Gone Walkabout...

This blog was going to be about my travels and impressions I had from them. But my attention span went walkabout. And like with any good walkabout I discovered unexpected things. I invite you to come explore with me...

You can contact me at teri-gonewalkabout@live.com

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alaskan Adventure - At Sea

First… No, I do not get seasick.

Most of my trip was “at sea”. We left Adak on 20 March and reached dock at Tacoma, WA on 5 April…and only 2 of those days were we docked at other places (Akutan and Bellingham).

Two of those traveling days were stormy… 25 foot seas with some waves breaking at the bridge (six stories from the water line!) and wind gusts up to 80 MPH. Winds were sustained at 55-60 MPH. Temps were the mid-20s. Life just is not good in that type of mess. Even if you don’t get seasick, you still have to move about. And in moving about you can get slammed from one side to the other. Your knees just feel cruddy when it’s over from the grinding they’ve taken trying to keep you upright. Things that weren’t bolted or tied down came crashing to the floor… as did some things that were secured! Just laying in bed you sometimes had to grab hold. I would sure hate to have been in one of the top bunks!!!

We were rocking in a circular motion...the normal up and down from the ship moving forward combined with a stronger side to side motion from the waves. Then on occasion, a wave would hit really hard at some weird angle that felt like some giant had hauled off and kicked the ship. A loud vibratty "thooong" would ring thru the whole ship while it shuddered. It kind of felt like when you're driving thru a deep wet snow and your car is lurching along as it pushes, then all a sudden hitting some washboard potholes.

But most days were quiet sailing. The ship just rolls along with an occasional ‘rip’ hitting that makes life interesting. GREAT sleeping. Like rocking a baby!

For the most part, we were always in sight of land. The snow covered Aluetian Islands or the fjords of the Inner Passage made for an ever-changing scene.

However, we did have 3 days of crossing the Gulf of Alaska. We were blessed with perfect weather, a very rare thing indeed. To quote Coleridge, "Water, water everywhere..." and tho the waters are not becalmed as they were in the "Ryme of the Ancient Mariner", we had excellent sailing. Soft, rolling waves with very little wind.

The ocean is so big here it's like you can see halfway to tomorrow (truth be told...we were not that far from the international dateline) but anyway, it's really cool to watch as we approach a cloud system.
You can see ahead of you a misty 'curtain' that you can no longer see the horizon thru. Sometimes you can look to one side or the other and see the edges of it. Eventually it gets closer and closer until it brushes upon the deck, then across in a full blizzard and finally over the windows of the bridge (which I have been informed that on a "marine" vessel is called "the wheelhouse"). When you get to the other side it happens in reverse, with the air slowly clearing until once again you are in the open. The snow we are getting are those giant springtime snowflakes, so it's really pretty.

Changing colors and moods of the sea.

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