Jan 2, 2012 Heritage Harbor to Inner Harbor, Wrangell

An unexpectedly beautiful, spring-like morning brought blue skies and warm air, even hints of grass.  The resident sea lion moved about the harbor, a welcome sight.  We seized the relatively calm waters to relocate to the main harbor, affording us prime access to needed provisions.  The engine started up like a charm and Pete had a twinkle in his eye as we nosed the boat out of the harbor and into the open water.  It was a bit of a tease to be out so briefly on this glorious day, and it wasn’t long before we were penned up inside a harbor once again.  During the short transit, we spotted a humpback out in Zimovia.  It felt good to be back in Alaska!  Pete was beginning to doubt all those accounts of harsh Alaskan winters, but I figured this day was an exceptional one.  Perhaps Pete was feeling some great satisfaction calling to mind a certain naysayer, a crotchety fisherman who told us a few months back that we were downright stupid” for planning to sail in January.  In any case, Pete was flaunting our good fortune by wearing only a t-shirt.

We sidled up to an empty dock, and soon realized that we’d be without power for the night as no harbor employees were to be found.  We took advantage of the relatively dry dock to spread out the wet, behemoth boat cover, roll her up properly and lash her to the deck for the sail.  I spent a good part of the afternoon at the grocery store, scoping out the general selection and making the initial non-perishable purchases.  Though I had chalked the place up to be a glorified convenience store, the selection was greater than expected.  Helpful employees filled a box full of twenty dozen of their freshest” eggs (fresh is relative term in AK).  The local chicken farmers didn’t have enough eggs to satisfy our enormous quota, so we had to go for the store bought variety.  The barge from down south” had just delivered the store’s weekly load of fresh groceries and employees were busy stocking the shelves.  By tomorrow, most of these items would be available to snatch off the shelves.  In the summer, it’s a race for the fresh produce as its quantity dwindles greatly by the end of the week, but this time of year the competition factor would likely be down.  Nevertheless, I planned to be there tomorrow and not take my chances.  By the time I headed back to the boat, the temperatures had dropped significantly and the town had turned into an ice skating rink.  The van arrived with groceries in tow, which were carted down to the boat.  One of the great services offered to boaters in Wrangell is that of grocery delivery.  Bag after bag was handed over the lifelines and Pete began to box up the goods for our crossing.  We carefully stowed the eggs beneath the v-berth floorboards, with plenty of cardboard dunnage in case of rough seas.  We’re crossing our fingers that the little guys make it.

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