Jan 3, 2012 Wrangell

Once the fire fizzled out last night, we relied on our Hudson Bay blankets and body heat to keep warm.  Fortunately, we had done our best to contain the woodstove heat by closing the main salon off from the rest of the boat, shutting the door to the v-berth and putting up our canvas shield” that faces aft.  Quarantined in this warm cubby of a space, we kept fairly warm until the morning’s chill.  The first order of the day was to locate someone from the harbor office who’d unlock the dock’s power box.  It seemed as though the locals were slow to get working after the holiday.  Once plugged in and the heater blasting, we set about completing a litany of errands.  The beauty of doing errands in Wrangell is that the town has virtually everything one might need (granted you might have to dig around a bit) and that all businesses are within walking distance of the harbor.  If a particular item is nowhere to be found, we take the approach of  Wrangellizing,” (or jerry-rigging).  A French cruising couple once informed us that Wrangell has the cheapest moorage the world over, and we suspect they especially liked the good internet connection down at the dock as well.  For a small town, the amenities surprise and delight.  Pressured to untie the dock lines as soon as possible and make progress towards our destination, the convenience and accessibility would make our job a whole lot easier.  We wove our way through nearly every establishment in town…the post office, library, hardware store, drug store, grocery store, etc., while narrowing down our to-do list.  The town seemed an especially pleasant place during the winter, operating at a slower pace and with the locals approachable and in good spirits.  During our visit to the Napa, old-timers told tales about the longstanding rivalry and hi-jinx between kids in Wrangell and Petersburg.  I spotted the Tuesdays Organics truck set up in the empty parking lot that it claims once a week.  I certainly didn’t expect the operation to be running in the dead of winter and, boy, did I feel in luck!  In this converted old milk truck space dictates that while one person shops the produce displayed in the back end of the truck, awaiting customers huddle near the driver’s seat.  It’s an intimate experience, and a whole lot more satisfying than shopping at the supermarket, even if these veggies too come up on the barge.  I zealously selected potatoes, parsnips, apples, lemons, broccoli, kale, garlic, onions and dates, filling a box so full and heavy that I barely, and quite awkwardly, made it the three blocks to the grocery store where the provisioning continued.  Four fully stocked carts later, and having become a fixture in the store, I was checking out and the employees were boxing up the goodies for boat delivery.  The day’s only disappointment was discovering that we weren’t eligible to apply for the Permanent Dividend Fund, the Alaskan citizen’s yearly gift” of money from the oil companies in exchange for resource extraction on Alaskan turf.  Unfortunately our residency became official (last May) just after the deadline.  The good news is that we’ve got everything in order for next year’s application!  Those checks will come in handy for future cruising expenses.

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