Crabby Lady

Three years ago, when I met Tee and her son Thien, in the hot, humid climate of SaiGon, it was far from Alaska as

Tee pulling in Crab

one could get, mentally and physically. But as I got to know the Vietnamese in general, and Tee in particular, it became clear to me that while her dream of America had no snow, sea nor glaciers in it, it was more a matter of not knowing the possibilities, than not wanting the opportunity.

Wrangell Alaska ended up being our home port for now because I wanted a small community that was close-knit and friendly, without the drama and BS that so often happens in the Outside (Lower 48). I also selected Wrangell after the high school principal spent 45 minutes with the three of us, talking about his school, his vision and how Thien would fit it.

He was the kind of school leader that I was, and I liked that. It was truly children first.

Tee and Thien shelling cooked crab

Of course, having a good harbor for Dauntless was important and that the Harbor Master could get us a spot within walking distance of downtown was the icing on the cake.

Tom, who I met on Trawler Forum helped guide me to Wrangell and his help and advice was so helpful when I knew almost nothing about Southeast Alaska and even know don’t know much more. And extra bonus was having Rod & Becky and Bob & Char, fellow boaters, who have been helping us fish, crab and shrimp. It was Bob’s shrimp pot that I had abandoned a couple of weeks ago, which added to my stress of getting it back.

And Rod & Becky it turns out have been to all the places I wasn’t to go in the coming years, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Of all the places I have been in the last few years, who knew that here in Wrangell I would find someone who has been on my path and could give much needed advice. (No need to check in there, but do this…)

Crab being steamed

But the real story is about Tee and how she has made her Alaskan and American life the best it can be. Thien also does his part; mostly be studying, wither schoolwork or for the SAT.

For Tee the idea of free protein overwhelms all other senses. She has spent hours trying to catch fish in the rain with no luck. At least we can fall back on crabbing. We have found a good spot, only 3 miles west of Wrangell, 30 minutes on Dauntless, to drop our pot in about 35 feet of water.

So, when Tee complains about the lack of a broadband connection or cooking in a small kitchen. I know it time to go crabbing.

And that’s where we are off to now.

Woronofski Island, Just west of Wrangell

 

 

 

 

 

A Perspective

Yesterday evening, the 5th of February 2015, as I gazed out the window watching the traffic flow along the quay of Waterford the realization struck me as to how much has changed in just one year.

Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland
Looking out the Salon Window onto the Quay of Waterford, Ireland

Last year at this time, I had just returned from the Bahamas, had crossed the dreaded Gulf Stream, this time alone and was docked at my friend’s Paul house.

Now I had set up Paul and Chantal, my crewmate, as they seemed a very good match.  The problem was I lost a reliable crewmate and as it turned out, Paul got weirder and weirder and I still not understand what happened.

But Dauntless was in Miami to have a lot of work done in preparation of the upcoming Atlantic Passage coming up in July.  I had thought I had found a rigger and fabricator who would do the paravane stabilization system and I was waiting in very nervous anticipation for that work to start, as it was something that had to be done before our passage and they had given me a price I could afford, though I still had to manage my meager resources well.

So it’s early February, I had no help and all this work (buy, make, install) had to be done on the boat before we left and time was running out:

  1. Fabricate and install the paravanes,
  2. Replace current fridge and freezer with 12 volt system,
  3. Solar panels,
  4. Water maker,
  5. Replace the depth sounder,
  6. 12 v boat computer and 12v monitors,
  7. New navigation system and chart plotter,
  8. AIS transceiver,
  9. Replace one VHF antenna repair the other
  10. Get a life raft,
  11. Maretron system for environmental and navigation data,
  12. European, Canadian and Atlantic charts,
  13. Spare engine parts, alternator, injection pipes, water pump,
  14. 15 Lexan storm windows to make and install,
  15. Replace 112 bungs in the teak deck,
  16. Paint the cap rail, sand the rub rail,
  17. Get a bicycle,
  18. New Anchor
  19. Get my Captain’s license (handy in Europe)

 

Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter
Miami, behind Hopkins-Carter

And I knew even once all of this was done, we still had to cross 3,000 miles of the North Atlantic.

Now, I had been reading, reading and reading, asking folks stuff on Trawler Forum, but the hard part was actually deciding on this versus that.  Why that life raft and not this one.  As the time crunch got crunchier, it became easier only because it was time to shit or get off the pot, as my mother would say.

But even now, I look at that list in amazement and also proud that I, we, got it done.  It would not have happened without the help and support of some new friends.

In March, Richard (not me, another Richard), who I had met in the marina in Providence, came down from Rhode Island and spent a month with me doing a lot of different jobs.  I so appreciated his company and work and Dauntless still shows his efforts.  He also helped to get me focused and on track.

I had also moved the boat to a little pontoon just behind Park’s store, Hopkins-Carter Marine.  This also turned out to be a Godsend in that, when the paravanes were finally being built, I had a store one minute away that had all the extra things I needed every hour.

Finally the paravanes were done and I hightailed it to Ft. Pierce, where David spent two weeks installing the fridge, freezer, solar panels and water maker.

The rest of the work was done in the coming months as I returned to Providence, where in the last days before departure, Richard again came to the rescue and got my Lexan cut to size and then, finally, only three hours before departure, Julie and I finished installed the Lexan storm windows.

And the rest is history.

So, as I sit here in a warm cozy Kadey Krogen a year later, I’m in Europe, our goal of the last 7 years, the worst problem I seem to have is that in sorting and cataloging spare parts and reorganizing everything, I’ve discovered that I have 4 soldering irons.

Even though we have a few more oceans to cross and many miles to go; it’s all downhill from here.

Life is Good.