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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Almost Nome

USA | Sunday, 21 July 2019 | Views [24]

Nome, from the harbor

Nome, from the harbor

THE BERING SEA WASN’T MUCH ROUGHER than the Gulf of Alaska and Maasdam took it in stride.  In order to make our ETA in Nome, 36 hours due north of Dutch Harbor, Captain Jutten upped our speed to 18 knots and, judging by the spray on deck, I believe the wind picked up, too.  


    Warning Do Not Kill — Laysan Albatross

For some distance shearwaters, fulmars and petrels managed to keep us company, sometimes passing us even while flying into the wind.  And for a while we even had an albatross leading the way.  It was an unexpected surprise when we startled a flock of red phalaropes far from land, a new species for us.


   Storm Warning

By Saturday evening we had traveled 300 miles from Dutch Harbor with another 400 miles to Nome.  The waves have increased and the Bering Sea looks gray and foggy through mist-beaded stateroom window and cold, for July, at least — today’s high is 10°C or 50°F.  It’s a good day to huddle in the room and read, which was our plan.  There was no sunset this evening — and not just because of the clouds.  We are so far north and west that the sun officially sets just after midnight tomorrow. 


   Too Rough For Us

Maasdam never intended to dock at Nome, but “tender” its guests ashore as we did so many times in the South Pacific.  We fiddled around just offshore for more than an hour trying for a secure anchorage before the Captain made his announcement.  The high swells, he declared, made getting 1000-plus passengers in and out of the tenders too dangerous and the forecast was for worsening conditions.  He regretted that we would not be able to go ashore.  We had boarded snow covered Zodiacs in Antarctica under much worse conditions but, as Connie reminded me, our fellow australis sailers were more nimble — not to mention younger — than our current company.  Maybe we should have come Iditarod-style by dogsled.




   The Entertainers

The entertainmentarrives1.jpgJust after noon the pilot boat from Nome bounced alongside carrying some new bodies.  Evidentially we were scheduled to pick up our “entertainment” for the remained of the cruise, come hell or high water.  Their paychecks came before their safety, I guess.  Maybe the Nome-ish powers-that-be decided if we weren’t going ashore to spend money, we’d best be on our way.  Or perhaps the captain felt there was no reason to hang around waiting for our scheduled midnight departure.  Either way, by early afternoon we were off on our 2000+ mile trip to Kamchatka.



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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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