The Sailing Vessel Bandon sits dockside in Seward, Alaska. She’s an Island Packet 350, a boat capable of ocean voyaging.
For the past four years, we’ve been spending our summers living in our Lance camper, our C-Dory 22 Angler in tow as we tour Alaska exploring small towns, hiking, fishing, boating, berry picking and nature watching. These have been the most rewarding summers of our lives.
In the summer of 2011, we fulfilled a long held goal when we took sailing lessons in Seward. The experience was everything we had hoped it would be and more. We were hooked. For the next eight months we read as much as we could possibly read about sailboats and sailing. We could have spent eight years engaged in this kind of research. Although we still don’t know much about boats, we’re going to learn. Our lives seem to be comprised of a series of seat-of-the-pants-you’ll-figure-it-out-as-you-adventures (and misadventures). The sailing vessel Bandon is more than a boat; it is now our home. This past summer, 2012, we lived aboard, getting our home ready for blue water sailing.
For the time being, we will keep the C-Dory. Neither too large nor too small, it is exceptionally fuel efficient, runs quietly, and trolls beautifully. We love fishing for salmon, halibut and rockfish on Resurrection Bay, and The Gillie is the boat for the job.
During the winter, we live and teach in Point Hope, Alaska, an Arctic village of about 700 residents, most of whom are Inupiat (Eskimo). It’s cold, to be sure, and the heart of winter is dark. The Arctic winds can be downright terrifying. In November 2011, we had three days of hurricane force blows that sent the windchill plummeting to negative 80 degrees F. But we have a cozy, well insulated house, and we love living up here. Our students are nice, and at the end of the workday and on weekends the lack of things to do (no movie theaters, nowhere to go, really) lends itself to a lifestyle that suits us. Barbra is working on a master’s degree in technology, and the lack of distractions is perfect. Up here, we are afforded an abundance of that most precious commodity: time. Time to write, to sort through photographs, to cook, to visit with friends, to talk…
During summers, the focus of our blog will increasingly turn towards sailing, fishing and nature watching. Of course, we’ll continue to cook and bake, and we’ll sample wines, beers, Scotch and bourbon, too, and those subjects will account for some of our posts. But for us, sailing – and everything that will go with sailing – represents a steep learning curve. We want to create a record of that journey for ourselves and for interested readers.
And, this being Alaska, there will probably be photos of bears and whales and puffins… not to mention a few of those impossibly cute sea otters.
Thanks for reading.
Jack & Barbra