Dec 31, 2011 Wrangell, AK

Our puddle-jumper” plane from Seattle first touched down on Alaskan soil in Ketchikan, then continued north.  Among the few passengers who disembarked in Wrangell, we stepped onto a vacant tarmac on a bleak winter morning.  The lackluster weather and our slightly delirious state didn’t dampen spirits.  We were excited to be home! Alaskan territory was refreshing after having been x-rayed at the Seattle airport, but then I spotted an out-of-place security agent in the benign, pocket-sized Wrangell airport.  So much for a free Alaska!

Friends and family greeted the locals as they entered the one-room terminal, but we were at the mercy of the town’s only taxi, a mini-van, to deliver us home.  A fellow passenger inched towards the taxi as it pulled up, but as we too stepped forward she caught sight of our six 50 lb bags and numerous carry-ons and realized there’d be competition for space.  We managed to stuff all persons and luggage into the mini-van, the woman seeming slightly annoyed despite sitting comfortably in the front seat.  Pete helped carry the woman’s belongings to her front door and was rewarded for the gentlemanly deed with a box of fine sea salt caramels from her travels.

The harbor was quiet with only a few bodies milling about, just how we like it.  We found Privateer’s boat cover dusted with a thin layer of snow.  It appeared to have done a stand-up job of protecting her from the elements over the last few months.  Wasting no time, Pete stripped off the boat cover and revealed the arched PVC pipes that formed the internal support for the boat cover and which, standing alone, resembled a whale carcass.  Boat cover removed, the dodger went back up and we watered the boat” by using the dock hose to fill the centerline tanks with 120 gallons of water for dishes and showers during the voyage.  15 gallons of drinking and cooking water would be stored in separate 5-gallon jugs.  While Pete worked on deck, I unpacked the bags one by one until everything was stowed away.  We had paid the extra luggage fees for three bags full of food, well worth it in lieu of Alaska’s higher food prices and often less than desirable selection.  After an exhausting trip, Pete fell asleep early, making for an uneventful New Year’s Eve.  Our friend Jerry came by to say hello and we made plans for the next morning to pick up our wood, stored in his neighbor’s shed.  Securing our wood supply will be a major step closer to departure.

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