Jan 13, 2012 Baranof–Happy Birthday Vicky!!!

January 13

34° SNOW + RAIN, 24° EVENING   2” SNOW

John sailed off before first light, attempting to make as much progress toward Sitka before the incoming weather system creates severe marine conditions.  We’re thinking about him out there, no doubt the lone sailor on Peril Strait!  We shoveled the townsite in the morning, then forced Privateer back into winter hibernation, putting the boat cover on once again.  We feel so fortunate to have the bay nearly all to ourselves, and to see Baranof in a state of slumber.  There’s usually so much activity here during the summer months that the place deserves to rest for awhile!  We prefer the winter’s quiet and solitude, the chance to settle in for awhile and savor all of the natural beauty.

The morning light illuminated the snowy mountains at the south end of Baranof Lake, bright pink peaks visible just above the waterfall.  These faraway peaks might have gone unnoticed on another day.  The water in the bay is incredibly crystal clear and appears in rich jewel tones of emerald and sapphire.  There seems to be a midden pile underneath the dock’s ramp, the white bottom making for spectacular variations on green.  I was shocked to see an intensely colorful bird against the stark white snow this morning.  It had a rosy-red head and breast, blue-gray feathers on its lower body and black wings tinged with white.  Anke, lover and drawer of wildlife, and I identified the bird as a male Pine Grosbeak, a member of the finch family.

Pete and I had painted a picture in our heads of John’s cabin as more rustic based on a brief visit last fall, but it has all the amenities one could need.  At least we think so.  It’s a well-insulated cozy cabin with a sensible layout.  There are lots of windows to bring in maximum light while being nestled in the forest.  Although there’s a wood stove, the tiny, boat-sized diesel heater that runs 24 hours keeps the house toasty and will reduce the need for wood fires.  We have a standard propane stove top and oven.  There’s a hot-spring fed bathtub” on deck if we want a quick rinse (John mentioned that the water may not be running so hot).  We’re glad to be disconnected from the internet.  The only thing that we might wish for is a phone, but we have a VHF radio to communicate with in case of an emergency.  Dave & Anke have kindly offered us use of their phone, internet, laundry and shower, all only a quarter mile row away if we crave any of the amenities.

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