mountain and associated Portage Glacier to take a short cut to Anchorage for many years rather than the very long route down around the Kenai Peninsula and back up Cook Inlet.  With the coming of WWII the military was very concerned that the primary route to get materials into the interior of Alaska was via the Port of Seward and then via the Alaska Railroad which they felt was very vulnerable to attack and challenging in the winter.  The result was that a 2+ mile train tunnel was bored through the solid rock of the mountain.  For many years if you wanted to “drive” into Whittier you drove onto a flatcar and were brought into town on the train. That changed when the railroad rules changed and no longer allowed riding in cars on flatcars so something needed to be done.  The tunnel was then converted so that it now serves cars and trains but only one way traffic at a time.  Outbound cars and trucks leave on the hour, inbound on the ½ hour and trains when there are no cars with a rather sophisticated control system.
The town itself is interesting in that everyone who lives here lives in one concrete high-rise building.  There are two huge cold war era concrete buildings one of which is an abandoned military headquarters and the other which was military housing.  The housing building now has the city offices, a store, and the post office on the first floor and condos for the rest of the building.   Since it is connected to the school next door by a covered walkway it’s possible to be a resident here and never go outside.  It sounds strange but the folks point out that it is no different than apartment living in a big city but with incredible views.  Here is a Yoytube by a local school teacher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naPguX84Amg .

Whittier Alaska where the whole population lives in the tall building in the center

The shortcut to Anchorage before the tunnel was built

Portage pass looking back towards Whittier

Lupine flowering along the trail

Portage Glacier from Portage Pass
Taking advantage of a sunny warm day before the weather got "Whittier"

June 19, 2018
We were finally able to leave Whittier today without getting blown away.  Apparently the past few days of torrential rain and wild wind were the remnants of a tropical Pacific typhoon. Since our daughter reads this to our grandchildren for bedtime stories I will soften the common description of Whittier’s weather to “It’s a whole lot worse in Whittier” by taking out the common rhyme.  With Whittier sitting at the head of a fjord it gets the worst of the wind and rain.  When we headed out the tunnel (a total of 3 times) we found Anchorage to be relatively warm and pleasant and today when we left the entry to the fjord we say blue sky peeking through the clouds after leaving in very low clouds and drizzle.  Yesterday there was a major commercial fishing opening and the word on the street is that the little bow picker net boats fought 8 ft seas all day – we just can attest to the wind never dropping below 20 knots Sunday night and Monday morning.

I am very susceptible to sinus problems brought on by allergies.  I have enjoyed being off my allergy medication for several months but didn’t think to start it when spring sprung and now I am rather miserable with gunky sinuses.   Add that to the wind and rain and knowing that Seattle is basking in 80 degree weather and I was ready for a major downfall which came in the form of a failed repair. Going back a couple of paragraphs you will be reminded that we found the source of a very slow but long standing leak around the flange that holds the lid of an inspection port in our forward fresh water tank.  We decided to fix it once and for all with a glue product so strong I seldom let it on my boat known as 5200.  We cleaned the offending flange and laid it in a bed of 5200 and then rented a car to pick up an updated chartplotter that had been mailed to our friends’ house in Anchorage and to catch a movie.  We returned this morning and tested the flange – the slow seep is now a major leak!!!  Not only that but it took a half a day to run new hoses to the tank under our “if we are working on a part with old hoses they will be renewed at the same time” policy.  The hose replacement should have been easy except that the hoses were hooked to the tank and run up the wall before there was a wall so basically they were part of the structure of the wall and a total pain to remove! The only thing that has saved this day is that the mountaintops are starting to be visible this evening and I was able to demonstrate that the updated chartplotter will work with my older radar even though it is not listed as an option in the instructions.

One advantage to my sinus problem is that I was up at 4 AM to see the sunrise

June 20, 2018

Today we had broken clouds overhead and took the opportunity to travel up College Fjord until dodging iceberg bits was becoming a bit too much of a challenge.  Granted they were pretty much all too small to damage our fine ship but if they run through the prop they do make a pretty good “thunk”.  There is a tour boat company in Whittier that advertises a “26 glacier tour”.  We had wondered if they were exaggerating until we went up College Fjord and realized that they could just about make their 26 in that channel alone.  What is a bit goofy is that all of the glaciers are named for colleges or college related names (e.g. Harvard and Yale Glaciers are at the head of the fjord).

Seal on an iceberg

Some of the glaciers in College Fjord

Harvard Glacier

Yale Glacier

Granite Cove Marine State Park our anchorage for tonight

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Gulf of Alaska

May 31, 2018

Crossing the Gulf

In some ways things went as planned in others they went awry.  The original plan when was that we would pick up our crew member, Joel, in Juneau and then quickly cross to Hoonah near the exit of Icy Strait where we would meet our buddy boat Serenity. Before we reached Juneau we were contacted by Serenity and alerted that they were running behind schedule by a couple of days.  We asked Joel if he wanted to wait before meeting us and he indicated that no, he would look at this as a chance to get oriented to the boat.  With that in mind we took our time moving west from Juneau with a side trip to Glacier Bay and then ending up in Elfin Cove.  We waited for Serenity in Elfin Cove only to have them make the difficult decision that they weren’t comfortable enough with the weather outlook to be sure that they could get back to their jobs in time.  We chose to go ahead and head out.

Taku Harbor rocks (south of Juneau)

Light and whales as we head out of Juneau

Elfin Cove outer dock looking into town

Salish Aire on Elfin Cove outer dock

Elfin Cove General Store

Channel into inner harbor

Inner harbor Elfin Cove

Elfin Cove US Post Office (and school when is now a museum)

Jarvis walks on the Alaska State Highway in Elfin Cove

Waterfall along the Highway

The State of Alaska maintains the boardwalks through town

We had basically two options: One option was to hop up the coast taking advantage of various coves and anchorages but with the disadvantage that the route would keep us in the rougher waters close to shore and add about 7 hours of total running time.  The second option was to head in a virtual strait line (with slight compensation to a Great Circle Route) to the entrance to Prince William Sound (PWS).  We initially looked and believed we had 24 hours of really good weather so we headed for the village of Yakutat about 22 hours northwest.  On the way we pulled updated weather charts that suggested less than perfect weather but very doable for the next couple of days followed by very questionable weather patterns.  We made the decision that “doable” weather was better than potentially a long stay in Yakutat and so swung the wheel to port and a route directly to the entrance to PWS.

Our last look at SE Alaska (and any land for a while) Boat is an Alaska State Ferry
Rivers of ice 
9 PM on our first night crossing

As a reminder: This was our first extended (overnight) crossing.  Our goal was to test our abilities while we had Joel on board in case we needed to grab the third person quickly. The first night was pretty uneventful with almost no wind waves and a gentle 1 – 2 meter swell. With a half moon and only a couple of hours without sunlight we never faced a time when we couldn’t make out the horizon. Clarice and I slept fitfully as we tried to get into a routine but were very nervous about this “BIG FIRST”. Joel, meanwhile got a very solid night of sleep which was very helpful the next day when he was able to function at 100%.  The next day the gentle swells turned into corkscrew waves that are fairly uncomfortable.  Up to that point we had been using our hydraulic stabilizer fins only (with the side poles out to help soften the role.)  With the more uncomfortable seas we decided to put our rarely used paravane stabilizers in the water in addition to the hydraulic system. The difference was a dramatic improvement in how the boat handled the conditions.  We had expected to lose up to 1 knot of speed with the paravanes but in reality the difference was negligible.

The second night none of us slept as well as we would have liked but we worked out a plan where 2 people would be in the pilot house so that the third person could sleep soundly without worry that the person on watch would have an emergency and not be heard. The second person could even be asleep but they would be within shouting distance rather than in the more isolated berth areas.   It also helped that about 1 AM we made landfall with Kayak Island off our Starboard rail.  We had planned to do only a slight course change to Starboard once we passed the island but instead chose to turn to a course that within an hour had us in the lee of the island so the wave action was much more comfortable.

Midmorning we approached the entry to PWS and called Valdez Traffic Control on the radio.  They confirmed that they were aware of us from our AIS signal and indicated we didn’t have any ships exiting the Gulf towards us – only a cruise ship overtaking us to enter PWS before we would get there. Once in PWS the difference was dramatic with much calmer waters and winds.  The clouds started to lift and we were able to get a small glimpse of the fabled cruising ground we had entered.
About 8:30 PM we were able to find a berth in Cordova small boat harbor after 63 hours of straight running.  The bad news was the winds that we had hoped would run 10 – 17 knots were more like 17 – 22 knots and the wave action was very uncomfortable at times.  The good news was that we correctly predicted that the winds were always off our stern so we never faced pounding into head seas.  I (Norman) was the only one to get sea sick enough to throw up once which had as much to do with a lack of sleep as with not tolerating the motion. Bringing Joel was a good thing – we could (would) have made the trip without him but having him to spell us, and just knowing he was available decreased our stress dramatically.  We are sorry that Serenity turned back but as their boat does not have both types of stabilizers they would have had even a wilder trip than we did so we are convinced that for them it was a good decision. Our fuel usage was right where we had anticipated at 3 nm/gallon and our speed was where we had hoped (7 + knots) rather than were we planned (6 knots). In our final assessment Clarice and I agreed that the experience reminded us once again of how solid of a ship Salish Aire is as she never missed a single beat during the crossing with the big Lugger engine chugging along and using no oil at all and the autopilot only needing attention when we chose to make a course change.  We learned that this type of crossing in similar conditions is well within our abilities as well.  It was good to get a good night’s sleep in a quiet harbor when it was all over.


We wish to thank Joel profusely.  He covered his own travel expenses and never asked for anything from us other than the chance to join an adventure.  He even put up with me being grouchy when I was sleep deprived.  Thank you Joel (and Barbara for letting us borrow him for a week). 

I also realized that about 2/3 of the way across the Gulf, I quit referring to Salish Aire as a “boat” and started to mentally refer to her as a ship.  She has earned this designation and I plan to continue to use it for her.


Back in my nursing days in Everett I was very instrumental in helping set up a very unique medical unit at the hospital.  The unit was designed to care for medical patients with behavioral issues.  Many of our patients came to us with severe infections related to their severe drug addictions and others came with medical problems related to co-existing psychological issues.  To treat these patients took some of the most dedicated RN’s and CNA’s I have ever supervised.  One of amazing CNA’s who worked there was Debbie.

Debbie and Jerry’s stories are related in this article: https://www.heraldnet.com/news/couple-shared-tragedy-loss-of-oso-but-found-love/ .  To summarize: Debbie was at work one day and Jerry was out of town when a huge mudslide washed away their homes and Debbie’s beloved husband and Jerry’s wife and son in a tragedy that few from our part of the country will ever forget. Debbie and Jerry found love and comfort in their shared experience and married each other and I knew they often visited Jerry’s family cabin near Cordova. With some sleuthing on Facebook I was able to find a phone number for Jerry and left him a voice message.  Debbie told me that they had only just returned to the cabin a couple days before after being away for 2 years when Jerry asked if she had any idea who the guy leaving the message was.  Since we have been here we have helped them a bit at the cabin where their water line had slid down the hill and Debbie and I were able to catch up on some memories of the wonderful work we did when we worked together at the hospital.

Debbie and her husband took us in their truck to visit one of several local glaciers that are easy to access and then to the Copper River Delta.  It was pretty amazing to see how a river that has never been diked, or dammed, or had its delta filled in for a town looks, especially one surrounded by untamed mountains and glaciers. We still have not seen any local bears (although Debbie and her husband always carry a firearm and we are back to carrying bear spray) but we did see a moose and 2 calves and many birds.

Sheridan Glacier near Cordova

Sheridan Glacier lake and ice 
Clarice looks at the Sheridan Glacier lake

Sheridan Glacier

Clarice looks at the ice a few feet from her
With Jerry and Debbie at Sheridan Glacier
Clarice and Jarvis at Sheridan Glacier Lake

Copper River

Swans on section of Copper River Delta uplifted during 1965 earthquake -
now turning from sand flats to marsh and forest

June 3, 2018

Yesterday we left the noisy Cordova Marina to spend the night in a quiet cove a couple of miles from town. The marina was exceptionally noisy as small gillnet fishing boats were milling around revving their straight pipe dual V8 engines as they waited for allotted times to run out to the fishing grounds of the Copper River Delta and other places in PWS to try and catch “their portion” of fabled salmon runs.  The problem was that the fish were not arriving on schedule (likely because a cool spring has kept the rivers low as the glaciers and snow fields have been slow to melt).  So you have a whole lot of folks whose very livelihoods are made or broken in a few short months anxious and milling around and reminding me of the very salmon they were waiting for as the salmon milled around at sea waiting for the rivers to rise. Interesting to watch but between 1 AM dusk and 2 AM dawn we weren’t sleeping well.

Two days ago there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and so we did sunny day boat projects at the dock.  Clarice cleaned and polished and I dove below the keel to confirm there was no damage from something big that we had run over while crossing the Gulf (we suspect a log).  There was no damage so I cleaned a bit of marine growth from the engine cooler and replaced a small zinc that had mysteriously disappeared  and declared the ship fit to continue on her/our journey.

We are now on our way to really explore PWS planning to visit a couple of coves on our way to Valdez at the southern end of the Alyaska Pipeline with its northern terminal at the Arctic Ocean.  It will be interesting as we followed the pipeline from Fairbanks to Dead Horse deep in the arctic in 2000.

June 4, 2018

We spent the last two nights at anchor in the types of coves that show up in cruising magazines and advertising brochures.  It was oh so quiet and peaceful after the noise of Cordova. We currently have a weak but stable high pressure area over us so we have minimal winds but they aren’t strong enough to push all of the clouds away although as I write this the sky is about 50% clear / 50% clouds.

We have yet to catch an elusive halibut or shrimp despite hearing over and over that they are both so easy “you just need to put a hook / trap in the water” – yeah right.

We did see our first really really big brown (grizzly) bear yesterday after we had returned to the boat.  He was just ambling around the stream at the end of the cove (Jarvis and I chose to avoid the stream this morning for our morning walk and to carry bear spray –  and have Clarice watching from the boat with radio contact if she saw something – and Jarvis was back on his leash with his bear bell).

We also watched an eagle swim to shore near the boat.  Eagles will sometimes catch fish that are too heavy to allow a water take-off so they hang on to the fish and paddle with their wings.  I’ve seen videos of this before but it was pretty cool to watch in real life. When he reached shore he had about a 12 inch flounder or halibut that quickly became dinner.

Hopefully the next bear will be closer for a better photo (but still far away for safety)

St. Matthew's Bay

St Matthew's Bay

St Matthew's Bay

St Matthew's Bay

Life on Board:

Most of the time in the Salish Sea we anchored for a day or so and then were back at a dock with an inexpensive electrical power connection and water supply.  Here even the marinas may or may not have power and often the fees are quite high.  With more and more time spent off grid we are developing a pattern that seems to best use our on-board resources. 

Electrical power: When we are off shore power and not generating our own electricity we pull from two large deep cycle battery banks.  We have a forward bank with about 1200 amp hours of capacity and an aft bank with about 600 amp hours of capacity.  We charge them one (or all) of 3 ways: 1) we have solar panels on the roof of the pilot house.  They have the disadvantage of not being tilted toward the sun but are designed with micro grooves to pull some sun from the off angles more efficiently.  We have been pleasantly surprised how well they work in these high latitudes and forgot to consider that even late at night we are often making a few free watts as the sky is light about 23 hours a day.  With a sunny day we can put off a generator run an additional day just with the boost from the solar panels. 2) If we are running the main engine its 160 amp alternator is able to push a lot of power back into the batteries depending on the number of hours we are running. 3) We are finding that if we run our generator for about 2 hours on a typical morning it will replace about 24 hours of typical battery use and wash and dry a load of cloths.

Water: We have tankage for 260 gallons of fresh water which last us at least 2 weeks of unlimited usage.  Most marinas have water on the dock and we always top off before we leave.  If we are in a clean anchorage (minimal silt and/or oily scum) then we run the reverse osmosis (RO) watermaker during our generator run which also helps with load control for the generator.

Heat: When we are underway we heat using heat from the main engine as there is a heat exchanger in our hydronic heating system that transfers the heat to the circulating water. At anchor we heat with the diesel furnace during the day.  At night we are choosing to only heat our berth to save diesel and batteries (Jarvis and I both have electric pads we sleep on as Clarice likes a really cool bedroom).

Fruits and Veggies: Clarice has figured out that apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and potatoes hold up quite well in the lazarette which is kept cool by being down in the seawater so she buys those items in bulk when we find a sale.  For fresh greens we have been quite successful growing a mini garden on the back deck which produces enough to make fresh salads about twice a week (thanks to that 23 hours of daylight again).  Finally when we are in town we pick up whatever else we need at the local grocery (and close our eyes as we check out to not see the total costs).

The garden

Milk: On one of the trips to Seattle we purchased a 50# bag of powdered milk from a restaurant supply store.  We have found that if we mix the milk with water using a bar blender that the milk tastes very good.  We also found a glass 2 qt bottle to store it in – initially we used a plastic bottle but could not get it clean enough and the milk soured early.  Clarice has found that if she buys Nido brand powdered milk that it has enough fat in it to allow her to make her own yogurt.

Breads: Clarice has really gotten into making bread.  We have everything from homemade bagels, to sourdough, to English muffins, to breakfast scones with eggs, cheese and bacon bits in them. Again, bringing a 50# bag of whole wheat flour north from the restaurant supply in Seattle has saved a lot of money (and thanks to a lady at church who gave us a good sourdough starter).

Sleep: Previous owners had installed blackout curtains on the 3 skylights in the berth where we sleep – they are a necessity here as our brains simply can’t get used to the hours of daylight.

Entertainment: We download a lot of books on our Kindles when we are in port and usually there is a book exchange at most marinas where we swap books.  We also download movies from Amazon and Netflix onto our iPad when we have internet service and then watch them when we are ready.

Internet / phone: We have a phone plan with a LOT of GB of data included.  We have been surprised at some of the places in the middle of nowhere where we get a good signal.

Jarvis: Jarvis has gotten a lot less fussy about using his pad to pee on but we still have to take him out as he won’t ask unless he is in misery.  He doesn’t like it when water comes up through the scupper onto the deck where his pad is usually located during rough weather so we have to move it up to the protected Portuguese Bridge when the going gets rough.  He DOES NOT like to poo on the pad so we have to watch him when he hasn’t been to the beach in a while and if he pants and/or shivers, take him to his pad until he produces.  Otherwise he likes having a captive audience to lie next to and just hangs out until we make landfall and can take him to a beach.

Travel: One change I've noticed is that now that we have done our 3 day/2 night run in good and bad seas, distances seem shorter and we are much less bothered by rough water. It was good to get over that hump. We seem to be gaining more comfort with a travel style that allows for longer stays in port or at an anchorage if we want to see more rather than feel like we always need to keep moving.

All is well as we continue towards Valdez.