Jan 12, 2012 Baranof

As part of handing over the caretaker reigns, John briefed us on townsite duties as we walked all the boardwalks.  We had visited in September, but needed the winter update.  Part of the job is to manage the snow load, both on the public boardwalk and on the homeowners’ properties.  Another aspect of the job is to maintain a presence in the bay, keeping a wary eye on any suspicious interlopers.  We are the neighborhood watchdogs.  Normally, we’d be maintaining water flow to the public-use bath houses on the boardwalk, but John has shut down the water for the season.  After the run-down in town, we snowshoed up the river to reacquaint ourselves with the various pipes, both cold water (from the river) and hot water (from the natural springs).  John’s cabin has both cold water (diverted from the hydro line) and hot water that normally feeds into his hot tub, a converted fish hold.  We’re responsible for keeping the water lines flowing and the hydro power up and running.  The only year-round resident, Christine, has her own hydro operation, and we draw off her power supply.  The hydro intake sits in a fast-moving river.  Following the river, the pipe plummets some 85 feet alongside the waterfall and then moves into a smaller diameter pipe near the hydro shed.  The water is then fed into nozzles that spray a turbine.  Finally, the turbine turns a metal shaft in an electric generator and, voila, power is created.  It’s an amazingly clean and relatively simple way to harness power.

Passing by the general store, I noticed the windows were all fogged up and was a bit shocked to see martens clambering around as I peered inside.  The martens had successfully taken over the building and were finding their way into anything edible, making a real mess of things.  I don’t blame them for seeking out food and warmth!  John said that every winter the sun doesn’t come over the mountain ridge for about six weeks, turning the bay into a dark hole.  Today it made it’s first appearance!  It seems that we showed up at the right time.  Transition mode continued today, with much schlepping to and fro.  John scurried to get ready with news of an approaching storm.  He’ll have a narrow weather window to get to Sitka.  Pete and I moved into the cabin late at night, once John was well situated on his boat.  We were glad to be out of transition, off the boat and in a proper bed!

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