Nellie and I were on our way to Kodiak so that we could participate in the first Halibut opener of 1987. While we were in the anchorage airport waiting for our flight I happened to notice one of my college classmates waiting there also. I approached him and began to talk to him. He was headed up to Valdez to work on the big oil spill. It sounded like he had a good job. Listening to him made me feel a small bit of guilt that I hadn't gotten a company job after graduating, and practiced what I had learned. But I also noticed that he also had a slight longing to be doing what I had been doing. Such is life, we romanticize our past and hear the romanticized past of others, each failing to mention that we are searching unfulfilled in our actions. Yet, hearing the others' exploits, we think that maybe he is on the right path, i.e.: " That's what I should be doing." As I said, I felt a bit guilt when hearing about the places that he had been paid to go. But, I caught myself and realized that, as good as it sounded, he was working for a company, and locked into assignments. I am less secure but free, (I think). We parted ways when the flight loaded.

When Nellie and I arrived in anchorage Nellie called a friend of hers while I looked in the paper to find a cheap Van to buy and drive to Homer. We were on a tight schedule for the ferry to Kodiak was going to leave at four the next morning. If we were to drive to Homer and catch the ferry to Kodiak we had to leave Anchorage by at least nine that evening.

Nellie got hold of her friend Nenna and she agreed to drive us around to look at vehicles. I found a couple of prospect in the paper and made appointments to see them.

Nenna showed up at the airport with her car, at about two that afternoon. Nenna was a real feisty Alaska woman who had been working up on the North Slope during the winter, but she had recently gotten hurt and was back in the city recuperating. She was full of energy. She overwhelmed us weary travelers.

We took off for Eagle River (forty miles north of Anchorage) to look at a van for sale but before we got out of town I spied a van with a for-sale sign on it. We stopped to take a look at it. It was your typical Alaskan vehicle; beat to shit. I took it for a test drive. It did everything it was supposed to do; accelerate, stop, turn left, turn right. What the hell, I could live with the fact that it had cancer all over it, the exhaust system was shot, the tires were bald, the doors were all screwed up, it leaked coolant, and who knows what else.

We went across the street and ate a pizza while we waited for the man of the house to come home, in order to ask the price. We finished. He was home. He wanted five hundred dollars. I offered four fifty. He said OK. I bought it.

We filled her up with gas, bought an extra case of oil, and some tools, said good-bye to Nenna and headed out of town.

Before driving to Homer we stopped in the town of Girdwood, (some of the best sourdough pancakes that I ever had,) to pick up some of Nellies gear. We finally got on the road to Homer at about nine at night. When it got dark we discovered that the headlights had a mind of their own, and would turn off periodically. That kept us awake. With about fifty miles to go we pulled over for an hour of rest.

We had taken the time in Girdwood to fashion a platform to sleep on. The van came with a supply of wood and even the nails. It only took an hour to build. The mattress was a large piece of foam that we found in Girdwood. We were set.

The reason that we had to make the fairy on this day was that it was going to go out to Dutch Harbor and it would not be going to Kodiak from Homer again for more than a week. We wanted to get to Kodiak before then because of the Halibut opener on the fifteenth. If we waited for the next ferry we would miss the opener. Of course we could have flown, but being in Kodiak without a vehicle or a place to stay sucks.

It was two a.m. when we checked into the Homer ferry terminal office. We were told that we could get in line and go to sleep and that the loaders they would wake us up when it was time to load. The ferry was supposed to leave at four AM. An hour of sleep sounded great. We parked in line, crawled in the back of the van and fell asleep.

I woke up with a start. It was light outside. "Holy Shit!”

When I sat up and looked around I saw that we were no longer in line, everyone was gone. We were alone. I looked at my watch, it said that it was five am. " That's it," I thought we missed the ferry.

I quickly got dressed, jumped out of the van and ran out a little ways to see around the building that obscured the ferry loading ramp from our view.

The ferry was still there. There were only two cars left in line with two more on the elevator going into the hold. I ran back to the van and drove up to the line.

We were the last vehicle to get on the ship. Another fifteen minutes and we would have missed it. The woman that told us she would wake us up was there and she came over to apologize for forgetting about us. " No harm done. We will be the first ones off." I told her.

After the vehicle was lowered down into the hold and chained to the deck, we collected our sleeping bags and toiletries and went up to the main deck. We laid our bedding down between a row of lounge chairs, climbed under the covers and went to sleep.

The ferry we were on was, (and still is), called the Tustumena. It is probably one of the older ferries used by the Alaska Marine Highway system, but she was a sturdy seaworthy vessel. She had sort of a battle ship decor to her. You could call her a, “no frills civilian transport vessel”. There are state rooms that don't cost all that much more but the waiting list to get one of those is very long, beside we didn't need one. There is a nice solarium up topside that is covered heated and open to the stern. By the time we got on board all the available space up there was gone. I didn't mind that because the stack is right in the middle of the place and it is quite noisy.

Nellie and I chose to sleep in the cluttered, horribly designed main salon. There was a large room with windows all around that was filled with uncomfortable lounge chairs that were bolted to the deck in sets of three. The armrests were not movable, there fore making them impossible to lay across and sleep on.

All the chairs had a button on them that allowed you to recline the seat back about as much as an airline seat. The seats are nice and wide. To bad they don't go back far enough to sleep in. Out of the hundred or so seats available about seventy five were broken and did not go back. A few people that didn't bring sleeping bags and had found a seat with an unobstructed aisle and a back that did recline were trying to get a little bit of sleep on the eleven hour ride.

Most people, (including us,) had found themselves a spot between rows of seats and had laid down a sleeping bag and were comfortably asleep. We were lucky to get a spot next to a bulkhead, but were unlucky in that it was next to a main aisle. If the ship is real crowded and one arrives too late one could find ones self stuck out in the middle between rows of seats with aisles on both sides. When you get a spot like that you have to sleep in the fetal position else your head and feet stick out in the aisle and you end up getting stepped on by wobbly walkers that haven't gotten their sea legs yet.

We were lucky, our heads and feet were safely under seats forward and back. The only problem we had was the noise from the guy that sat in the seat that we were under. Oh well.… That is Alaska ferry travel on a budget.

Now for a little background. I first started coming to Alaska to fish commercially in the summer of 1981. That was the year that I got out of the Marine Corps. I got lucky and landed a job on a seiner in Sitka. That was the year of the botulism scare that all but destroyed the salmon market for the next five years.

During the 181 salmon season fishermen were getting forty to fifty cents a pound for pink salmon. The next year we were getting twenty-seven cents a pound. In 1983 I went to the North Slope and worked in the oil fields. In 1984 I went to Mexico for the summer, and in 1985 I fished in Prince William Sound for pink salmon at twenty to twenty five cents a pound. In 1986 I worked on a collage grant.

I graduated in December of 1986 with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and an emphasis in alternative energy. That was the year that gasoline prices fell and nobody wanted alternative energy. So, looking to get back to the sea after all the academia, flew back up to Alaska in the spring of 1987.

I long lined blackcod and halibut in the spring of 1986 and when summer came along I drifted back up to Prince William Sound. I talked my way onto a 10% share as a skiff man and had a great money year. That was the year that the fish didn't show at Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Southeast, or Cook Inlet. But the fish were strong in Prince William Sound and the price went up to a dollar a pound at one point in the season. After that great summer I went out to Kodiak and fished black cod and halibut again. I then secured myself a job on a crab boat for the winter, and flew down to Seattle where I bought a sailboat with my older brother Doug. Doug was a merchant seaman. On Jan. 1, 1987 I flew up to Kodiak and fished tanner crab until February. After that was over I was still hot for work so I went out to Dutch Harbor and in three days I had a job on a joint venture dragger fishing gray cod for the Russians.

I had made plans to seine in Kodiak, but I met another skipper at the airport in Anchorage while I was headed out of Dutch Harbor to Seattle. He talked me into fishing with him in Prince William Sound. That was the year that the fish didn't show in the Sound or in the Southeast but they hit in Kodiak heavy. Rumor has it that the average crew share was forty thousand dollars.

So as it was, I flew out to Kodiak in late June of 1988 and fished the halibut opener, then I flew over to Prince William Sound to participate in one of the most disappointing season ever, as far as show was concerned. But because the fish prices were high I still did well. Some times we only fished two days out of the week. That was the summer that I met Nellie. She was working on a tender as a deckhand on a boat called the “New Era”. I was working as a skiffman on a boat named the, “Antagonizer”. We delivered our fish to the “New Era” one day and Nellie was there to catch the tie-up line. When my eyes met hers the world shrank and the voices of those around me sounded like muffled mumblings of nonsense. I was struck. I said something absolutely non-sensible to her and stared in wonder. My feet got tangled under me and so did my tungue.

We delivered our fish and then went to tie our boat up in the marinia. I was normally very shy about approching women, but when one of the other deck hands said to, “that woman on the tender was very beautiful.” And that he was going to ask her out, I casually said, “Well, you had better get right over there and do that ‘cause I’m headed over there right now.” And, I did. I asked Nellie to walk with me, she agreed. She took me up to her tent, which was set up in the hills overlooking the harbor. We walked and talked till the evening. And we walked and talked the next day, and the next, and the next, and that was that.

After the salmon season ended, Nellie and I both flew over to Kodiak and fished a halibut opener. My younger brother had written me a letter saying that he had gotten a job seining in Kodiak and that he was taking the boat south to Seattle with the rest of the crew. He asked me if I would take his vehicle back to Anchorage if I came to Kodiak before going south. So after the halibut opener Nellie and me drove his van to Anchorage where we planned to purchase a truck and drive it south. We were going to leave Robert's van in a spot known to him.

Robert's plans changed and he did not go with the boat down to Seattle, but not knowing that we had taken his van he thought that it was stolen. Now... Living the gypsy life that I do it is very hard for someone to get in touch with me, and the same is true for Robert, so it was just plain luck that Robert called a mutual friend of ours and left a phone number where he would be for the next two to three hours. Thirty minutes later I called this same friend to say hello.

I called Robert up and made arrangements to pick him up at the airport the next day. After picking him up Nellie got her plans moving by buying a Volkswagen truck. The day after that we were packed and on our way to the lower forty-eight.

We were taking our time and had made a detour up to Fairbanks, where after spending a sleepless night in a camp ground inhabited by all night partiers with a four wheel drive pick up and no muffler we got a five AM start. At six AM and fifty miles out of Fairbanks I fell asleep at the wheel, ran off the road, and rolled the small truck. That was the end of the road trip. We sold the car for the amount of the towing charges, and a ride back to Fairbanks. There we rented a motel room and the next day we rented a car and drove it back down to Anchorage. I bought myself a ticket to Seattle and flew out that day. Nellie stayed in Girdwood for a while then she flew to Lodi.

Back in Seattle I worked on the sailboat I had bought with my brother Doug. I also spent some time down in Lodi with Nellie, and she came up to Seattle a bit also. The big sailing plan was to fix the boat up into top shape then sail her up to Prince William Sound in the spring, fish halibut and blackcod then seine all summer. With the finish of a good season we planned to sail her down to Mexico for the winter, then out to the South Pacific, eventually working and sailing our way around the world.

This might have been a dreamer’s plan, but we had the boat to do it; a forty-one foot French built ketch. In February and March we had installed a three and a half Kilowatt diesel generator and a twenty-gallon a day fresh water maker. In April we had hauled her out of the water and completely redid her bottom. The boat was coming along fine. But, Doug's and my personality were so different that if became obvious to me that we could not continue as sailing partners. About a week from the date we were to leave the situation came to a head. Without going into details, it turned out thus; I took all my personal gear off the boat and drove to California. It was then Doug's boat.

The trip from Seattle to Lodi was an adventure in its self. My VW van broke down. We met new friend and found some old ones also. We fixed the car, visited and had a good time. It was a week before we made it to Lodi, and another week before we flew out of San Francisco to Anchorage and started the trip that got us on that ferry to Kodiak.

The ferry pulled into Kodiak on schedule and we were one of the first to get off. It was a clear sunny day and first impressions were that things were going slow in town. It was still five days till the halibut opener, and the hectic last minute rush was a few days away.

The first thing we did was to walk the dock and check out the job prospects. We also kept our eyes out for any old friends. I asked a few boats that had people working on them if any positions were available , if there were not then I asked them if they knew of any boats that needed anybody, being careful to let them know that I was experienced. I got a few leads and a couple of offers, but not with a boat that I thought that I could make money on.

The next day both Nellie and me had secured jobs for the up and coming Halibut opener. I got on with a young skipper running a sixty-five foot tuna trooper. He didn't look too young and age isn't something that I usually ask about , but I should have talked to some of the long time residents about this young man. I thought the boat looked good. He assured me that he knew what he was doing, and that we would catch lots of halibut. He had one hundred and twenty tubs of Halibut gear.

One tub of gear consists of one hundred large circle hooks spaced one and a half fathoms, (nine feet,) apart on nylon ground line. A loop is spliced into each end of the ground line so that each tub can be tied to another, thus making a set. Each of the hooks is tied onto a ganion. The length of the ganion from hook to ground line varies from boat to boat, but is surely between one and a half feet and three feet. The ganion is tied into the ground line.

Before the twenty-four hours of allowable fishing time the crew baits each of the hooks. A few years ago many fishermen began using octopus for bait, but herring , salmon, and gray cod are also used. With the price of octopus now over two dollars a pound it can be a monstrous expense when used.

It is my opinion that it doesn't matter what you use for bait. If you're in the fish you are going to catch them. But this young skipper I signed on with swore up and down that octopus was the best, " Besides," he said, " I have a secret weapon." So we baited up with octopus. It took quite a long time to do mainly because two of the four hands were busily keeping away from to tubs. Two days before the opener the skipper showed up with his secret weapon; one hundred gallons of Herring Oil. The oil was still warm in its five-gallon buckets, but the cold temperatures on deck quickly turned the buckets of oil into solid blocks. We were supposed to pour about a gallon of oil onto each tub of baited gear. We got about ten tubs baited before the stuff got too hard, so the wise skipper put three buckets of the hardened oil at a time into the forward stateroom in front of an electric heater set on high. That room had already been used before to thaw out frozen herring, and it stunk like rotten fish. Besides it didn't matter to him he was to sleep in the captains quarters. But it did matter to me , for I being the last one hired, was supposed to bunk in that room.

I should have jumped ship right then, but us deck hands are too smart, besides I was staying in the van while we were at shore.

When we had baited up five tubs of gear we would get a bucket of oil out of the hot house and pour it all over the ground line and bait, put another cold bucket in front of the heater, and bait up some more tubs. The buckets of oil were full to the brim, so it was inevitable that some of it would splash around. And while we did not open any of the containers while in the heated room, we tracked it in with our boots and rain gear. There was not a room on board the boat that was not covered in herring oil. It got in the galley, wheelhouse and anywhere else that some body happened to walk through. Needless to say by the time we left port every room and space in the boat had that particularly rancid smell of aging herring oil about it.

The sunny days had left us and winds of thirty to forty knots out of the west-north west had been predicted for the day of fishing. A north west wind is very cold, but because of the protection of the peninsula the swells don't usually get over fifteen feet. We left port on the day before the opener. The winds had already reached twenty five to thirty knots. We baited the last of the tubs just as it began to get rough. It was already very difficult to walk around because of the slippery oil all over the deck. As we got further out into the deep swells it got difficult to even stand in one place without sliding around. After eating a bit of dinner I decided to go forward to sleep for awhile. It was to be a twelve-hour run to the spot the skipper had chosen to set the gear.

Lots of spray was coming was coming up over the bow, and I got a bit wet crossing the open deck space to get to the forward cabin. Once I got in the cabin I realized just how uncomfortable this bunk was going to be. We were headed directly into the wind and sea. The relatively light bow rode like a crazy roller coaster. The heater was still on and, I soon learned, could not be turned off. It was uncomfortable hot. That along with ride and the rancid smell of herring oil made me nauseous. I lay down. I put the armpit of my sweaty two-day-old tee shirt over my nose to keep out the smell of rotten fish. It smelled better than the herring.

There I lay. Every thirty seconds or so the boat would crest a large wave and plunge down into the trough. I would fly up out of my bunk and hit my head on the empty bunk above me. Then I would be slammed back down into my bunk. I tried bracing myself with my knees or my arm, but it was hard to sleep with some part of my body tensed up to hold me down. Finally I wedged a survival suit between my chest and the bunk above me. Although I was not able to get asleep I did get a bit of rest.

It was not long before I was called up to the wheelhouse for my two-hour watch. I was looking forward to this because I knew that it would not be as rough a ride in the after part of the boat. I thought that it would be more relaxing sitting in the captain’s chair watching the radar than it was bouncing up and down in the forepeak.

Before we had left town I had been informed that the ships toilet was not working and was not to be used. I had been on boats without toilets before and forgot how much I hate using a bucket on deck to crap in. There were no buckets inside and I didn't want to put my rain gear on to go and look for one out on the deck, so I grabbed a plastic bag and went into the head with it. In there the stench was incredible. Someone must have used the broken toilet, for it smelled like a shaken-up port-a-potty with no disinfectant to cover the stink. I did manage to keep from puking while inside. When I got, out the rotten herring oil smelled like spring flowers in comparison.

I went up and relieved the other wheel watch, and settled in for my two hours of duty. All I did was make sure we were on course and keep an eye on the radar screen for any other boats that happened to get close to us. Every half hour I would go down into the engine room and check the level of he bilge water and make sure all was well down there.

As I sat up in the WheelHouse I kept hearing one of the deck hands get out of his rack, open the aft hatch, and puke his guts out. He must have done that every twenty minutes or so. He hadn't eaten any dinner so I knew he was a hurting unit. He was probably throwing up yellow bile. I wasn't feeling well myself, and listening to someone else heaving is not something that makes you feel better. The wheel house was about twenty feet from the water line and with large breaking swells coming in on our port forward quarter it made for quite a roller coaster ride.

When my two hours were up I went down and woke up the next watch. After he took over I went up forward, wedged myself in the bunk. I road the roller coaster without sleep until about seven AM. That's when the intercom rang. It seems that we took a few big waves in the evening and some of the tubs of gear had turned over. I climbed out of the rack and put on my rain gear. When I got out side I could see that the weather had gotten worse. It was now blowing forty-five to fifty knots and the waves were sometimes over twenty feet. The deck was a mess. Every thing that hadn't been tied down and some things that had were washed into the scuppers. Gaff hooks, knives, sharpeners, scrapers, and coco mats were gone.

I made my way back to the stern of the boat where many of the baited tube were tied down. It was a mess. About six tubs of gear had been turned over some others were full of water, one tub had its contents washed over board. There was nothing we could do but recoil the tangled tubs of gear. Trying to work with the oil on every thing was like trying to work on an ice ring that was pitching up and down, and back and forth. Sometimes I would get a tub recoiled only to have a massive wave hit us and screw up four more. By the time the opening started at noon we had more messed up tubs than when we started fixing up the gear at seven AM. We were now getting gusts of wind up to seventy knots and an occasional wave of thirty feet that would just swamp us. The sick deck hand just held on with eyes wide, and stayed out of the way.

The slippery deck from the herring oil made the operation look like a keystone cops film. People were falling on top of each other and shit was flying everywhere.

Weather or no weather at noon the twenty-four hours of legal fishing started and the gear went into the water.

By now we were about sixty miles off shore in about fifty to eighty fathoms of water. This was an area called the Albatross Banks, and it where the captain hoped to find the fish.

The crew on the back deck and the skipper in the wheelhouse could communicate via a P.A. system. He could ear what we yelled to him, and we could hear him through a loud speaker. He would tell us how deep it was and we would attach the correct amount of buoy line between the anchor and the flagpole. We would then put about thirty feet f line with no hooks on it between the anchor and the first tub of gear. He would tell us how many tubs of gear to set. And each tub would be tied together as they went over board. After the last tub of gear another thirty feet of hookless line, the anchor, more buoy line, and then another flag pole.

When noon rolled around we threw over the first flagpole and started dumping gear. It never ceases to amaze me that the hooks don't hang-up more often than they do, as they just fly out of the tubs. That day we had more hang-up than normal due to the beating the gear had taken.

The skipper can't see what is going on in the back, so he has to rely on what the crew yells to him. The only thing he heard from us besides the number of tubs that had gone out were grunts, groans, and lots of profanity. Much of which was directed at him.

We were sliding around on our buts, knocking over tubs, and slamming into each other. Twice I fell into the chute, luckily both time I fell into a tub of gear that was next to the one that had hooks flying out of it. If I had fallen into a tub that was going out I would have gotten hooked and possibly gotten pulled over board. It has happened to others. A knife is kept handy just in case something like that happens, but in the mess and confusion of that day I doubt if one could be found fast enough to cut the ganion before someone got pulled over.

We set out about twelve tubs of gear or one thousand two hundred hooks before we put the anchor and flagpole on the end of the set. Then we set out another string of sixteen tubs, (1600 hooks.) After that set was completed the skipper wanted to put out another set, but the crew thought that it was just too dangerous. Someone was going to get seriously hurt or killed. I had already injured my back when I slipped on the herring oil and fell on a board. The herring oil was now everywhere. It was flung out of the tubs while they were being set and big chunks of it were stuck on every square inch of the back deck. It was a serious safety hazard.

At that point we had sixteen tubs of gear that were so tangled up they could not be set. Things looked grim.

There were four of us setting gear on the back deck, two green crew and two with experience. The green guys were useless. One was bent over puking and the other didn't do anything but hold on to the bulkhead with a slack jaw and wide eyes. The other experience guy, (Greg,) was in charge. He went into a cursing fit and told the skipper fuck off. He wasn't setting any more gear. He asked me if I wanted to set any more gear. I told him that I didn't. The skipper came down to look the situation over. Greg cursed and ranted at the skipper. The skipper told him to either set the gear or leave the deck. That's what he did. He went inside and took off his rain gear.

The skipper went back inside and must have talked Greg into doing so more work because he came back out and asked me why I didn't back him up. I really didn't have an answer for him. I thought to myself, "fuck it. This skipper is an ass, who doesn't give a shit about the safety of his crew. He is just another greedy son of a bitch. Well I'm not sacrificing my health to make him rich." Then I went up to the forepeak and took off my gear.

The forepeak was a shambles. Every cabinet door had sprung open and spilled its contents onto the deck. Oil filters, tools, clothes, food, fish hooks, survival suits, twine and much more was piled in a heap. There was also a large chest freezer in there that had broken loose from the deck. Wen we hit a large wave it would lift up off the floor, its top would fly open and slam against the bulkhead. Then it would crash back down to the floor, and its top would slam shut with a loud boom. This together with six cabinet doors slamming open and shut , and the terrific noise of the pounding sea against the steel bulkhead made for an ungodly hellhole.

My back hurt, my head hurt, and so did my knees and neck. All I wanted to was lie down and give my back a rest. The skipper came in and asked me what I was doing. I told him that I needed a Half-hour or Forty five-minute break to catch my breath. "Rest a bit captain then we'll set some more gear." He said that he would set it with me or without me, "Right now! Are you coming?" I said, "No."

That guy went out and set sixteen more tubs of gear, and although he did it much slower than before, he still almost lost a guy over board. One of the green horns did a back flip over the rail and into the water. He was able to hold on and pull himself back on board when the rail went under water on the return roll. Lucky!

After my forty-five minute rest I put on my rain gear and came out of the cabin to help haul the gear in. I had thought about not coming out at all, but when I heard the activity on deck my conscience got the best of me and I knew that I needed to go out and clean fish.

The weather was still incredibly bad. Lots of water was coming over the rail, and we were pitching and rolling so much that it was impossible to stand without holding on to something. I put cocoanut fiber mats on the deck under my feet to keep from sliding on the herring oil, and waited for the fish to start coming.

The hauler was operated by the hydraulic control (C) in the space provided for the roller man. He gaffed the fish as they came aboard through the rollers (B), and he kept the boat on course via the controls (D) on the other side of the roller. Another guy stood between the hauler and the roller. He threw the fish onto the cleaning table (E) and he kept the deck clear of garbage fish; gray cod, starfish and redfish. The two cleaners stood port and starboard of the cleaning table. The coiler guided the line that was coming onboard into empty tubs and made sure that the line did not jump out of the hauler. I was on the portside was cleaning fish and handing the coiler empty tubs when he needed them. The cleaning table was a bit too low for me to be comfortable; I had t stoop over. The heaving of the boat and the position of the table made it hard on my back. It is best to be built like stocky Norwegian if you are going to go lonelining. Something finally gave out in my back and in my will while I was trying to pull a tub out of the stack of empties.

Prying the tubs apart from one another was quite a chore. The solidified herring oil inside them created an incredibly efficient vacuum seal when tubs were stacked inside of each other. Not only did it take a lot of force to pry them apart but the oil on the outside made it impossible to get a grip on them. The skipper didn't want us to put holes in to tubs, (it make a vacuum impossible to occur,) because of the use of the oil.

I fund that I could get the tubs apart by pushing up on the top tub with my thumbs and pushing down on the bottom tub with my fingers, but it took a lot of force. In order to do it I had to get real close. You wouldn't think that would pose a problem, but it did. When the tubs would finally part it would be accompanied by a great rush of air, with my face necessarily so close I would be presented with a breath of the most rotten gut wrenching stench that I could imagine.

I could not handle the stench any more so I tried yanking the top tub out of the bottom one, but my timing was off and I pull a muscle in my back that sent me to my knees. I was in pain every roll of the ship brought lightening to my spine. The slipping and sliding on deck seamed incredibly stupid compared to the possibility of doing permanent damage to my self, But I gritted my teeth pulled tubs apart, stooped to clean fish, swayed about, rolled, fell, and made it through the first string of gear.

As we were between sets I went into the galley to get something to drink, the nauseating stench of herring oil had made any thought of something to eat nauseating itself. I was standing at the sink about to fill a glass with something to drink when Skippy turned the boat into the trough of the sea. We rolled violently to the port. I lost my oily grip on the galley rail and slid speedily across the galley floor only stopping when my hip smashed into the galley table. That put on my back in pain and that is when I wrote the trip off.

I went back to the forward cabin, took my gear off and lay down. They pulled the rest of the gear in and called it quits. During the whole opener the weather never let up. It pounded the whole time.

Late that night we pulled into Alitak to unload the small amount fish we had caught. I got off the boat that night, slept in the cannery and got a ride on the mail plane back to Kodiak in the morning.

Nellie had a similarly dreadful experience, so when we got back together we encouraged each to "Never do it again."

When I got back to Kodiak my back was feeling better and I could go easy on it. I found work over hauling gear from some of the other boats in the fleet. I made four hundred and fifty dollars in two days just cleaning up tubs of halibut gear. That was more than I would have made if I had stayed on the boat I went out with. Over hauling a tub of gear involves recoiling the ground line into a clean tub, stripping off any old bait, replacing bent hooks, replacing cut, broken or worn ganions, and splicing sections of line that were worn. Sometimes a tangled mess is encountered but perseverance and quick

hands can straighten out any mess in short order.

Chapter 2: Living in the Pot Yard and working the Heroin boat

The next month Nellie and I spent our days either hanging out at the library, hounding the VECCO hiring office, or scouting for the town for work. We spent our evenings out of town parked among the stored crab pots, which were hidden away on the many side roads. The crab season had been long over. We didn't have to worry about being bothered by anyone coming around early in the morning. Living in the pot yard we had many peaceful evenings away from the traffic.

Every new day showed us that a few more blades of grass had turned green upon the brown winter colored hills that surrounded us. Slowly the barren hemlock branches produced small buds telling us of the coming summer. It rained constantly. But every time the sun did manage to muscle aside the heavy drizzled overcast, the landscape would rejoice with a burst of new green growth. Small fiddlehead ferns would appear as summer came closer. Tiny white ground flowers came out of hiding. Large bumblebees came out after the flowers. It was quite a show to witness the transformation of Kodiak from a cold wet brown Island to a cold wet green Island.

Now for a travel tip. If you go to Kodiak to find work, having a vehicle to move around and to sleep in is a great asset. Motels are very expensive. The cheapest room at the Kodiak Star is forty-five dollars a night and it is a dump. Come to think of it the fifty and sixty dollar a night rooms are dumps also. That year, because of all the activity on the oil spill cleanup, there were no vacancies anywhere. If you chose to live in a tent be sure to bring plenty of plastic. You darn near have to build a plastic house over your tent in order to keep from getting flooded out. Even with the plastic, dampness will get into everything that you own. Good tent sites are not close to town so you will have to hitch hike about three to seven miles to get back and forth from tent to town. No camping is permitted in the city limits, and it is enforced. It is a shame, for there are lots of spots close by that would be perfect, like Near Island. Near Island is accessible by the bridge and it looks over the whole of Kodiak's boating world. You can see every new boat that arrives and everyone that leaves.

Kodiak is not insensitive to its migrant work force. In 1989 they put in a campground. Although they really stretched the definition of camp ground with this new site. It is about two miles west of town, and about one hundred yards from the main highway. It is really an RV park, but you could pitch your tent on the gravel box on a big asphalt parking lot, surrounded by chain link fence, next to the city storage facility, and about a quarter of a mile down wind of a fish meal plant. It only costs two dollars a day. I can see the travel brochure now, "come to Kodiak and camp in the last frontier."

I knew of a person that set up camp in one of the many abandon military bunkers that are scattered around the Island. There must be hundreds of old look out posts and gun emplacements on the Island.

The problem of housing for the migrate work force is illistrated by the following story of when I was working on a boat fishing Tanner crab last winter. When the weather fronts came down from the North the temperature dropped and the homeless looked for shelter anywhere they could. One morning I woke and got out of my bunk to fix coffe and breakfast, getting ready for another long day of preparing the boat for the closily approching crab opener. When I walked into the galley, I noticed a man asleep on the bench. I did not know the fellow, but it was snowing heavily outside and I had no problem with him being there. I started making coffe. He woke up and seeing that I did not make a fuss about him being there, he promply ordered up a cup of coffe and breakfast. I threw out into the harsh weather not because her ordered the food but because when I gave him a cup of coffe, he commented that it tasted horirble.

The second Halibut opener of the year was fast approching and I did not have a boat to work on. Nellie had sworn off halibut fishing, due to the fact that the boat she had worked on for the last opener had gone through similar weather as the boat I had worked on. Nellie said, “No more for me!”, and she ment it. She put all her energy into getting a job on the oil cleanup crew. VECCO, the company contracted by EXXON to act like they were cleaning up the oil spill, was only hiring local Kodiak residence. So, Nellie rented a Post Office Box and then went down and got herself a drivers license; She became a local Kodiak resident in the matter of a couple hours. The she hounded the people doing the hiring until she got a job.

I decided to give the Halibut opener another try. Nellie was concerned that I would die from sea-sickness so she went down and got a perscription for Scopalamine. She made me promise to take them on the next trip. I found a job on a big boat and put my hopes on a better trip than the one before. This skipper seamed to know what he was doing. The deck was well laid out. There was a new cleaning table and new stoarage racks for the line tubs. When the holding tank was filled with water the roller was close to the water. The would come on with only a guiding hand. Then they would slide on over to the cleaning table, which was the perfect hieght for me. There was hole in the table that allowed you to drop the fish right into the fish tank.

The boat carried 111 tubs of soft lay ground line. Each tub held 100 hooks. The setting ramp had a nice assembly line delivery system where 9 tubs of gear could be tied together ready to be played out over the stern. About one week before the halibut opener, we baited up about 10 tubs of gear and went out to catch some grey cod to use as bait for catching halibut. Actually we were prospecting for halibut. We set out ten tubs of gear in 80 fathoms of water and another 5 tubs of gear in 30 fathoms of water. When we hauled in the gear we had set in 30 fathoms, we had caught quite a lot of halibut. Of coursr we had to shack them off, but we had found out where they were. The gear we had set in 80 fathoms did not catch as many halibut. So, it seemed that the halibut were in shallow water. On the way back to town, everyones spirits were very high. We had found a good spot.

Because we “knew” where the fish were, the owner went ahead and bought 1000 pounds of very expencive octopus for use as bait. At $2.00 a pound this was quite an expense. Bait came out of the crew share so this cost me $400. We baited the octopus and we baited the cod. We departed for the fishing grounds at about 4PM the day before the opener. All the tubs were baited and ready to fish. It was supposed to be only 14 hours to the spot we had found ealier in the week. We had plenty of time to get to the grounds. We left town on the tail end of a low pressure front, so the weather was supposed to be good for the next days fishing.

The crew had all the work done. So, it was a lesurily run. The boat was not untypical as far as fishing boats go. We had a greenhorn, the captain and his main man. There was one other guy on board besides me. I’ll call him Dick. Not because his name was dick, but because he was a dick. Dick like to tell me that he had been around for the big king crab years. That washis big thing. His glory days. Now, I can understand I guy wanting to wear that experience as a badge; It’s a tough job. Dick was sure that his position was above mine and tried to lord over me whenever he could. According to him, it was clear that I was never to give him an order and I was always to obey his command. Of course I didn’t see it that way. I always believed that deck hands were equals, that we should all work together to get the job done. Pull your own wieght and them some was my motto. If I saw something that needed to be done, I did. There are not too many orders being given by deck hands on a ship with a tight crew. Dick and I were not very tight. Everyone else got along well. But the tension between Dick and me was a little too thick.

Anyway, the position to the secret fishing grounds had been entered into the course plotter. The wheel watch only had to watch the lines on the screen. Easy work. The plotted course was represented as a dotted line and the boats course was represented as a solid line. When the solid line was on top of the dotted line, the course was good. To change course all one had to do is turn a dial on the auto pilot. Unfortunatily the plotter operated on the Loran system and there was a Loran shadow along our course. Unfortunatily we had a course change that we were supposed to make while we were in the shadow. This was OK, because the RADAR still worked. Whoever was watching our course just had to keep an eye on the RADAR and the compas. Unfortunatily, Dick had the watch during the LORAN shadow, and he missed the turn. When the captain’s right hand mad relieved Dick, he did not relized that Dick was nowhere near the correct course. The Skipper had the next watch and he noticed right away that we were off course and in fact we were five hours away from where we wanted to be. There were still five hours to go before the opener started. I agrued for trying to make to the “good spot”, but the captain chose to set the gear in 80 fathoms of water. Shit, we knew the fish were in 30 fathoms. This was the day that I found out those guys were not halibut fishermen. They were really dragggers. This was only the third time they had the boat out to fish halibut.

I discovered their lack of experience when the captain decided to lay out 5 strings of 15 tubs each, all in 80 fathoms of water. Usually, a good skipper will use the first few hours of the opener to find the fish, if he does not already know where they are. He will do this by laying two strings of 15 tubs each, end to end, up hill from 80 fathoms to as shallow as he can get. The he’d go back to the deep end and start picking up the gear. All he has to do is note at which depth the fish are being caught. Then set the rest of the gear length wise along the depth conture. But, we did do that and we did not catch many fish. 14 hours into the opener and we have not even caught as many halibut as we did with only 5 tubs of gear when we were fishing grey cod. We still had 8 hrs of fishing before we could not fish any more. We could have move from where we were. The captain decided to set the remaining gear in the same place we didn’t catch halibut in before. I guess he figured that it was over.

We did not catch many fish. By midnight we had hauled aboard less halibut than we had shaken off on the grey cod fishery.

Voyage of the Trafalgar, (AKA Fanfare)

On July 27, 1994 I was anchored up near the State dock in twenty-four feet at high tide. At the time, the tide was fourteen the low tide was going to be only two feet. Trafalgar draws 4 ½ feet. Earlier that afternnon I had stopped into Kassan to see if Harry Wasserman was there. (He had been interested in buying the boat.) But he was no longer working there and he had moved up to Sitka. I talked to an older fellow there at the dock for a while, but I got the impression that I wasn't wanted there, so ... I departed. The attitude I got from him might have had something to with the our first words.

I was walking up the dock having just come off the boat. I called out a “Hi there”, to him, and he asked me where I was from. I hate this question. So I immediatily took a bad attitude. I looked at him with a curious stare for a second and said, “AK9053 L”. Which are the numbers on my boat. My implecation was that I had just come from my boat. He could clearly see the numbers on the bow. I know he wanted me to tell him “where I was from”. He said, “Where’s the boat from?” So, I told him. “Last Port was Pertersburg.” He got a bit of a scowl on his face. He wanted me to be from some where. But I was not from anywhere I should have just made something up, like Mud Creek, Iowa or something. He clearly did not understand that to be from somewhere implies a connectedness to that place. I didn’t have a connectedness to any place. He left and then I did also.

It was only a two hour run from where I was in Kassan to the town of Hollis. I had the tide with me. I had wanted to tie-up to the state dock at hollis, but there were too many small skiffs using it. It was probably better that I didn’t tie-up there anyway. The float plane come by all the time. They made a big wake and a lot noise. Plus, the people in skiffs don't slow down when they come by. I anchored out.

After setting the anchor and making lunch I made plans to hitch-hike into Craig and collect my mail, drop Robert's stuff off, and say good bye to Jerry and Nola. Then I was going to depart for Ketchican to get fuel and grub for the trip south. Craig was about 40 mile away on the other side of Prince of Wales Island. I had planned sailing south with or without a crew. At the time I was thinking that I would sail down the inside if I could find someone to sail with me or I would go down the outside if I had to sail alone.

July 31, 1994 Hollis Anchorage

On the morning of July 30, 1994 I had hitch-hiked into Craig and spent the day roaming around. I found had out that my brother Robert was in town on July 29 and that he had left some of his gear at my friend Mike Mckimmon's house. I put the stuff that he had left on the boat in Wrangle with his gear there. Mike and I had lunch at Lacie's then I bought 10 computer disks and copied his Auto Cad and Word for Windows Programs off the computer at his work shop.

I also ran into Bob Hall. He wants me to fish Halibut for him this September. I like Bob a lot. He was a good guy to work for. I Told him that I will have to see where I am, but that if it is feasible, I would go.

While I was at Mike's house he told me that Rick Mayberry called him from Arcata looking for me. Rick was an old College friend that I had done some grant work with at Humboldt State. I called Rick the next day. We talked for almost an hour and a half. He was starving for adventure. He kept telling me about the daring shit that he had done and how he wants to do more. He said that he would ride his bicycle up to Seattle and sail down to California with me whenever I was going that way. As it was at the time; I was thinking of selling Trafalgar and doing something different. I had desided to call Harry Wasserman to see if he would make a realistic offer on the boat. But as cercumstaces would have it Harry could not be found.

On the morning of July 31, 1994 I departed alone from Hollis enroute to Ketchican. I had bought a few groceries and cleaned up enough to feel comfortable. The weather was good and the trip from Hollis to Ketchican was slow and peacefull. In the evening of July 31, I anchored up in a small bay that I forgot to record the name of and by the moring of August 1, I was tied up to the fuel dock on the southern end of Ketchican. I stayed there only long enough to fill up with fuel and water then I was off again. I sailed all night but then anchored up in a little bay near Dundas Island in the late afternoon of August 2, 1994. I sat in the cockpit sipping hot tea. I watched the crimson sunset blaze out over the western sky. Gulls glided by in rythym to the quite slap of wavelettes against the wooden hull of Trafalgar. Every so ofter a fish jumped and the splash made me whisper to myself, “Jumperrr!”

The morning of the 3rd was calm and clear, but by the time I got breakfast made and eated, the anchor up and Trafalgar into Catham Sound, the fog had arrived. To make matters worse my GPS lost its signal and I could not get it to receive another. I was in the fog, in a major shipping traffic lane and without any navigation except a compas and ears to hear the bells on the bouys. But, I thought that I was on a good course so I kept going as planned. Before the fog had completily moved, I had seen another boat to the west of me. Later in the day, still for bound, some island appeared in the mist. I was able to figure out, to my own satisfaction, what island they were and where I was, so I confidently kept on my planned couse. Later yet, I thought that I should be approching the entrance to a channel that was on my route to Prince Rupert. I was still fog bound and losing my confidence as to knowing where I was. The boat I that I had seen earlier appeared through the haze of the for. He was a little bit behind me. I noticed that the boat had a radar transmitter in its rigging. I called the vessel on the radio and asked him if I could followin him in through the entrance channel. He replied that he did know where he was and that he had been following me. I asked and found out that he not only had a working Radar but he had a GPS that was working. I was a case of the sighted following the blind. I was able to figure out where we were by asking him to read the latitude and longitude data that was presented on his GPS. Using that information, I plotted our location and quickly determined where we were supposed to go. Soon the correct bouys appeared and I knew that I had made it into the channel. Not long after getting into the protection of the channel, the fog faded away and I sped on toward Prince Rupert.

I pulled into Rushbrook Harbor at about 3 PM that day and tied up next to a sail boat called the Rascal,. After walking to the nearest payphone and calling the Canadian customs office, I went back down to the boat and waited for them to show up. While I waited for customs to arrive I changed the batteries in the GPS. I worked! I made my plans. If the fog was going to be thick in the morning then I would wait till the afternoon to depart otherwise I would depart in the early morning.

Customs arrived fairly quickly and they were incredibly nice as always. Later that afternoon I walked up town and exchanged $50US into Canadian dollars. I bought a couple of beers in a couple of different bars, looked around, and then walked back to the boat. I paid for the moorage by dropping an envelope with $14.88 in it into a drop box at the office of the harbor master.

The fog was very thick the next morning when I got up. I fixed coffe and breakfast then took off into town to look for a chart of the Queen Charlotte Island. I was thinking of sailing over the Queen Charlotte Islands and maybe even going through a very narrow and shallow passage that would bring me to the Pacific Ocean. I found a chart seller but found out that the the chart that I wanted was no longer made. Instead, the Canadian chart publishers had made two charts from the information that used to be on one chart. I was a real cheep skate so I indignatly complained about the swithch’a’roo. Despite my complaining the chart seller allowed me to inspect the charts. I looked at the channel that goes over to the west side, and it looked very shallow. I didn’t think that I could make it over there in one high tide. I changed plans and decide that would sail down Hecate Straight to Port Hardy. It would only take about three days, even if I anchored up every evening. The fog remained thick all the day so I did not depart. I spent the day walking the around town and checking out the various curiosities of Prince Rupert.

Early in the morning of August 5, 1994 I untied Trafalgar and motored over to the fueul dock. I filled the boats fuel tank with fresh Canadian fuel and topped the water tanks off with clear Canadian water and, despite the continued heavy fog, I set off for Port Hardy. The GPS was working again and I just could not stand being shore bound. I had to be on the water, surrounded by the solitude of wind and wave.

The fog was thick for awhile but as soon as I got throught he southern passage, it cleared enough to allow me to relax. The wind was on the bow for almost the day. Early in the evening I arrived on the western side of Porcher Penensula. I motored into Freeman Passage and set the anchor just inside the spit. As I sat in the cockpit drinking my after dinner tea and watching yet another incredible sunset in the western sky, I changed my plans and decided to sail to the Queen Charlotte Islands after all.

That evening two trollers, that had been fishing up and down the outside of the spit since I got here, motored into the inlet and with no hestation they set their anchors further up the bay. After the sun whent down, two more boats motored past me and set then they also anchored for the night. I fully expected there to be 10 to t15 fishing boats anchored up in this inlet in the morning. I turned on my anchor light before I laid down to sleep.

In the morning, after a lesurily breakfast, I stood at the anchor winch and with coffe cup in hand, I pressed my bare foot upon the anchor winch start button. As the winch slowily drug up the 30 fathoms of chain, I stood with my face in the cool morning breeze. The hairs on my face, chest and legs virbrated with the electric anticipation of a voyage into the unknown. With a clunck and a grind the anchor broke the surface of the water. I guided it into the bit and tied it down. I motored out of the passage and then set the sails. As soon as she found her couse, I shut off the engine and sat back to delve into the zen of the sail.

A circle of existance. A pattern of thought and observation. To me the zen of sailing is a melding of my thoughts and actions with the instantanious condition of the wind, the sails, the waves and the boat. Every thought is connected with some aspect of the now. My eyes trace a pattern of observation. A check list of condition. I watch; The lines, the sails, the compas, the horizon, the wave hieght, its period, color and shape. My eyes scan the deck of the boat. Not looking for anything, just looking. I watch the sky. I trace bird paths momentarily. My mind calculates their direction, distance and hieght. My ears listen to the songs of each and every player. The creak and crack of the wood of the boat. The whistle of the wind through the rigging. The water rumbling past or roaring behind. Sea gull screeches and fish splashes. Lines creak when stretched and sigh when loosened. My body feels the change in momentum. The lift of a swell and the force of the boat as she heels in the wind. I smell the sea. A drifting scent of a hidden shore. Or the dullness of the scent of fresh water. Pine trees in the distance. The smell of low tide or the smell of diesil exhust from an up wind vessel. All this and more. To try to describe it, is a loss of the moment of the being there.

A seiner passed me by in the morning not too soon after I had set the sails. It looked as if he was headed for the Queen Charlotte Islands. I thought that it would be nice to be able to follow guys though the passage to the West coast, but there was no way I could keep up with them.

The closer I got to Queen Charlotte the less I thought that I would attempt to travese the passage through to the Pacific Ocean. I had sailed down the coast a few years ago and although I would relish the experience to travel the passage, I just did not feel confident that I could move fast enough to avoid being caught highand dry on the rocks as the tide move out.

(August 6,1994 12:51 Queen Charlotte Lat 53°13' Long 132°)

I was only about two miles from the town of Queen Charlotte when the GPS stopped working again. I tried putting new batteries in it and when that did not get it going, I took it apart and put it in the oven to try to dry it out. Having no success getting the GPS working, I tried to get the loran to work. But, it also would not give me a position. I was without electronic navigational aide from that day forward. I took it all in stride. Althought the charts did not describe the coast in the most detail, the desciptions were good enough for me to be confident that could make it where-ever I wanted to go. I was going to arrive in Queen Charlotte late in the evening and the next day was a Sunday. I did not want to hang around till Monday arrived so, I did a little calculating and planning.

I was using about ½ gallon of fuel an hour when I ran the engine, which figured into about 10 miles to the gallon. If the wind died altogether, I could still motor the whole way from Queen Charlotte to Port Hardy. If the weather picked up and started blowing bad from the south, I figured that I could head out to sea and sail down the west coast of Vancouver through the Staits of Juan de Fuca and on into Friday Harbor. But I really wanted to gunk-hole down the east coast of Queen Charlotte Island then sail/motor through Johnstone Straight and then sail down the east coast of Vancouver Island to Friday Harbor. There were some Hot Springs on Queen Charlotte Island that I wanted to hangout in for a while.

I had a little bit of trouble getting over the Sandspit that extends north at the entrance to the channel that I had to get into to visit the town of Queen Charlotte. The sandspit just kept going north. I didn’t think that I would ever get around it. I had to drop the sails when I came upon the sand bar and then I motored around the bar. Once I got into the sound, I raised the sails and had fantastic downwind sail into the town of Queen Charlotte. Trafalgar came into town like a royal clipper ship. But alas, nobody was wathching except me. But, that was fine because I was her most ardent admirer.

When I got to the public do at Queen Charlotte, I spied a boat that knew. I failed to record the name, but the owners were a couple that knew from Bainbride Island in Washington. They owned the storage yard where I stored my Volkswagon van. I did know too well, but we talked for a short time about other mutal aquaintences. Later I walked around the small town and since it was fairily late on a Saturday evening nothing was open. I went back to the boat and slept well.

Early in the morning of the 6th I loosened the lines of the moorage and slipped out of the harbor. Getting out across the bar at Sandspit was a bit scary. The bottom came up in a matter of seconds, from 80 feet to 5 feet but, I did not hit bottom. There were some choppy waves and some nervous moments. Once I got around the corner and headed South, I had the wind at my stern. I put up the Main Sail and the Jib. I sailed with the motor helping for a while, but the wind began to pick up at about 10 AM, so I shut the engine down. Then, wind really did pick up. It was a great ride. I sheeted the Jib in tight and let the Main out. She loves to sail that way. We blasted on down the coast doing about 6.5 knots.

The wind died when I got to Lyell Island, so I started the engine and brought the Jib in. Then the wind picked up again and we blasted on down Gogit Passage. When I got past Agglomerate Island I turned into the wind and took down the Main. It was blowing very hard, so I did I sloppy job of reefing the sails. I motored the rest of the day and finally ended up in a little bay on Ramsey Island, tied to a mooring bouy. Hot Springs Island was only two miles away and I planned on going over there the next morning. The reason I stopped for the evening without going the rest of the way to Hot Springs Island was that, not only was I turning into a bit of a recluse, but I did want to have to make any hard decisions about whether to anchor or tie to an existing mooring bouy. I saw the bouy at Rasmey Island and choose the bird in the hand.

The bay on Ramsey Island was a little bit exposed to the weather. Some swells would come in the entrance a that made the boat rock and roll, but I didn’t mind that. The moorage was very secure and I did not worry about dragging anchor and ending up on the rock. Sometimes, due to bad weather or an unfamiliar location, it is impossible to sleep when at anchor. On August 7,1994 at 12:51 A8/P8PM I was moored at Lat 52° 34.4' Long 131° 24.9'

I wokeup late the morning of August 8th 1994. After fixing up some coffe and having a bowl of cereal, I rowed the dingy to the shore and dug for clams in the muddy tide exposed beach. To my amazment I found Gooyeducts. They were easy to dig up, butthey were huge. I only took two. But, even then I didn’t think I would be able to eat them both. I rowed back to the boat and put the clams in a five gallon bucket of sea water. My plan was to let them clean out a little before I dressed them out and prepared a stew.

I started he engine, untied the line and motored out the nice little bay. By 11:45 AM I had arrived at Hot Springs Island. An empty public mooring bouy was available close to shore so, I manuvered up to it and tied on. The swells were much larger than at Ramsey Island and the boat rocked back and forth it seemed like she was tugging ferociously on her leash.

The hot springs were nice, but a little more civilized than I expected. It looked as though there were some permanent dwellings there. A couple of Haida Indian houses or something. The springs were great. I got to take a bath and then I just hung around for a while soaking in the sulpherated pools for maybe two hours. It sure felt good to be clean. I was getting a little bit rank smelling and really couldn’t tell until I had gotten clean.

When I got back to the boat, I heard on the radio that the wind was going to blow out of the north for the next couple of days. So, although I had planned on staying at the hot springs for longer than two hour, (it took three days to get here form Prince Rupert), I decided to take off for Port Hardy right then. I guess I had a fire under me or something. I just could not be still for very long.

I untied the boat from the moorage and headed out. The wind was great till about 6:00 PM when it just petered out. I motored all night and navigated by the lights of the fishing boats that passed me coming from Port Hardy going to Queen Charlotte Island. The only thing I had to tell me that I was on the right course was my compas and the fact that the boats were headed my direction. I figured that I would site land the morning of the 9th somewhere North of Vancouver Island.

I had cooked up one of the clams that afternoon. It seemed so large when it was in the shell but once I had shelled it and cleaned it and taken the skin off of it, it appeared to have shrunk up a bit. But, it was good tasting. I cut it into small pieces mixed it with some rice and raman noodles, I then added calm juice and cooked it all up.

After it got dark, I brought out the seat cushion from the main cabin and put them in the cock pit. I slept out there and listened to the radar detector. It went off all the time, as since there were boats traveling North constantly. That evening motoring across the Sound, following the trail of lights left by the salmon fleet, eating clam stew and drinking hot coffee was a long night. Everytime I’d doze off, my mind would say, “HEY!”, and I’d wake with a start, check the compas couse and then lay down again.

When the sky brightened in the morning, I just had to go on faith that I was headed in the correct direction. It was reassuring to see a lot of boats coming from the direction that I was going. I was secure enough that I didn't try to contact any of the North bound travelers to get a position. It was unsettling to not know my exact position, especially after having had the GPS for full year past.

Early on the morning of the 9th I spied land. I thought that I could see Cape Scott off in the distance, on my Starboard side. To my Port was haze. The sea was calm. A three foot swell was coming from the NE. Winds were calm at less than five knot from the North. No sails were up and the engine was running at 1500 RPM. It was loud. I was about to cross the Sound.

By 9 PM on August 9,1994 I was anchored in a small bay in the lee of Cape Sutil. Lat 50° 52.4' Long 128° 02.5', on the furthest part north of Vancouver Island. Port Hardy was only about twenty miles East. I could not believe that I had gotten as far as did in only twenty-four hours. I had motored damn neer the whole way. I was feeling preety good. I had just navigated 135 miles over open water in the fog and with no electronic navigational aides. Not bad for a shot in the dark; literally. My first sight of land was Triangle Island. I was headed right for it. It was perfect. I just took a left after I confirmed where I was, and then stopped at the first good looking anchorage. Three hours from Port Hardy.

I planned on getting fuel and groceries in Port Hardy then continuing on down the inside passage. I wanted to stop in at Comax and visit a steel boat builder that I had met in Hawaii the year before. I was thinking that I should buy a detailed chart of that area. Memories of eating eating fresh picked oyster from Lascueti Island came back to me. I had eaten the rest of the clam stew ealier that afternoon, and I had come to the conclution that I don’t like them that much. I found that they are just too messy. The little ones are so much easier to eat; you just suck them off of the half shell.

August 10, 1994 was a beautiful morning. The shy was up, the sun blue. The wind was out of the North three to five knots. Before raising the anchor, I checked the tide/current program. It said the the current would be flooding into Goletas Channel at 1100. I waited a couple of hour to allow the current to change in my direction. Then off I went. I made to Port Hardy around 5 PM that evening. I went right to the public dock, tide the boat up and ran into to town to try to get some Canadian money. The banks were already closed. The banks did not open till 10:00 AM the next morning, so I walked back to the boat, untied her and motored about looking for a nice place to anchor for the evening.

The fuel docks were very busy and there were hundreds of fishing vessels in the harbor. I planned on getting fuel the next day. By about 8:30 PM I was safe at anchor and making up plans about stay in Port Hardy for a few days.

I got up fairly early on the morning of August 11th. I rowed over to the public dock, tied up, and walked around for a hour and a half till the banks opened. I missed then last night by only about ten minutes. The exchange rate was good; $137 CN for $100 US. That is almost 40%, but then again, everything was about 40% more in cost than in the States. I bought myself some breakfast. It wasn't as good as what I was able to make for myself on the boat. I went to the grocery store and bought hamburger, eggs ,cheese, and some sunflower seeds. The cheese cost more than the meat did! The I went back to the boat, pulled the anchor up and motored over to the fuel station. I didn't even have to wait. I just pulled right in there. The boat took 62.34 US gallons. That means that I had only eight gallons left in the tank. The fuel cost $107 CN. For the whole day I spent less than $100 US. That's pretty good. I paid $1.25/gal for the fuel, that's what I had paid for fuel in Craig. I had paid $1.55/gal in the Bay Area.

When I left the fuel dock, the fog had moved in. It was thick. I couldn't see fifty feet in front, in back or anywhere around me. More boats were coming in for fuel and I had to get out of there. I groped along using the fathometer to find my way back to my anchorage. I could not believe that I motored right to it. After about an hour the fog lifted in the bay, and I pulled anchor. Then I followed the receding fog bank as it dissipated toward the East. It was hard to navigate; not knowing what was in front of me, only seeing what was behind. It turned out to be a good run. The wind picked up, so I hoisted the main sail and motor-sailed into Johnstone Strait with a nice flood current helping also.

Seven and a half out of Port Hardy the transission slipped. I had been seeing a little bit oil coming out of the exhust all day, but assumed that it was just engine blow-by. I wasn’t until the transmission slipped that actually check the fluid level in the transmission and found that it was empty of oil and in fact it had some water in it. The transmission was also very hot. This worried me. I had run the engine for seven and a half hours a lot of that time while the transmission had water contaminated oil in it or no oil at all. I had shut the engine down and I sailed into the Bay, (Alert Bay). I sailed up to a mooring bouy and was able to snag the painter. I tied Trafalgar up to the bouy and I rowed in the local fuel dock. There, I bought a couple of liters of transmission oil. I then rowed back to Trafalgar filled the transmission and took off again. I was out of Alert Bay by 6 PM.

The current went slack at about 1900 and by 2030 it was noticeably strong on the nose. I wasn’t too confident that it would be fog free the next morning. The oil cooler worried me but there wasn’t much I could about except try to plug it with some RDH material. I would have taken it off and inspected it but I knew that without have any thing to fix it with, monkeying with it would only make it worse. I made my mind up that it would suffice until I got to Cambel River.

By 9:20 PM I was anchored up on the West end of West Crachoft Island, (Lat 50° 31.5' Long 126° 33.7), in a little back wash of a lagoon. The transmission was still leaking and I knew it would continue to be a problem. I sat in the cockpit and watched the fishing boat motor by. Occationally a tug boat would chug by with a huge load of logs or something. The green hills were a patchwork of clear cuts. I worried about the transmission.

On the morningof the 12th the fog was thick. At 9:30 AM I could not see the shore that less than 200 feet away from me. A bunch of gillnet boats arrived late in the previous evening. The little bay was very crowed in the morning. I hoped that the fog would lift by the afternoon. Race passage was dangerous and I was hoping that I could get through it before the morning ended. I waited and thought about how the summer seemed so winterish, cold and raining most of the time. I did not look forward to finding a place to store Trafalgar down south but there was no way that I could handle another winter in Alaska on the boat.

The fog lifted unexpectantly and I drew up the anchor and headed out. I ran the engine only to get out of the anchorage. The was blowing favorably and I blasted through race passage with the current.

Later I had to use the engine again and water started coming out of the breather tube on the op on the transmission. I tried to plug the “bad tube” with a piece of brass rod, but that did not help at all. I determined that it was rotten through and through. I disconnected the whole thing and ran it without a cooler. Since I lost all the transmission oil I put engine motor oil it. I only ran it for short periods of time but it still got very hot at times. I was sure that I was doing irrepairablr damage to it.

Regardless of the transmission trouble, I had some of the best sailing I had ever experienced. The tide was in my direction and the wind was at my back. I was really plowing the water. I really only had to use the engine twice. The wind died just as I entered the rapids of Current Passage. I needed the ability to make some radical course corrections, so I started the engine up. The transmission got hot , but at the time, there was nothing I could do. I absolutily needed the power. I started it again to manuver into the anchorage for the evening. I really played the eddies and hills for all they could offer me that day. I had my eye pealed for every little puff of wind that I could capture and every little back current. When the current was with me I rode it hard and when it turned against me I hugged the shoreline getting little pushes from the eddies, and slipping behind islands to catch local wind anomilies. I ended up anchoring in a small bay east of Edith Point at, Lat 50° 22.4 Long 125° 31.5. The anchorage its self was quite exposed to the wind. But since I planned on sailing off anchor I did mind it too much.

That night I thought about how good the day had been, then I thought about the next. I hoped that it would not be foggy the next day. The flood started at 0400. I was thinking that if I could get out of the anchorage by 0600 then I could ride the sleigh for four hours. That night I was thinking that I could even make it to Seymour narrows before noon the next day.

That nights anchorage was solitary and peaceful. Bottom fish were plentaful and so were the salmon. “God is good”, I thought to myself.

I departed the anchorage at 8:30 the morning of the 13th. The wind died to zero shortly after that. The current was supposed to be in my favor but it seemed not be. I was too used to blasting down the Stait’s at 7 or knots. I kept hoping that the wind would pick-up by by 3:30 PM I was still 8.5 miles away from Seymour Narrows. I did not think that I was going to make it through Seymour Narrows on the slack tide. So, I made a decision to start the engine and run the Narrows while the getting was good. I knew that once the tide turned the wind would follow and I would get blown back the oposite way I wanted to go.

I ran the engine 8 ½ miles through Seymour Narrows then shut her down to let her cool off. When the tide began to drag me back into the Narrows, I started the engine back up and motored all the way to Quathiaski Cove, (Lat 50° 03' Long 125° 13.2'). That run ended up being 13 ½ miles. It doesn't sound like a long way, but with the transmission not getting cooled I thought that I might have damaged it. When I shut the engine down after dropping the hook, I noticed a haze in the air of the cabin. It was hot oil. I hoped that I hadn’t smoked the transmission.

At 3:00 AM on the morning of August 14th I already had the coffee pot going. I had not realized how much current was in Quathiaski Cove. I anchored in over 50 feet of water, and didn't put out all of my chain because I thought it would be calm. I was wrong. The anchor chain dragging over rocks woke me up early. I had not moved too much, but it was unsettling to hear the grinds and growls of the steel chain on the rock below. The morning weather broadcast had predicted that the wind would be from the South East at 15 to 25 kts. I did notplan on having an excellent sailing day like I did the day before. Whenthe sun rose I pulled anchor and motored out of the bay. Once I got outside I discovered that there was no wind so I motored for about 45 minutes then I shut the enigine down, raised all sail and drifted South. After about an hour I started up the engine and motored for an other half hour. Then I shut the engine down again to let the transmission cool. At times I didn’t even drift, it was so calm. But the auto-pilot stayed busy trying to keep the boat on course. I drifted and waited for wind all day. The current drug me out of the channel and I went out into the water east of Vancouver Island. I did not even stop in Cambel River like I had planned. I could have repaired the transmission cooler there but I did not want to buck the current to get into the harbor. It was easier to just pass it by.

By 9:15 PM I was anchored in False Bay on Lasqueti Island, (Lat 49°29.5' Long 124°21.5'). I ended up motoring damn near the whole way, and then about a half hour before I got into the bay the wind picked up. It was a nice South Westerly. But once I got settled into the anchorage the wind turned around so that it blew right into the bay. It was a very uncomfortable place to be anchored. It was bouncy, deep, windy, and crowded. There must have been thirty boats in the bay. It had looked so good on the chart. I had been here once before a few years ago. It didn’t anything like what looked like the last time I had been there. Then it was empty. I had been the only boat. That night I thought about hassles that awaited me South. The closer I got to Washington the more I dreaded the hassle of dealing with the money grabbers. I was going to have to find a place to keep the boat. Then I would have to find storage for all the stuff in the boat. Then I was going to have to work on the boat. I thought about how nice it was just cruising around. I thought about selling Trafalgar and getting a smaller boat. A boat that I did live on. I could trailer it around and sail when I wanted to. I’d have to find a place to live if I did that, but then again I would have had to do that anyway.

I took off form that anchorage early the next morning. Still, I used the engine sparringly. I made into Naniamo and anchored the by by 8:00 PM on the 15th. I immediately put the dingy in the water and got work scrubbing oily black exhust residue off of the side of the boat. I swore that if I kept the boat I would buy some sound insulation and put it in the engine room. Some mufflers would help also. I had to moter the whole way from the last anchorage. I ran the engine at a very slow RPM in order to keep the temperature from rising in the transmission. The wind was right on the nose the whole way. It took eleven hours to get to Naniamo, but I did get there.

I t was nice to be back in Naniamo. I even thought about staying there. I thought about getting a job, making a few bucks then sailing down to California. There I could pick-up my solar panels and my tester, then sail down to Mexico. I caught myself before I could day dream myself in too oblivian.

I had anchored pretty far into the middle of the bay. But, the water still only about 40 feet deep. It was a very comfortable spot.

On the morning of the 16th the friggin' toilet bowl broke when I sat down on it. I’m lucky that I didn’t cut myself to bits on the ceramic device. It had broken once before. This time it broke in the same place and then some more in another place. If it ain’t one thing it’s another. I finally was able to get together enough to to row into town with the heat exchanger. I dropped it off at a radiator shop and they told me to come back around 2:30 PM. When I showed up at 2:30 the receptionist told me to come back at 4:00 PM. When I showed up at 4 PM, she told me to call back the next day around 10 AM. She told me that the repair would cost around $60CAN. After all the false stories about the pick-up time I did not have much faith in the price.

I found a great place to eat in Naniamo. The Salvation Army Kitchen. It only cost $1.75 for a bowl of chilly, salad, roll, vegetables, and fruit. It was good also. I found it when the weather turned bad and it began to thunder and lightening. I ducked under cove of the doorway of the Kitchen, so I took advantage of the oportunity to get in line and eat. The rain lasted unitl I finished the meal. When I walked out of the kitchen it was just beginning to clear-up.

While I waited for the cooler to get fixed, I walked around town. I really liked Naniamo. I thought, again, about staying long enough to get a job and make some money. I wondered about how hard it would be to get work. I walked to the ships chandlery to see about buying a new heat exchanger. While I was there I bought some epoxy to fix the toilet. I also met a boater at the chandler that agreed to drive me around to look for a another heat exchanger. Jeff Thomson was his name. We drove to a couple of places to no avail so then he drove me over to the radiator shop, but of course the exchanger was not done, Finally he drove me back to the boat basin.

The next day, (August 17), I called the radiator shop at the perscribed time. The reseptionist, (Linda), told me that I should come right down. The exchanger was shot. When I got there, I saw that they had taken one end off. I could see that it was no-good. They even pressure tested it for me, and sure enough air was coming out all over the face plate. Linda told me that she could sell me a new one for $175. I looked at the new one. It was a bit too long and the water inlet was too small. I could make it work. I asked her if she would sell it to me for $100. She said, "Sure, I just want to get rid of it." Then the shop guy came in. She told him that she was going to sell me the new one for $100. He said, "No way. We can't sell it for that little." I think I was pissing her off anyway. I was being a cheapskate. So then I started telling her that if the exchanger was back together I could limp on down to the states and get it fixed there. She told me that they could put it back together for $30. Then she started giving me all these excuses about how busy they were, and how they didn't need my business. I felt that that they should at least put it back the way I gave it to them. They give me my unit back all in pieces, and Linda adopted a very bad attitude. I guess she figured that they had me one way or another. If I didn't buy the exchanger from them I'd have to buy one from somebody else. I left with my exchanger in pieces in a bag. She came running out after me, saying that the shop guy had left a fitting of his on it. I brought it back, he took his fitting off and I left again. I got about a block away when I noticed that the fitting that I had put on the unit was not there, so I went back to get it. We could not find it. The shop guy wanted to give me a galvanized fitting, but the one I had left was brass. We looked some more. Linda came out wanting to know what was going on. The shop guy told her that we couldn't find the brass fitting I had left and to give me $3 for it. She said, "I not giving him anything. He's wasting our time." And she went into the office. I told the shop guy not to worry about it and walked out the door. I only got about 20 feet when I turned back and went into the office to see Linda. I told her that I just couldn't leave without telling her that I was very disappointed in the way I was treated. She started giving me the excuses again about how busy they were, etc. I let her go on for a while, then I interrupted her and said. "I'm not interested in hearing excuses about how you can't help me." Then I really pissed her off when I told her that, "Excuses are just a detailed account of your failure." She was a trooper though. She had to have the last word. She said something stupid and irrelevant, then she turned her back on me. I left feeling no joy.

I spent the rest of the afternoon gathering parts to build a heat exchanger. I put one together for less than $30. I took two 1 inch pipe tee's with a 8 inch length of pipe between them so that a 1.5 foot length of 1/2 inch copper tube would fit straight though it. Then I put a 1 inch to 3/4 inch reducer on each end of the tee's so that the copper tube now goes through them also. Then I slid a 1/2 inch compression by 3/4 inch pipe male fitting over each end of the copper tube so that the pipe end of that fitting threaded into to the reducer. Then I tightened it all down. I made a length of copper tubing that goes through a piece of pipe that will not leek. I then put a 1 inch elbow on each of the remaining tee's. To the elbows I threaded pipe to hose nipples, and attached them to the raw water inlet and outlet there-by providing the cooling to the inserted copper tube. I then attached the hydraulic lines from the transmission to the copper tube. I started it up and checked for leaks. There were none. All that remained to be seen was the cooling ability of the genuine RDH repair.

I had spent all day working on the toilet repair and the cooler repair. Later that night I went back into town to see if I could drink the rest of my Canadian money. I only had $40 left, but still I couild not do it, and drinks were expencive too. I only spent $25 and some of that I lost playing pool to some teenagers.

The morning of the 18th I woke up with a hangover. I didn’t want to arrive in the US on a weekend or after 5 PM since the last time I did that it cost me about $40 more than if I would have waited for the next day. I deside to hang out in Canada for one more day. The boat was a pig sty and I could use the time to clean it up.

I took off from Naniamo fairly early. I had a fun time going though Dodd Narrows, just south of town. I put the newcooler to the test. The cooler worked fine. The current was full bore against me. I just crawled through. There was a lot of traffic going the other way. I anchor up for the night early in one of the thousands of available nooks and crannies amoung the archipelo of islands called the San Juans. I was just a short run from Friday Harbour.

I finished reading another Ken Follet book that night. I decided that he was a terrible writer and that I would not read his again. He' had a 200 foot freighter with a 30 foot beam and a 2,000 horse power, six cylinder, gasoline engine, that does 13 knots, hauling uranium ore in 55 gal barrels. Jeeze, he could have done a little bit of research.

It was peaceful that night. A little rain squall passed over. The wind gusted about and shoved Trafalgar first one then back the other. The boat was in 25 feet of water and she was holding well. I had over 100 feet of chain out.

I arrived in Friday Harbor just after noon on the 19th. I called the customs office when I got in. They cleared me over the phone, and said that they would send me a bill for the privilege of entering the United States of America. I talked to Customs Agent 9121. He gave me a number and told me that I should keep hold of it for a couple of years. My customs release number is 441 493 B. My Canadian customs number is RO 401-I03.

Friday Harbor was very crowded with tourists. There were many boats there also. I checked the fuel prices. They wanted $1.24 + $0.24/gal. Fuel was cheaper in Canada. I filled the water tank while I was at the customs dock. Then I ran her a little ways out and dropped anchor. My mind ran with cluttered with various plans. I thought about calling around for a place to put the boat. I thought about cleaning her up and sailing her down to California. I thought about calling Rick up and finding out what he had going on.

The night of the 19th I went to a local fair. I was very Yuppie and politically correct. It reminded me of a miniature hippie town.

The only person that I contacted on the phone was my father, RD. He was irrigating and was a bit tired.

When I came into the Harbor earlier in the day I saw a boat that used to tie up next to me when I had Trafalgar over at Shipyard Cove, the Sea Gypsy. She looked very good back them. When I saw at anchor as I arrived, she looked very bad indeed. The paint wass peeling off of it, and the seams were all opened up. Seeing the Sea Gypsy like that made me very sad. I didn't want that to happen Trafalgar. I went over to the Sea Gypsy to see if the same guy owned it, but nobody was home. There was a lot of growth on its bottom and rot all over her. She was a nice boat at one time. She's very beamy, and had a lot of deck space.

I didn’t hang out in Friday harbor like I thought I was going. On the spur of the moment, I departed for Port Townsend. By late afternoon I was anchored in one of my favorite places; in front of the Sea Galley returant. The ideas were flying through my mind like a wild fire through a dry forest. The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival was going to be happening soon and I planned on getting Trafalgar prettied up for sale at that event.

The next day I pulled anchor early and sailed on down to Winslow harbor. I had my Volkwagon van stored there along with a bunch of other stuff. After arriving in Winslow I hung out for awhile and decided to spend only one month to try to sell the Fanfare/Trafalgar. If I didn’t have a sale in the works by the end of September then I was going to sail down to Mexico. I rented a slip at Winslow Wharf Marina and proceeded to clean the girl up. With my new computer I printed up some nice adds and distributed them around the area. Going as far north as Everett and as far south as Tacoma.

One morning a woman came up to me and Said, ”I love your Boat. I want to Buy her.” I answered, “Great. I want to sell her.” Then she said, “I don’t have any money.” “Too bad.” I replied. “That, is what I want for her.”

She went on to tell me that she had some paintings and she would be willing to trade for them. I told her to sell the painting then come back with the money. I found out that her name was Julia Turk. Julia kept checking on the boat and I eventually I went over to her place and looked at her painting. They reminded me too much of the life I had left behind with Nellie. Lots of mystisism and hocus-pocus. Still, I figured that they were so far out that she had to be on to something. Julia remained in communication and to this day e-mail each other frequently.

The Port Townsend Wooden boat festival was coming up and I planned to sail her up there and show her off. I put new paint on her hull and topsides. I cleaned her engine room, (Oh, yea… I bought a new Transmission cooler at Doc Freeman’s for $35.), shined up the bright work, and headed over to Port Townsend.

Nothing happened in Port Townsend as far as boat selling went, but I did manage to meet some interesting people and to participate in the racing. The Fanfare showed well.

On coming back to Winslow I heard that someone had been asking around about my boat. I went in search of the mystery man. I was pointed in the direction of an other marina, and off I went.

I made my way to a boat where there was much construction going on. Inside was a man surrounded with pieces of wood and assorted hand tools. I called to him. He stopped work and poked his head out of the hatch-way to talk to me. I asked about the mystery man named Wrigley. He told me that Wrigley was the owner of the boat he was working on. As we talked, I had a powerful feeling that I as had met this man before. I mentioned this to him, and he agreed that there was something familiar about me to him also. So, I started to list places, Kodiak, San Francisco, Hawaii, etc.… It turns out, I had met Eric in Hawaii the summer before. We were both anchored in the mouth of the Nawilliwilli River. He was getting ready to solo to Seattle and I had just arrived from Honolulu. We had drunk a bottle of rum with a couple of other anchor-outs. After discovering our connection, we decided to meet again in the evening.

I went over later and met his wife Jane. They were living on their Tri-maran, in the same marina where he was working, just next to where I had my boat. He told “Richard Wrigley”, that I had come over. And I was eventually able to catch up with Richard. Barbara had come over to the Island to visit the Fanfare on the day that I talked with Richard. He mentioned that he wanted to load the vessel with beer and sail it to Japan, for some kind of promotional stunt. He owns a local brewery-restaurant in Seattle, and wanted to expand into Japan. His idea sounded crazy enough to me that I told him I’d like to sail the boat with him to Japan. We made the deal. And I sold the boat to him a couple of days later, for 8 thousand dollars more than I paid for it. He paid me $10,000 to seal the deal and then he took off England for two weeks.

When he got back he asked me to help him get the boat ready for the trip. We agreed to a wage of $120/day and that was that. A couple of days later we hauled the boat out at the local marina and had it surveyed. She was in surprisingly good shape but he was thorough in his commitment to bring into good enough shape to sail to Hawaii and on to Japan. He hired Eric to do some wood repairs and he hired Julia to refinish the bright work. We put new rigging on her. Richard had a beautiful custom designed spinnaker made for her.

After almost 9 months of repair, we were getting very close to the scheduled departure date. Richard had made sure that the departure was cover by the Japanese media. Three camera crews were going to be at the Seattle Public Dock to film us loading the beer into the boat and departing from Seattle. The Departure date arrive and we were not ready to leave. But, that did not stop Richard. We sailed the Fanfare over to the Seattle Public Dock> When the camera crew arrived, we walked a few cases of beer down into the boat. Richard was all smiles. He said fairwell to his wife and child. He waved to the small crowd, climbed aboard the fanfare and commanded me to cast off. I walked forward and cast loose the bow line. Richard, in his excitement, thought that I had cast all the lines loose and put the boat into forward. With a wave of his hand and a smile on his face he cheerily took off. The cameras were rolling. This was his moment and I did not want to make him look bad, but the stern line was still tied up to the dock. He commanded me to get on board but instead, I quickly walked to the stern line and untied it. I got the line off of the cleet just before it would have pulled tight ad ripped the boat’s bit out of it bedding. But, I missed getting on the boat before it left the dock. Since everyone was focused on the departure and the camera and hoopla, no one saw what I had done. Or even noticed that I had averted a major disaster. All everyone noticed was that I had failed to get on the boat when it had departed.

Richard was in command and singlehandeling it. This scared the hell out of him since he did not know how to operate the boat. I tried to direct him without yelling at him or being condensending to him. The cameras were still rolling and the gathered crowd was laughing. I got him to turn the boat around. He came into the dock too fast but I did want to yell at him. All I could do was jump on board get to the contols as calmly as possible. With him still appearing to be at the helm, I gave him steering instructions and operated the throttle. We departed with less fanfare than we should have in that some of Fanfare was left sticking to the dock and the excitement was a bit less that it would have been without the mishap. But, we weren’t really departing for Japan right then anyway. We were actually headed back across the bay to the boat slip we just come out of. We still needed some work to do on the old girl.


Right now I'm about 200 miles west of San Francisco aboard the Sailing Vessel Fanfare. I'm Sailing with the owner Richard Wriggly. He purchased the boat from me last September with this trip in mind. I don't know if he is satisfied with the way things have gone, but we are eight days into a trip that is to last several months and despite some rather unpleasant circumstances we are committed to its completion regardless of either one of our personal differences.

After getting a late start at fixing the boat up, Richard increased the number of alterations to the vessel without moving the deadline forward. To tell the truth I don't know how I got so involved in this project. I guess that I opened my mouth too many times and said, "I can do that.", or ," That's not hard to do I'll help you do that." I did not realize until it too late for me pull out that Richard does not do anything unless there is no other way to get it done. At that point he is actually quite capable. But until then he is too busy to actually do it himself.

Anyway, I suffered through all that and was actually quite satisfied with the way things ended up. We departed Port Townsend May 5th. One month late from our intended departure. Our spirits were high and all was well. We were only about three miles out of the harbor when a pipe on an oil line broke on the engine and all the oil in the engine was pumped into the bilge. There was no low pressure alarm so the engine seized up. What a blow. It took the spirit out of me. It was a bad sign, and I took it for a bad sign. I should have walked away at that moment and started something else. But, feeling guilty that the fault was mine, I told Richard that I would give him one thousand dollars toward a used engine and install it for no charge.

Richard went off to do what he does best. Talk on the phone, think, and make decisions. I began to remove the seized engine from the boat. I figured that if I could get the old one out in one day, (which was quite a job), then I could get the new one installed in three days. I actually did get the old Ford dismantled and everything out of the boat, (except the transmission and the block), in one day.

We sailed the boat back into Port Townsend Friday evening. By Saturday evening I was ready to pull the engine block out, but I did not have any place to put it and I needed to use a hydraulic lift to do the actual removal. I figured I would spend Sunday going back to West Seattle and getting my pickup truck. I'd be back in Port Townsend late Monday morning. By that afternoon I'd have all the parts out of the boat and the engine room ready for the new engine.

By Saturday evening Richard had lined up two possible engines. One was a brand new 30 bhp Yanmar with a prop and everything. The price was higher than he wanted to pay and the power was half that of the old engine. But it was here and it could be in and ready to go by Friday. He balked at the price and he balked at the power. The other prospect was a 55 bhp Isuzu that supposedly had only 25 hours on it. It needed a transmission but we could use the one from to Ford.

Richard's wife came over with their mini-van Sunday. We spent Sunday and Monday driving around talking to people about engines and looking at a few. It was all very discouraging to me, but Richard seemed in his element. The Yanmar was all there but it was very small. We then drove out to Silverdale to look at the Isuzu. It was horrible looking and I immediately said, "no way lets not waste out time." So, we took off for Seattle in search of a replacement.

Richard had faith in the word of the owner of the Isuzu and thought that it was just cosmetic; i.e., nothing a little clean-up wouldn't fix. He talked to a shop in Ballard that said they would go over it to make sure it had compression and that it would run etc.. To make a long story short after a few days wasted in Seattle we went back to Port Townsend, pulled the Ford out of the boat and hauled it over to a friend of mine's house for storage. Then we picked up the Isuzu from Silverdale and dropped it off at the shop in Ballard. We then spent a few more days going around in circles trying to get everybody to stop what they were doing and help us. Turned out the Isuzu was a piece of junk. No problem, Richard had found a guy in Kent that could rebuild a Perkins 4-108 and ship it to us in Hawaii. We pulled an old 8 hp Renault engine out of Richard's basement and installed that one the boat to use as a generator.


We are at 36°26' N and 130°12' W. We are not going any where very fast, as the wind has died to nothing. The GPS still has us moving at about 2.5 kts but it sure doesn't look like it.

Fanfare departed Port Townsend unceremoniously on the 19th of June. At about nine in the morning we untied the line to the dock and immediately blew into the boats across from us. We scraped a bit of paint off the bow and injured our pride a bit but other than that all went well. We sailed out of the harbor, into Discovery Bay, around Point Hudson, and out of the Sound.

We rode the Ebb out as far as Port Angeles then slowly worked our way out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It took two days to make it around Cape Flattery, but once out in the Pacific Ocean we progressed very quickly. Until that is, today.

No wind all day long. I filmed Richard doing some stuff on deck. He raised the Spinnaker. For all his professed ability to think things out he seems to have a bit of a hard time figuring fairly simple things through but he does try hard. I sense that he wants me to look up to him. I can understand that, I also would like for him to see the good in me and look up to me. We talked quite a bit today. I learned a bit more about him. Apparently he is a conceptual designer. He has done some resort areas in some third world countries. He is older now and on the slide.


We hit a patch calm winds. It sounds weird but a series of high pressure zones are lined up to the west of us and it looks like we could be in this no wind situation for some time. I hate sailing with other people. This trip reinforces in me the desire to either sail with a woman that knows absolutely nothing about sailing or to sail alone. But to sail with a man that knows nothing, but believes that he can figure out through reason the way to get from Seattle to Hawaii, well it is difficult for me. I don't like to yell or force my way. Richard is relentless in pursuing his way. He wont let up. On the south from Cape Flattery I told him that we should be about 100 miles off shore, but during his shifts at the wheel he managed to get us out 250 miles. That was fine while conditions were right, we blasted along. But, I knew it would not last. A actually steered us East quite allot during my stints at the wheel. When we got to the Latitude of San Francisco Richard wanted to turn even more west. I resisted, but again he would steer the boat the way he wanted to go.

I hate to make it look like he is the bad guy here, for I did allow it to happen. I could have been a jerk and told him to steer the way I tell and don't argue. But there was a small chance that the weather would allow us to go this direction. In effect I was an accomplice in this decision. If I had forced my way he would have bitched and moaned and whinnied about how we should have gone his way, about how much further ahead we would have been.

Example: Just this morning I went out and looked at the sails and ideally said, " We should take the boom off the spinnaker." Richard replied, "Oh no, it is fine the way it is." That kind of interaction normally would not bother me except for the fact that Richard wanted me along for this trip because I had experience and I assume because my opinion was worth something. But the fact is that none of my opinions have been used unless they are obvious. Ones of the nature of; "Put the line in the block the other way you've got it going in the wrong way."

I told him the other day that I could not work with him on the engine installation, and that he should hire someone to install it. He was a bit shocked but did not say anything to me about it. I think he knows me well enough to know that all he has to do is wait until I'm in a good mood and I might agree to install it anyway. He is good at passive aggressive techniques. Besides I don't know what I'll do instead. Hawaii is fairly expensive. I do want to get this project out of the way. But working with him is mind numbingly frustrating. I'm off for now.

It's about 2300 right now. We had a great day. Not much wind but very smooth sailing. At one point we had five sails up. The Yankee, Stays'l, Main, Mizzen Stays'l, and Mizzen. Later we had to take it all down and put the spinnaker up. We went faster but it wasn't as pretty. We also had a beautiful sunset. I ran the generator for two hours this evening, and should run it for another two hours tomorrow. We lost a bit of diesel fuel as the Renault had a broken fuel line that has been leaking for quite some time now. I suspect that we might have lost at most ten gallons. There is still a lot of fuel in the bilge. I have to find away to get it out of there without using too much soap. I repaired the line with the cover to an ink pen and a bunch of electrical tape.

Richard stubbed his toe on a shackle yesterday and has been complaining about it all this afternoon. I made a nice spaghetti dinner this evening that was enjoyed by the whole crew. The weather fax has been working great. I'm beginning to get it figured out. It is nice to have all these toys to play with. It is almost midnight so I'm hitting the sack.

29 May 95

We had a pretty good day today. The wind turned around to the North instead of from the West as it has been for the last couple of days. An albatross has been following us for three days now. It is a small one. It brings a bit of joy to our solitude.

Richard and I have had quite a few interesting conversations mostly about politics, economics, and Richard. I add a bit of my life when I can, but living a simple life of fishing and dealing with people on a level other than that of business is not as interesting to Richard as telling me about all the important things he has done, important people he has talked to, and the important places he has been. I feel as though I am a therapist. Maybe I will take that stance tomorrow. I will only as him questions. Let's face it, he is here for time-off. He does not need me antagonizing him, and baiting him. I need an attitude adjustment with regard to how I picture Richard. I can't view him as a self-absorbed lonely guy I need to see him as worthy of my friendship. Without letting him use me. When I say "use me" I mean, at some level I need to recognize the needs of my own Ego. I know that I don't care to be at the beck and call of someone else, but my need to have others think highly of me (like me), sometimes clashes with my need for independence. This is all bull shit. I just get pissed off when he expects me to do stuff for him that's all.

He is in the galley right now cooking up some dinner. I'm sure it is a chore, because there is a great big swell coming out of the North West that is giving us quite a ride right now. The auto pilot is doing a good job. It is definitely being worked hard.

I filmed Richard cooking dinner which is a farce because he has never done it before. Except for heating up a can of soup. He made a great production of his culinary debut, giving a narration and such. The meal turned out to be good. So, now he won't be able tell me he can't cook. I'm going to work on getting a fax now.

While I was down below playing with the fax, a nice big swell turned us into the wind and the extra pressure on the spinnaker parted the halyard up at the mast head. We hauled the sail out of the water and back on board. Then put up the Main sail and the small stays'l. Now we are barreling along at 6 knots on a south heading. The auto pilot is working valiantly but is slipping quite a bit. I may have to hand steer it for a while.

30 May 95

A ship darn near ran us down last night. I saw it coming from a long way off. And at one point it appeared that they turned right toward us. I finally contacted them on the VHF and asked them if they saw us and to let them know that we were here. He told me that, Yes he saw us and not worry he would avoid us. Then he continued to get closer. By that time I had turned Fanfare off course, but it had to be up to him to avoid hitting us. In the end he came within a couple of hundred yards. It wasn't scary but it was annoying. He saw our red Navigation light and had plenty of time to go behind us. Oh, well.

I finally washed my hair this morning. I went as long as I could. I could take it no longer. I also washed my upper body. It was a bit chilly to do it in morning, as the weather is overcast, and blowing from the North with fair intensity. Once we get into the Trade Wind situation it will be nice to take a shower with the solar shower.

31 May 95

I slept until 1000 this morning. I'm getting lazy. Two weeks into the trip and it looks like another two weeks to go. Yesterday Richard and I got into a conversation about gun ownership. He is against it and my arguments for it even though they made sense to me could not penetrate his prejudice. He even got a bit mad at me, ( a first), and told me that he did not want to discuss the subject anymore.

I found the walkman that Julia gave to the boat, so now I'm listening to Tanya Tucker. Finally I'm have escaped the boat.

The winds are very weak today. We are just drifting alone. There is a confusion of swells from different directions; remnants of past or far off storms. The battery situation is strange. Yesterday, Richard could not be heard on the Radio due to low battery power. The alternator doesn't seem to be charging very fast or with much power. The maximum amperage that it has put out has been around 10 amps. It tested out at 60 amps. I suspect that the internal regulator is tuned too low. Oh, well it will have to do for the trip to Honolulu. I'm not going to mess around in the engine room. We will just have to run it for longer periods of time.

Two weeks to go. Then two to four weeks in Honolulu. Then six weeks to Japan. Then two weeks in Japan. Then...?

The filming of this trip is bothering Richard. The Japanese want film of life on the boat. Richard has an interest in having film taken. I am not particularly interested in being Richard's personal photographer. But Richard sure doesn't want the film to of me. I can see it in his facial expressions. He needs film, but he doesn't want me to be in the lime light. I don't need film. I don't want to film. Especially when He doesn't do anything but the film will be of him doing everything. I will not be a part of it. Next subject.

June 1, 1995

The batteries are not holding up the way they should. The oil topped ones, I think, are losing their holding capacity. We just need to run the charging system more often and for longer periods of time. Other than that everything seems to be holding up.

June 2, 1995

I had a hard time stating the Generator this afternoon. Eventually I had to open a propane bottle and let the engine's air intake suck the propane into the combustion chamber before it would fire. It did work. I would have used starting fluid but we don't have any. I went up the main mast this afternoon and fed the spinnaker halyard back though the block at the top of the mast. The boat was bouncing around quite a bit so it was a good ride. Richard went up the mast first, but he could not reach the block. I have not been up there in a long time, so I took time to check everything out. The rigging all looks pretty good, etc. Richard hoisted up the video camera and I took some shots of the boat and the horizon. When the camera got down to the deck Richard took some pictures of me but he only took about 30 seconds of film.

We have less than 1000 mile to go. We should be in Honolulu by the 14th for sure. I called Barbara today. She sounded awfully surprised to hear from me. But I had left a message on her recorder to days ago saying that I would call back. Oh well. It did not sound like she wanted to go to Honolulu for a week. But you never know. It would be nice if she did. If she doesn't do this it could be the end of our relationship. The relationship is pretty strained as it is so it could be the end of it anyway. But then again I am willing to give it another go, maybe we can work it out. That's all for today.

June 3, 1995

Unbelievable. The boom broke last night. I got up in the middle of the night because it sounded like the main had backed. Sure enough it had. I loosened the preventer and the vang but the boom would not come over. The next thing I know, the boom broke in half at the spot where the vang was attached. Apparently the jam cleat on the vang jammed. With all the pressure of the wind on that one point the boom naturally gave way right there. Richard and I worked on taking everything down. We tried to sail the Main loose footed but it just would not work. We ended up bringing it down and putting up the Yankee. I wish we had brought one of the Genoa's. The Yankee is a bit too small to push us fast enough and the spinnaker is just too big and light for sailing in this squally weather.

When I got up this morning there were rain squalls on the windward horizon. We had planned to rise the spinnaker this morning, then work on repairing the boom. Right now the boat is rocking madly. I hate to put the spinnaker up if the squalls hit us with heavy wind.

Richard's restaurant is not doing well at all. I'm worried that the checks he gave me are not covered. I even asked him about that. He said, "They'll be god some time." I had to laugh out loud.

We have a bunch of epoxy so, we do have the means to glue the boom back together. We will have to wait for the sun to dry the boom ends now that it has rained. If the squally weather abates we can run with the spinnaker the rest of the way to Honolulu. What a way to come into town. No engine and no main. Richard is getting his adventure. I'm just worried that I wont get my cash.

I feel almost as depressed as when the engine crapped out on us. I mean it is a major blow to lose an engine and the Main boom. I remember seeing a boom just like this one, at Honolulu. That was two years ago, but you never know it may still be around. The good thing is that I have repaired this boom before and I do know how to do it. When it comes down to it, all we need is a pole long enough to span the length of the foot.

Unbelievable as it sounds, we epoxied the boom back together. Right now it is about 2240 hours and the boom is clamped together sitting across the cockpit. We had a beautiful day of spinnaker sailing and fine weather for boom repair. Tomorrow we shall see if the main sail is up to it. As of this moment we are blasting along at about 6.5 knots in about 20-25 knots of wind. Richard broke open his 20 year old scotch this evening and we drank about half of it. We also tasted a bottle of the beer. Richard set up the camera on the forward hatch cover and we filmed dinner and then we filmed our tasting of a bottle of the cargo. Richard had positioned the camera so that I was not in the picture, so I had to reposition it to include me in the shot. Sometimes he can be such a whore.

June 7

We have not tried the glued boom yet as there has been only down wind sailing, and the Yankee seems to doing a more than adequate job. The seas are very choppy, so much so that the poor auto pilot needs help. This means that someone has to be up to lend a hand. We are still doing the four hours four hours off routine. This is getting very old. The motion is particularly annoying and the monotony of assisting the auto pilot is wearing on my nerves. Richard just now flew across the galley and slammed into the toilet door. No harm done to either. But it does illustrate the violence of the rolling and the difficulty of doing everyday tasks with which we must deal with. It is so difficult to just stand around or walk around that I find myself in one of two positions; sitting at the wheel or sitting in bed. Anything else is subject to immediate change due to a moving boat underneath ones self.

It is beginning to get muggy. It was cool but humid last night. This morning it is warm and humid. I have a feeling that this afternoon it will be hot and humid. Richard is looking petty tired lately, but we still manage to have an hour or two of lively discussion in the afternoon. Tempers have not flared. All in all Richard is a good shipmate.

The Renault is giving me trouble. It will not start without a splash of gasoline down the air intake. The auto-pilot is working so hard that it draws more power than is typical, plus I don't think the batteries are in good shape. My shift is just beginning and I don't usually start the generator on my shift because Richard can't sleep in the aft cabin with it running. I guess the exhaust sneaks in there.

We are down to only two rolls of toilet paper. Thank God we only have a few more days to go.

I have been trying to make a plan for what to do after the delivery is over. ( I really hope that these check are good.) I do not want to have to own and or bring the Fanfare back to the states. It would be nice to sight see around Japan for a week or two, then go over to China. Maybe there is something that I can find to import to the East from the West. I'll have to start keeping a list of Ideas. I'll put them in the Notes portion of the windows program.

The importation of Natural Beef into Japan, or computers into China from Japan. I don't know. There has to be something I can do while I'm over there. Computers from Japan to Russia. Chinese diesel engines into the US. I would also like to go to Vietnam and Hong Kong. I want to see what is going on out there. Why does the United States seem so screwed up. I've got to make myself something to eat then I'll think some more.

It is now 1400. It's hot. It's humid. Richard is talking about the next leg of the trip. The words tropical cyclone and typhoon come out of his mouth easily. There is no fear. It is the talk of ignorance. A phrase comes to mind," Fools go where angels fear to tread." It is possible to make it there in less than six weeks but I doubt it. Over.

It is now 1700. I had started the generator earlier, ( at about 1430). Richard shut the generator down about ten minutes ago. I was planning on running it extra long today to see if I could get the voltage up to fourteen. I asked Richard, ( sort of passive aggressively ) about shutting off the generator. I hadn't realized that he was slowly going mad out there in the cockpit. The auto-pilot noise the generator noise the noise of the rigging slapping around with the windless swells, and the rolling around of gear in the boat had combined with the particularly nauseating exhaust fumes that collected in the cockpit enclosure, and the stifling heat of an extremely humid day had grated upon his nerves till something had to give. So he shut the generator down turned off the auto-pilot and made himself a couple marmite sandwiches. All is well on the Fanfare now, but it was close to mutiny.

June 7, 95

We put the Spinnaker up this morning. The wind has calmed down some what and the swells also are a bit less choppy. The sun is out in all its radiant fierceness. I have some sun burn on my shoulders from working on the deck yesterday. I have no yet started the generator today. I should because the batteries seem to be low. The inverter that I plug the computer into beeps when the voltage drops to low. I have figured an easy way to get the generator started. I put a bit of gasoline into a spray bottle, then as Richard turns the starter over I spray a little into the air intake. She kicks over quickly doing that. I only worry that I don't blow the head gasket or punch a hole into a cylinder using the gasoline.

I've been reading a lot of books, and thinking about the future. Chile, (as in the country,) has an appeal to me. It sounds god to say that I'm going to go to Chile. China sounds like a nice stop also. I can get a one week rail pass for Japanese rail travel. And there is a ferry to China. Something to think about. I believe that I would like to travel around mainland China for a week or two. Then go on down to Vietnam and on to Thailand. I could just keep going east, into Bangladesh and India. Then onto Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia and Eastern Europe. Maybe even down to Africa. I need to get some business cards printed up in Hawaii. Richard started a non-profit organization called the American Institute of Human Engineering and Development. I like the sound of that. You can present your card to someone and if you have that printed on it you are seen as a non-bum. I'm are doing research. That's it. I can go around asking questions, and trying to come up with solutions to problems using appropriate technology and traditional native social and economic resources. I've got my computer to write down stuff. What I need is a place to publish stuff. Maybe some publication like Mother Earth Magazine.

The American Institute of Appropriate Technology and Human Development.

The American Institute of Appropriate

Technology and Human Development

A non-profit organization

Brien G. Hamilton : Research Engineer

That could be my Business card. I like it. I'll have a couple of hundred printed up while I'm in Honolulu

It is now 2130 of the clock, Seattle time. I've had three shots of scotch whiskey and I'm feeling pretty good. The wind is blowing 20 kts ENE and we are right on track. Our speed is an incredible 7 kts steady. The end is not in sight but the mid point is. I don't know what I'm going to do about the engine installation. Even though I told Richard that I wasn't going to do it I think he assumes that I am. The first thing that I have to do is cash the checks that I have. If they don't go though then....? We shall see.

I filmed Richard as he was calling his wife on the radio-telephone. That should be a thrill for all the viewers. Got to go.

June 8, 95

0315 Richard just went to the rack about a half an hour ago. We had an interesting discussion from about 0100 to 0230. He gave me his view of what life was or is. This is what I gather he said.

"Instead of souls, being within individuals, the life force of humans consists of a connection to a stream of potential. Bodies are controlled by the physical, i.e.; the organs that are within. The ( essence ) of life comes from outside."

I tried to get him to explain this concept to me in terms that I could understand, and I posed some questions in order to further clarify his meaning. He did not like the idea of individual souls inhabiting a body. He likened a soul, ( his understanding of what others believe a soul to be,) to a distinct packet isolated from the rest of the universe and having a center with boundaries. I asked him what he thought created separate individuals. He answered the he didn't believe there was such a thing. Next I asked him why then can I only see though my eyes and not see through his eyes or through every persons eyes for that matter. "Why then are you in there and me in here. If there is no individual then why can't you be me and I be you. What is the mechanism for continuity of consciousness. He didn't have and answer for that question, but seemed to imply that it was possible for him to be external from himself. We are on a sail boat so I asked him if he thought he could be with an inanimate object. He said that he could be. I asked if he thought he could be within me. He said that it was possible. This sounded ridiculous to me, and I suppose that my tone of voice began to sound a bit condescending.

"What." I cried, " You can't be within me." He claimed that he could. "O.K. then make my arm move." I said, as I held my arm out straight. Of course he could not do it, so instead of back tracking and clarifying his meaning he chose to attack my need for proof. He claimed that my desire for proof was the same limiting need that drives the blindness of religion. I countered that his belief without the support of proof was indeed Faith. " Faith, is the fundamental element of religion." I told him.

At this point communication had broken down and we were bickering. He could not handle the energy of my argument but instead chose to view it as violence. I don't think that he is used to people questioning his statements. At one point I had to tell him not to patronize me. I do think that he has thought about some of this stuff to a certain degree but I honestly believe that I am beyond him. I have already dispersed with those trivial belief systems as being not meaningful. Explanations are just fluff. I need enlightenment.

I'm getting a head ache

June 9,95

Time: 1650 hr's.

The generator is running, it has been for about two hours now. The batteries are up pretty good. I should tell Richard that he can shut it down now, but I'll wait until I finish with the computer. Some times the inverter doesn't have enough supply voltage to charge the computer batteries.

I washed my hair and faze last night. I really needed that. It was getting to where I could hardly stand it. We are making incredible time; a constant 7 knots in the correct direction. It looks like we could arrive in Honolulu by Sunday afternoon. That would be great. I could go into town early Monday morning and cash these checks that I'm holding from Richard.

Richard and I have not spoken much today. I'm not up for another battle, and I'm receiving a lot of weird vibes from him. I think that he is pissed off about last nights discussion and is looking for an opening for a good put down toward me. I'm not in to it. after reading what I wrote last night it sounds petty and foolish. But I did drink about a third of a fifth of scotch whiskey and Richard did drink two bottles of his extra strong beer.

I saw a ship this afternoon. It looked like a big tanker. It seemed to coming at us. Then it appeared to veer East then later it changed direction again to come across our bow. Then it changed again and went away from us on an apparent track toward Hawaii. It's movement was definitely curious, so I turned on the VHF radio thinking that they believe us to be in trouble. I didn't attempt to call them, and I never heard from them. The vessel eventually disappeared ahead of us in the same direction in which they appeared. Maybe they had a break down and returned to Hawaii.

Richard has been hand steering for about three hours now. He has been doing very good. The auto-pilot just react fast enough, and when it does it either goes to far or not far enough. These following seas are rough on Navico.

For some strange reason I'm not looking forward to getting off the boat in Hawaii. I would not mind if we just continued going toward Japan. But alas, we need an engine and food, not forget the Japanese film crew that is going to be there to document the occasion. If we end up anchoring in front of Wakiki beach I think that I'll stay aboard and wait for the morning. Richard can go ashore an spend money.

Time: 2200

We had another beautiful sunset. The Moon was already up high in the sky to the east. Clouds surrounded the orange-yellow globe to the west. Shafts of golden light illuminated the salt air beneath the clouds, creating an incredible spoked wheel of majestic splendor. Sea gull have arrived. The albatross no longer follow us. Schools of flying fish break the surface of the choppy sea. They remind me of quail dashing for a new hiding place after being disturbed. I've Ben finding a few flying fish and squid on the deck of the boat in the mornings, but not enough to make a half a meal out of. Good night.

June 10, 95

Time: 1440

It is Saturday. The auto-pilot finally started going bad. It sounds like it did before it went completely useless that time going across the Gulf of Alaska. One day of hand steering will not kil us. We should be in Honolulu in about 30 hrs. The spinnaker is up, the seas are choppy and confused. I didn't sleep much last night, due to the fact that I drank a big mug of strong tea. I listened to the auto-pilot grinding away. I wish I could record it here. Some times in the middle of the night I wake-up thinking that Richard is choking and trying to clear his throat, but it is just Navico laboring away at the helm.

The brand new spinnaker is getting beat up. The New Yankee jib is also getting a bit worn in places. The new main sail is dirty, and doesn't have a sail cover. The stays'l doesn't have a sail cover either. I can see that this here boat is falling to pieces. The aluminum port lights are corroding badly in places. The water tank is loose some where; it makes one heck of a creak and grown on certain sailing conditions. Water is coming in from some where. I'd like to find that one out before we take off for Japan. The amount of water coming in is not enough to worry about but it is annoying.

The spinnaker had a stainless steel pendant attached to the tack so that the foot of the sail was above the pulpit. The pendant was rubbing on the rolled up Jib and wearing quite badly. I spliced up a rope pendant to replace it. It is working fine right now but an eye must be kept on. It may wear against the roller furling drum and part. Gotta sleep, bye.


June 15, 95

Time: 2300

I rented a room in the YMCA here in Honolulu. I just had to get off the boat for a while. We got into Honolulu on the tenth of this month. We blasted through the channel and were out in front of the Ala Wai Harbor by nine Hawaii time. We sailed up to the entrance. The wind was light and blowing right on our bow. The Ala Wai entrance is only a couple of hundred feet wide at the most and lined with deadly coral reefs. The swells break on them and resemble angry white teeth that want to eat a boat. The length of the channel is less than a quarter mile long. I was definitely nervous. We tried to call the harbor master and we tried to call the yacht club but nobody answered. Finally I yelled over to another boat that was getting ready to go into the harbor to ask them what channel the harbor master hailed on. He told us. He listening on the radio when we tried to call them on the channel he gave us. We got to talking and then he offered to tow us into the yacht club dock, which he did with no difficulty. It was good that he did because I doubt that we could have done it. Us having no engine and no main sail.

We could not stay at the yacht club due to some event that they had going on there, so the Ala Wai boat yard towed us over to a dock near their yard. Then we went and had a beer. I met a cute looking girl at the Harbor Pub and I meant to go back there the next day when I was not tiered and burnt out, but when I did go back I found that she only works there infrequently and nobody knew how I could get hold of her. Oh, well.

The next night we were invited to the yacht club for a bring your own food barbecue. We met some more nice people. The next day I took the steering pedestal apart to check on why it was sticking and grinding the way was, and found that the aft bearing was shot. It had fallen apart and chewed up the shaft. It was shot. We found a machine shop and dropped the shaft off. They said they would make a new one for $160. Sounded good. With all the modifications that Richard made, it ended up costing $700.

Richard's Japanese partner showed up on the 15th, that was the day we got the pedestal and the shaft back from the shop. While I was putting it in, one of the steering cables fell down into the engine room and shorted across the starter. It welded its self in half. What a blow. I had to go down and get some cable at the hardware store and redo that. What should have been an hour job took all day. On the morning of the 16th Richard and I got to cleaning up the boat early and as a matter of fact got it done before the camera crew arrived. I took off while they interviewed Richard and tried to stay out of the way. Richard wanted to sail out of the harbor but, I did not want to do that. Besides I would be responsible for the action and I'm not being paid for this. I'm being paid for getting the boat to Japan. Anyway I talked them out of doing it, by pretty much saying that I would not do it. It's amazing what the word "no" can do.

We showed them the broken boom, and we took the pedestal apart for them to film. I hauled Richard up the mast and they filmed him inspecting the mast head. They asked me how I thought everything was going and I said it was going fine. Then they left and Richard and I went over to help the man that is making our boom, Jeff. Jeff needed to take his boat out through the harbor entrance around a marker and back into his slip. I met another cute little girl named Karen. She wants to learn how to do varnish work. No problem. This all happened yesterday. This my third night at the YMCA. I'll probably go back to sleeping on the boat after tonight. But I plan on doing a bit of sight seeing. Karen has a car.

June 20, 1995 Time: 0945

I took the Renault out of the boat this morning. Richard and I put it in the back of Karen's truck and will eventually give it to Jeff, ( the fellow that is building our boom.) Jeff will let us use his van to pick up the new engine from the shipping company tomorrow. Also, tomorrow we will lower the engine into the hold. I told Richard that I would help install it. I really would like to go to the Big Island and take a look at Doug's property. I heard that he selling it for a pretty good price.

I need to call my father again and tell him that I called Donald Donough. It sure would be great to sail from here to Kauai with RD. Right now Karen is sanding the teak rails in preparation for varnish. Richard is running around trying to do ten things at once. I'm ready to get the hell out of here. I went over to the North Shore two days ago and had an enjoyable day sailing on a hobie cat and drinking beer with some navy submariners.

June 21, 1995 Time: 2011

Well, we didn't get the engine in the boat today, but we did get the engine from the shipping company. Richard is supposed to fly out of here at 2300 this evening. Things are not going right. One of his checks bounced and it didn't seem to make any difference to him. He implied that it was my fault because I did not tell him that I was going to cash them. I told him that I didn't know that I needed his signature and his permission. Anyway I'm not in a good mood. I'm spending more money than I would like to spend and I'm not doing what gives me pleasure. I think that I'll go take a shower.

July 3, 1995

It has been a while since I've written in this here log. It seems as though I ended the last entry rather harshly, and things really have not improved all that much. As a matter of fact I have decided to bail on this project. My reason's are as such. I have begun to not like Richard at all. I don't like working on the boat any more. The season to sail is past, it is now typhoon season and the trip will be dangerous.

August 16, 1996


If is foggy outside. We went through Unimak Pass about Noon. Six more days to Seattle then a quick turn around and back to Russia. It is very difficult for me to do nothing, but I'm getting better at it. This morning I did a close check of the Reefers and changed one to read centigrade instead of Fahrenheit. I then installed a rubber flap on the cable passage of the generator container, cleaned up the shop a little and then called it a day. I can only dream of what I would like to do. I have only Russian speaking mates that only speak to me in broken English. They all try to practice their English on me, and I don't get a chance to learn Russian with them. They would rather tell me some boring story or complain about some irrelevant bull-shit. I end up doing the same to them. I seems that complaints are a from of power. If I don't have anything to complain about, then I'm being paid too much. So, after listening to their constant complaining I feel I must demonstrate to them that I too have problems, and off I go on some complaining spree. It really is depressing. I will try not to do the return trip next time.

I've been working on the Sunmar Container Loading Program. I have succeeded in linking it to Access but need to learn an obscure language called SQL in order to communicate with the Access Data Base in Visual Basic. I will try to buy a manual for SQL while in Seattle this turn around.

I've started a Data Base of all the containers that I get. It includes information on the service history in addition to information related to parts supply.

The SOCOL 2 is a 6,000 ton vessel, fairly new, of Panamanian Registry. The Crew is Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and me. Although I'm not really part of the crew. I just hang out by myself. So, now begins the story of this trip.

I began working on the ship on the tenth of July. Organizing the equipment and discussing the loading of the containers. I was in a good mood, the sun was shining warmly on that beautiful Seattle summer day. My friends on the boat and I were happy to see each other, I was looking forward to learning the language and visiting the ports of call that I has seen only so briefly on the last trip. I had arranged with Sunmar to allow me to stay in Vladivostok one week after the end of the trip. It was to be my vacation. My pay would stop on the day I should have departed if I had not stayed. I was to be good.

We departed Seattle on the 12 Th. of July. The passage was uneventful and we arrived in Petropavalof on the July 23. I did not go ashore there as I did not go ashore there the last time I was in Petro; the first stop is very hectic and I am very busy. It was a short stop and them we were off to Magadan. I was looking forward to Magadan because I had such a good time there the last call. We arrived in Magadan on the 26 th. of July, and departed that same evening at around midnight. The only eventful thing that happened was that I lost my camera. The electrical engineer and I went to town and ate in a restaurant. When we left I forgot the camera on the table. When I returned to get it an hour later, it was not to gotten. Such is life. I caught some shit from the crew but all in all it did not matter much. The camera was one that I got for free. One of those cardboard, one-time use things.

We arrived in Korsakov, ( the next Port of call), on July 29. We ended up staying in Korsakov for three and a half days. To my great embarrassment I lost another piece of equipment. My Language Teacher was stolen from me, right out from under my nose. The only consolation was that I met a nice girl. Catherine is a language student in Vladivostok. She was in Korsakov for her summer vacation. We talked and walked and exchanged addresses. I ate dinner at her mothers house and we practiced our language with dictionaries and gestures. Time went by too fast in Korsakov. I left Korsakov around noon on the 1 st of August. We arrived in Vladivostok on the 3 rd. Also on the 3rd I was asked by Micheal Breavik if I would return with the vessel to Seattle and not discharge in Vladivostok, I agreed. My vacation was shot to hell.


Part of my job on this vessel is to eliminate my job by training the crew to do the work. They have been raised in a socialistic environment and are union workers. It seems that it is impossible for them to designate one person to the job of reefer maintenance man. I can see their point to a certain degree. Normally they get paid overtime for working after their eight hour shift. If the reefers do not "go out" precisely at 4 PM, then they have no incentive to work on them. If they work on a container during their regular work hours they do not get paid for it. If something happens late at night then it will wait until the next day before it gets a close look. In order for them to work on a reefer it take a least two or three people. First the Mate that records temperatures has to notice that something is wrong. If this happens to be the second or third mate them he must inform the chief mate of his findings. The chief mate informs the Chief Engineer of the situation. The Chief engineer must make plans for one of his men to look at the unit. He most probably will send out the electrical engineer. The only time things have ever gotten that far was in Petropavlof when we loaded a container that did not have power after being plugged in. The decision was made to discharge the container. At that point I stepped in and repaired the unit. I try to have someone with me when I do repair work but it almost always does not happen. It takes too long for them to arrange help for me. In some cases I have been told it would take two, three or four hours before someone could come to my assistance. Communication is difficult so I usually don't even ask. If I do ask, it just creates a huge problem. They tell me it will be two or three hour before someone can help me. I tell then not to bother I will do it myself. This creates a crisis for them and they send out a helper after complaining about it for twenty minutes. The helper they send out does not speak English at all and knows nothing about refrigeration, so instead of him helping me and learning from me he just slows things down. I still have to do everything myself.

This morning after breakfast I was laying down staring at the ceiling when the Chief Mate came in and told me that two Reefers were alarming and one of them was shut down. I asked him if he had checked and cleared the alarms. He said that he had not. His English is not bad, but we frequently have misunderstandings. I asked him if he knew what the alarms were. He said he did. I asked what the alarms were. He said he didn't know. He showed me his record sheet and began explaining how at 4 PM yesterday the temperature was up, but he thought it was a defrost cycle. I interrupted and asked if the alarm was on then. He said he did not know. Then at midnight the temperature was up more; again he thought it was a defrost cycle. Again I asked if the alarm was flashing at that time. He said he did not know. So, now it is 9 AM and he tells me that the alarms are flashing and the temperature is up. I told him that I would take care of it.

I went out and cleared the alarms. The unit began working. It had been down for almost 24 hours. There was no problem with the machine it only needed its alarms cleared. I came back in and explained to him that it is his job to clear alarms and then report the alarm number to the engineering department. I must develop an effective method of discovery, analysis, and repair for this crew. I will discuss with Sunmar a payment plan that emphasizes reward for maintenance and speedy repair. Then again I should try to work here for at least one year. I could probably get a raise if they want me to work after this next trip. It will have been a long one. I need to check to see if my sea service letter is valid for the Coast Guard. The money is good.


The lack of something to do is closing in. Books, I need books. Escape from reality. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Right now it is taking all I can do to convince myself to stay for the next trip. I think about money. I should have gone fishing. Oh well. Life is 99% waiting. I'll just have to wait some more. At this moment I'm waiting for 11:30 to come around. I did not get up for Zavtruk (breakfast), as the previous two mornings the fare was less than appetizing. Two Hot Dogs and a teaspoon of cold green peas two days ago, and yesterday it was Two slices of cheese and two pieces of Baloney. I don't know if I can do this much longer. I'm going to bring some chips and some good Life Stream bread. I won't be able to maintain the proper pace without food. It is not that the type of food is bad on here but the quality of food is bad. I'm sure they buy the cheapest of everything. I've never been on a boat where the food is dispersed with such frugality. There are no snacks of any kind. In the evening I check the refrigerator and find slices of raw bacon laying in a tray. People eat it. There is no microwave oven. And everything is locked up. I have to ask for jam for my toast in the morning. Butter is only on the table in the mornings not at lunch or breakfast. Salads have stopped since the old cook left. To drink, there is only one small glass, (6 ounces), of koolaide or some other bug juice. Or water. No V8 or tomato juice or orange juice.


I've been going over how much I've made with Sunmar on this run. The First trip I made $4,200 and this trip by the time I get to Seattle will be $7,300. That makes $11,500 Or since I'm doing another trip right away, 50 days is $8,750 for a total of $12,950 for three months work. I guess that's not too bad. That comes out to be $4,300 per month on average. If the next trip is 22 days from departure at Seattle then it will be a total of $16,600 for the reefer work add that to an other $10,000 for work done at the beginning of the year and I will have made $26,000 this year, ( at the end of next trip.) If I can make two more trips after this one then I can expect to make about $34,000 this year. If I can stay on the boat the whole time then I can do very well indeed


This trip has taken on bit of a dark side. But I'll stick it out. All I have to do is continue to hang out. I can't figure the Captain out. He has this laid back kind of .... I don't know. I don't get a good feeling from him. What ever... If I can do another trip like this last one then I'll be doing all right. But still the money is not that good. Even if next trip is as long as this trip, I'll have made only $27,000 for the year. That's almost poverty wages. I might as well go back to living on a sail boat and working less. OK keep your head. One Year, work as much as you can for one year. Get another computer and put this one up for sale on commission. Get some software and learn, learn, learn.

I just came down from the bridge. I had to listen to the captain rave about how screwed-up everything is. I can't argue with him, I can only agree with him. The office is all fucked up that's for sure. We pick the pilot up at 5 AM. We'll be in town by noon. Hopefully I will be off this Fucker by 2 PM. It will be nice to stay in the apartment for one night. I'm itching to fine out how much money I lost in the stock market. My CD is due next month but will have to wait till February. There is no way I can get down to Red Bluff and cash it in. It is probably better off sitting in the Safe Deposit box anyway. RD still has my dividend from last April. So much for buying a piece of property. Looks as if I'll be doing this for a while.


3 AM. I can't get to sleep. We are in the Straits of Juan the Fucker. Three hours out of Port Angeles, and nine out of Seattle. I am tired. I have had no coffee or tea for the last three days. But I have been sleeping allot during the day. I will buy Windows 95 while in Seattle this time. I definatily like the long file names. But I sure do not like how much it slows my computer down. I will sell this computer next time I have a couple of weeks to spare.


Bought a nice computer yesterday. Today was the day we departed Seattle. I'm definitely not coming back on the boat this trip I'm sure. Sold my old computer to one of the Mates on board the ship. Terry Anderson was going to buy it, but I kind of screwed him out of it. I don't know how I let it happen. Oh, well.


All is well except for this damned Windows 95. I can't get into Visual Basic or Access. I need to borrow the AC adapter from my old computer in order to power the Large Hard drive. Somehow something got screwed up.

The meeting Katya

I met Kathryn a couple of months ago, (29-7-96), here in Korsakov. I had been drinking Vodka with couple of local men, ( they were trying to steal my translator. Which they finally did succeed in doing). They had involved Kathryn in order to distract me. I’m sure she was not involved with their plot but, when I discovered that they had taken my translator I accused them all, including Kathryn. She was very much saddened and came back to my ship to try and explain the fact that she was not involved in stealing the translator. I had already gone to bed and the watch refused to wake me. She returned later that afternoon, and we went on a mission to find the man who stole my translator. We walked all over Korsakov. I also went to her flat where I met her mother. Her mother fixed lunch and grilled me about my marital status and then proposed that I marry her daughter. We laughed and tried to speak to each other but it took way too long to convey the simplest of sentences to be able to carry any kind of conversation. Kathryn and I spent a few hours in her room translating Russian and English words. I tried to kiss her but to no avail. We walked around town some more and by evening we ended up kissing in the park. I tried to get her to come back to the ship with me and at first she said she would, but later she said no. After some heavy pressure on my part we finally departed company. I walked back to the ship alone and she walked back to her flat alone.

Kathryn was a studying Korean and English at a university in Vladivostok. We agreed to meet each other in Vladivostok when possible.

About a month and a half later, (15-9-96), the ship made a stop in Vladivostok. I was to fly out of Vladivostok to Seattle and had arranged to stay in Russia for up to a week, (a poorly planned VISA made this impossible). When the agent picked me up to take me to the Hotel, Kathryn was waiting in the car. I was amazed to see her and very much excited. The agent drove us to the hotel. He had already arranged for a room. It was a seventy dollar a day room but in actuality was the equivalent of a twenty dollar a day room in the USA. It had only a single wide bed which was some what broken down and no view. It was on the fourth floor of an eight floor building. Several hotels occupied the building, so that one floor may be run by one hotel company and another floor run by another hotel company. The agent left me and Kathryn there. I hung out in the room for awhile then went up stairs to the top floor to see if a room was available in better facilities. I had stayed in a seventy dollar a day room on the top floor before and the accommodations were excellent. A big queen size bed and a wonderful room with a great view. There was a room available on the top floor so I booked it. Then, much to the disappointment of the proprietor of the hotel I was staying in, I moved out of the shabby room and into the nice one.

Kathryn and I took the bus to her flat in town and I met the old woman she rented from. Her flat consisted of an entry way about eight feet long and three feet wide. At the end of the entry was the living room/bedroom where Kathryn and the old lady slept. The room was about 14 feet long and ten feet wide. There was a small balcony that stood out about two feet from the face of the complex. It was maybe four feet wide. It looked out over a dirt road and other buildings that we in the USA would consider slums. There was a small kitchen about the size of an American bathroom, and a bathroom about the size of a closet. I’d say that the overall size of the flat was less than 200 square feet. A young man was there and after the three of us had eaten a lunch of jam and toast he drove Kathryn and I out to the country to visit her mother and sister, at the dacha her mother stayed in during the summer. It was not a long drive maybe forty-five minutes. I had met her mother in Korsakov and she greeted me here with a big smile and open arms. Kathryn’s sister, (Natasha), was very pregnant. She could also speak pretty good English. We all sat around and talked and took walks around the country side.

The little country house was in very bad condition. But Kathryn’s mother had been working in the garden and it, at least, was beginning to shape up. She had no running water and no indoor toilet, ( the out door toilet was a shallow privy that I thought was suitable only for urine). Her mother wanted me to fix her refrigerator, so me and the young man that drove us out took a look at it, but it was shot. These were poor people. They were very friendly and good hosts. We ate a light dinner and drank tea. Then just before it got dark the young man drove Kathryn, her sister and I back to the city. The girls wanted to go to a dance bar so our driver dropped us off at dance place/Pub, and departed our company. I danced a couple of time with Kathryn and carried a pretty good conversation with Natasha. As in most cases with Russians, the conversation turned to money, which is only normal for the Russian people are bombarded with western style advertisements and they are eager to buy and consume. Natasha wanted to make money, and asked me my opinion on several ideas; selling herbs for Health Rite, and cosmetics for Mary Kay. Both of these selling schemes were of the Amway type. I told her that I thought they were a rip off. I suggested selling good wine, as I had not seen any decent wine for sale in the city. She was enthusiastic about this, so I told that I would bring back a case of different bottles for her to try out. A young man sitting across from us over heard the conversation and when Kathryn and Natasha went to the bathroom he sat down across from me and began proposing business deals. I told him that I would come and talk to him the next day at his office. He gave me his address and hung around us the rest of the night. We departed the pub not much later and took a bus into the city center. Natasha and the man we acquired at the pub took off and Kathryn and I walked to my hotel. We went to my room and talked. Kathryn was very uncertain as to what to do. It was getting late and I began to try to kiss her. She got very angry and stormed out of the hotel. It was about 2 am. I followed her out into the street and told her that I would walk her home. We argued for some time. And in the end I told I would sleep on the floor and she could sleep on the bed in my hotel room. Reluctantly she came back to the room with me. I spread the blanket on the floor and began to get in, but she insisted on sleeping on the floor. So, I slept on the bed and froze my ass off while she slept warmly on the floor.

The next morning Kathryn got up fairly early and went off to school. I needed to get my VISA extended and had planned to do it that day. Kathryn and I agreed to meet on Tuesday afternoon and go back out to her mothers dacha for the a peaceful afternoon. The agent and I were to spend the day arranging my VISA extension and I had planned on trying to get a cheaper hotel room. I called the agent after Kathryn left, he told me that the immigration office was closed on Mondays and he postponed our business until Tuesday afternoon. That kind of fucked up Monday and Tuesday. After the I got done with the agent the man I had met in the pub the night before called me and invited me to his office to discuss importing stuff. I had nothing else to do so I said I’d meet him.

I met him near the bus station down town and we walked back to his office, where I met his fellow workers, and we talked about importing wine and generators, and other stuff. They were ready to start moving stuff immediately but I told them I had no connections to do that. In the end I found that they were really interested in smuggling things over aboard the Socol 2 with my personal gear. I told them that this was impossible for me to do. The only thing good that came out of it was that they had access to very cheep CD-ROM’s full of software. I looked through some of the stuff they had there but was not interested in it. They told me that the man who sells them could come by tomorrow if I also wanted to come by. I told them that I would be by tomorrow morning to look at CD-ROM’s.

I left the office and walked around Vladivostok. It was beautiful day. The sun was out. It was warm. Girls were walking around in sort dresses, and lying on the beach. I spent the whole day just wandering around. That night I went to a couple of bars and drank a few beers, then went to the hotel early and slept.

Tuesday morning at 10:00 am I met the agent and we drove over to the immigration office. When we got there the office was closed and the front door was crowed with people waiting for it to open. The sign said that it would only be open from 10:00 am to Noon and then from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. I did not have much hope that we would be successful, and of course we were not. I was told that “Today” was the last day my VISA was valid, then I had to pay a fine because my passport had not been stamped when I got off the ship in Vladivostok. Then they told me that I had to have a plane ticket out of the country before they would extend my VISA. The Agent and I drove to the Aeroflot office and after much pain in the ass bullshit I ended up getting a ticket for Thursday morning at 11:00 am. I would have liked to have gotten a later flight but Aeroflot did not have another one till Monday and the immigration office would only extend my VISA three days. Alaska Air had a flight but the agent did not know the location of their office and if I did not get my extension today the immigration office was going to be closed on Wednesday... I just wanted to get the hell out of there. We finally got my ticket by about 1:00 PM. The agent dropped me off at the hotel and told me that we would continue the adventure at 2:00 PM. I told him that I had made plans to do something with Kathryn that afternoon. He assured me that we would be done in a very short amount of time. I quickly walked over to the office I had been to the day before and bought two CD-ROM’s. Then I hurried back to the hotel to clean up a little bit before I met the Agent and Kathryn at 2:00 PM. Kathryn was waiting for me in the lobby when I came down at a little bit before 2:00 PM. I explained to her that I was not able to get anything done on Monday and that I had been to the immigration office already this morning but was not finished. I thought that we were almost finished so I asked her if she would wait with me while we finished business, and that afterwards we would do something fun. The Agent finally showed up and after introductions we all got into his car and drove over to the immigration office. It took the rest of the day, (till 4:00 PM), and cost me sixty dollars. Kathryn waited for we without a bit of anxiety. After it was all done the agent left and Kathryn and I walked around town. I asked her if it would be all right if we went out to her mothers dacha again on Wednesday. She told me that she would love it. At about 7:00 PM I took her to dinner at a Korean restaurant , bought a bottle of wine and entertained her as well as I could. After dinner we walked along the beach and looked at the small collection of private boats in the harbor. We made out a little bit while standing in the dark. It was a wonderful end to a terrible day. At about 11:00 PM I walked her to her bus stop. I saw onto her bus then I walked to a pub, had a couple of beers and went back to my hotel room alone.

Wednesday I met Kathryn at about 2:00 PM and we walked around town till about 4:00 PM then we got on a train and rode out into the country for about an hour. The train was crowded and dirty. Venders walked up and down hawking the wares; ice cream bars wrapped in insulating paper, pastries, breads, magazines and newspapers. The warm sun shone in through the windows and I dozed to the sound of steel wheels clacking over the rails.

We departed the train at an isolated stop and walked at a fast clip for another half hour through the green country side of rural Russia. The number of small country homes were amazing to me. They were of many different sizes; from 2 acres or more, to the size of a small city lot. The cottages on them were also varied; from large colonial brick or concrete buildings, to one room tar paper shacks. The road was unimproved dirt. We stopped at an intersection where a water well, (drinking water), and many houses were located. Kathryn talked to a woman in the yard that was tending a garden. The woman brought out a ladle. I dropped the well bucket into the shallow well and drew out a bucket full of cool water. As I drank, I thought about the hundreds of houses around with their shallow privies, but I was too thirsty to let it stop me from swallowing.

It was only another 5 minute walk to Kathryn’s mother’s house and we were soon there. Kathryn’s mother was not in a happy mood at all. It seems that Natasha had gone into labor early and gave birth the night before. Mrs. Alexsako was worried for the premature child and could think of nothing else. I told Kathryn that we should immediately return to Vladivostok and go see her sister in the hospital. Kathryn did not want to leave right away. I had brought a melon with us, so we sat down and ate it along with some bread and fried fat. I was getting restless. I went out to use the privy but it was so disgusting that I instead took a walk down the road and found a bush to water. When I got back to the shack I started cleaning up the messy yard but Mrs. Alexsako would have none of that. We walked around the garden a bit I admired her flowers and vegetables. Soon Kathryn and I left to catch the train back to Vladivostok. It was cooler now. I was fed and rested so the going was better for me. When we got back to the station we passed a shepherd grazing his sheep on the grass growing about the dike that the railway was on. It was a nice bucolic touch to the day. The return trip was less crowded and I had a seat that faced forward so, I was able see the country side better. Kathryn sat beside me and thumbed through my Russian/English dictionary, as I craned my neck to see all the passing sights. Soon we were back in the city. Kathryn and I walked around a bit, had a beer in a pub, went to the beach, and finally ended up back in my hotel room. We sat at the windows sill and looked out onto the lights of the waterfront below. We shared a bottle of beer then we shared our selves.

In the morning we lazily got up and I prepared to depart for the United States. Kathryn decided to go to the airport with me. We quietly waited for the agent, smiling at each other frequently and occasionally searching the dictionary to find an expressive word to share. The agent drove us out to the airport. They waited until the gate opened then they took off leaving me to my own thoughts. The flight to Seattle was uneventful but long. I was saddened to leave Vladivostok but also relieved to be home.

The meeting Svetlana

The day the Socol 2 left town, (24-10-96), the agent, Slava, picked me up and we were driven to the town of Sakalin where we got our rooms at a hotel. My room cost $100 dollars, his $50. At about Ten O’clock we went out to eat in a restaurant. There was only one other customer in the restaurant. We ordered food and champagne. The hostess spent a lot of time with the other customer and this seemed to make Slava a little upset. Finally he talked to the man and soon the man left. We became the sole focus of attention for the hostess. Olga sat with us and drank with us. She told me she wanted to fuck me, I said OK. She took off her blouse and showed me her tits. They were fair. She was a little on the heavy side with a broad face and the heavy lips that so many Russian women have. She was getting sloppier the more she drank. Finally we left for the Hotel. We had not gotten more than one hundred yards into Lenin Square when Olga tried to take her clothes off there in the park. I was losing interest fast and decided not to bed this woman but I said nothing to Slava who seemed determined that I should get laid. Finally Olga lay down on a park bench and refused to get up. After some cajoling we got her on her feet, but now she wanted something to eat. We walked over to kiosk and after talking to the woman inside we were let in the back door. The woman, Irena, spoke good English. Both Slava and Olga knew her. We sat and Olga devoured a whole chicken. We drank champagne and laughed but I was tired and really wanted to go to the hotel and sleep. Olga said she wanted me to go to her place. She wanted to fuck me in her apartment. I said I wanted to go to the hotel. In the end Olga staggered down the street alone and Slava and I walked to the hotel, him feeling a little bit of a failure but me just relived.

The next morning Slava and I took a taxi to Korsakov, (about 36 kilometers). My new ship was not in yet, so we sat around and Slava did his business. At lunch time we took a cab to a restaurant in town. It was closed. We walked a couple of blocks in the wet and cold to another restaurant. There we ate what I thought was pretty good food, and also drank a half liter of vodka. Jesus these guys drink, but when in Russia.... After lunch Slava was feeling much better. We caught a cab back to the Port Office and Slava continued to do his business, only now he seemed to be in a much better frame of mind. At about 4 o’clock Slava decided we should go back to Sakalin and stay in the hotel again. That was fine with me, so off we went. At about 5 o’clock we got back to the Hotel. I changed a hundred dollars into rubbles at the desk. Slava wanted to go out immediately and start to party but I told him that I needed a couple of hours of sleep. The vodka at lunch had hit me pretty hard. I went to my room a fell on the bed. Slava came by at seven knocked on my door and woke me up. We walked back to the restaurant we were at the night before. It looked as though things were in preparation for a big party. Slava found out that two birthday celebrations were to take place. People started coming in. We ordered food and a bottle of wine. Soon the place was hopping. People were dancing laughing and drinking much vodka. I began to dance with the girls and ended up dancing all night long. Two girls came and sat our table but I was having too much fun to get serious with them I was in a dancing mood. Of course I danced with them but if they refused then I just walked over to another table and asked another beautiful girl to dance. I drank way too much and spent all my money, but it was worth it. We closed the place down then walked back to the hotel. I got the spins and threw-up but slept well after that.

The next morning, (Saturday the 26 th), we discovered that the Archangelsk had arrived at its berth the night before. We took a cab back to Korsakov, and I moved my gear on board. We did some ships business. The Captain and the Agent wanted me to call the Sunmar Office. It has been my experience that the office does not want to hear from me, but I reluctantly made the call. Of course I was not well received, they were all fucked up over there trying to get another ship out of town.

Later that evening I walked out on the deck and spied the tally girl, Svetla. She waved at me from the shore and motioned that I should come over and talk to her. I tromped down the gangway and we went to the port office. Of course she does not speak English and my Russian is very poor. After a while I went back to my room on the ship and got my Russian/English dictionary. Then I went back to the port office to converse with Svetla. We labored over words and meaning but soon I discovered that she wanted me to spend the night with her at her flat. I agreed to meet her at mid-night, and went back to the ship to catch a couple of hours of sleep. The weather was picking up so I decided to talk to the captain to see if it would be a problem to spend the night ashore. He said I should go. I was a little bit nervous, because of the possibility of the ship departing for an anchorage to get out of the weather. But, I decided to take a chance. We had not finished loading our cargo and if the ship did go to anchor it would have to return to finish loading. The worst case being that the Military Police that took my passport and visa would freak out at my not being on board. They could use a little bit of a scare. At eleven I got a call to my room that I was wanted at the gang way. I got dressed and went out to meet Svetla. She had gotten a friend to drive us to her flat. I got in and explained the situation; that there was a possibility that the ship would leave during the evening and not be back for a couple of days, Svetla said it would be no problem for me to stay at her flat during that time. Off we went to Svetla’s flat.

Svetla, is divorced and has two children. One girl, about thirteen, and a boy of nine. When we got inside the apartment the girl was asleep on the couch. Svetla quickly shooed her into another room. She then scampered around, made up a bed, brought some tea, and got into a night gown. She didn’t mess around but got right to the point of the visit. We sat on the bed and ate bread with butter, drank tea, and laughed about our inability to communicate. When the food was gone we made Love. This is the Russian way. It is good.

1 November 1996

I do not have a good relationship with the captain or the crew of this ship. I called the Sunmar Office yesterday morning to and talked to Terry Anderson. I mentioned that I thought the sea conditions were poor but not so poor as to prevent customs and immigration from processing our paper work and letting us proceed to our next port of call. Later Michael Breavik called the ship and I talked to him about it also. Then he wanted to talk to the captain. Later I was in the wheel house copying down the sea conditions for the morning from the log book when the captain came in and told me he was going to restrict me from the radio room. It is now Friday morning the weather is beautiful. I went out and took a photograph. If customs does not come this morning then I know there is some kind of conspiracy going on.

Last night the Chief Engineer came by my cabin and told me that for the ship to depart here, without the stowaway situation solved, would be very bad. I have no idea what is going on, and have decided to stay out of everything. If we make it to Seattle great, if not oh, well.

I need only continue working until December. Then I quit Sunmar and buy another boat.

2 November 96

We took on fuel last night, and now we are moving toward Petropavlof. There are six containers there for us to pick up and bring to Seattle. I calculated that as of today I have grossed $31,575. That sucks! I mean it is not much, given how long I have been at sea. I’ll try to make another $10 K this year. That means another 60 days straight. I’ll be nuts. Then it’s got to be something else. Money, sex, possessions, and power. I think I’d better buy gold. I don’t know why. It’s just a funny feeling.

3 November 96

Slept in till 1030 this morning. Finished another shitty book. Tried to write some VB code, ( to no avail.) Thought about a sail boat again. Last night I had a dream about the Fanfare. Robert and Nellie were in the dream. I missed Nellie. I was confused as to why Robert was there. He was scraping paint from the boat. I remember the good times I had with Nellie. But I believe that she is insane. Then again, so am I. Thought about death again. I’m just hanging out waiting to see what happens. I have no motivation to succeed at anything. I’m just passing the time.

5 November 96

It’s 2200. The ship is at anchor off of Petropavlof, waiting word on the status of the stowaways. They are human beings. I have not met them face to face, or even talked to them. I fear that the letter I wrote may be what is keeping them from entering the United States. But then I should not flatter myself with having so much influence over events. If my letter did make a big difference then maybe I should use that power elsewhere besides with Sunmar. The SOCOL 2 is also in Petropavlof. They may take the six containers we have there if this ship goes off charter. I guess another trip on the SOCOL 2 would not be bad. She will get hammered this winter. And I don’t know how she will get into Magadon in the ice. But I sure do like the crew.

6 November 96

I awoke early, ( down at 0330 up at 0830) this morning to the sound of the ship moving. We arrived at the berth at about 1000. Immigration took its usually long and drawn-out time. Irena, the agent here, seemed to enjoy the problems we are having. I have a peculiar distaste for this woman and Serge the other Petropavlof agent. I have since I met them six months ago.

So, here’s the scoop. I don’t have a VISA. Immigration in Korsakov took my VISA when we checked out of the country there. A VISA is not really necessary except for the fact that I use it to depart via airplane. If I depart via ship, then a VISA is not required. But, since I have been showing the immigration office here in Petropavlof a VISA for the last five trips, they think I need one. If they think I need one, then... I need one. I am restricted to the ship because I have no VISA. That little bitch Irena told me ( with a smile) to think of it as an adventure. If she thinks sitting in a room for three weeks with nothing to do is an adventure then she needs a life.

I should not complain about my lot too much. The ship has been unloaded. The SOCOL 2 is waiting at anchor for us to depart. They will come in take our spot and load the containers we just unloaded. Hopefully I will be able to transfer to that ship and continue back to Seattle. The Arkhangelsk is plagued with these stowaways. The US authorities have refused the ship entry into US waters. They have threatened to arrest the ship and the crew. There has been words like “ship seizure” thrown out. What a nightmare. The Captain and officers of the Arkhangelsk are in a lot of trouble. My problems are small in comparison.

The each country is a prison. Governments are the wardens. The authorities are the guards. Some people have visitation rights and others don’t. The stowaway’s don’t have visitation rights. They may well be put to death for sneaking out of their prison and into another. I had visitation rights to visit the Russian prison, but now I do not. The US prison is one of the better prisons; everybody wants to serve their time there. But it’s getting crowded. The US authorities surely don’t want to accept possibly violet inmates from the hated Iraqi prison. They could be terrorists!

Watching Irena perform this afternoon, I had the feeling that I knew the woman. I have known her for a long time, many lives. We had been lovers and enemies. From that memory I had a realization. A clarity, that I will try to put into words. “What you can’t control, you ridicule.” All the suffering, death and destruction on Earth spring from lack of control. And it made sense to me, it was good. It is as it should be. How Irena revealed this too me was in that she took particular relish in the control element. Historically this has been the domain of men and sometimes when women have the power they seem to be a caricature of maleness. The event: The ship had been tied up at the dock for only a short time. I was in my cabin and decided to take some of my personal gear down into the hold and store in the shop van. I bundled up my coveralls along with a flashlight and went down stairs. On reaching the main floor I realized that immigration was on board. I had my passport and declarations form along with me, in my belly pouch. The captain quickly snagged me and requested my Passport and VISA. I produced everything and asked if my presents was necessary, as I needed to put some stuff in my shop van. At this statement from me, Irena quickly took control. She told me I could not leave the room and that she would take care of my personal gear. I just smiled at her. I began to explain the situation to her but I quickly realized that she was on a power high and was not listening to me. She told me, with a smile, “I’ll tell you when you can go down to the hold.” So, I sat and watched her perform. Of course she had no intention of helping me with anything. She departed the ship without a word to me. I could have strutted my own power by ignoring her, and of course letting her know I was ignoring her, and doing what needed to be done. But I’m beat. I have no more fight in me. She was paying me back for the time that I would not let them have my generator. (Another Story for Another time.)


I have been working on board foreign flags ships for the last six months as a refrigeration technician. I am employed by an American company to make sure that the refrigerated cargo coming from Seattle and going to the Russian Far East arrives in good order. I just recently changed ships while in Korsakov, Russia. I was told that the ship would be stopping in Petropavlof to pick up some containers of frozen scallops for delivery to the United States. But a problem has come up. This ship has stowaways.

The ship was recently employed in moving cargo out of Pakistan. Three days out of Pakistan it was discovered that three men were hiding on board. These men claim to be Iraqi but they have no passports or any other documentation. The stowaways were immediately put under lock and key, (they are being fed and allowed adequate sleeping and toilet facilities.) The authorities in each port of call that this ship has been to have refused to allow these men to be removed from the vessel, and now the ship has been refused entry into Russian ports because of the presents of the stowaways. The ship can not pick up its cargo of scallops in Petropavlof, but will proceed to Seattle in the hopes that the American authorities will allow these men to be removed from the vessel. The stowaways claim that they will be executed if they are returned to Iraq.

What amazes me is that a ship costing many thousands of dollars a day to charter can be halted by the presence of human being that have no paper work. The shipping company that owns this vessel is willing to pay for the removal of the stowaways, but not if they are to be killed. At each port of call they have been told, “This is not our problem. This is your problem.” I hope that the American authorities can deal with this problem in a humane and fair way, and allow the resumption of commerce that is beneficial to American citizens and businesses. But I am not sure this will happen. I am told that the US authorities have threatened to seize the ship and prosecute the Captain and officers if the stowaways are on board the ship when it arrives in Seattle.

I remember reading of a case two years ago where the captain of a foreign flag ship that found two stowaways on board murdered the men and threw the bodies over board. The Captain of that vessel was eventually found out and imprisoned, but only because a third stow away escaped to tell the tale. After being involved in the nightmare of finding stowaways on board I can almost sympathize with the actions of that Captain.

It is my belief that desperate actions are taken because of there being no adequate alternatives. How many other stowaways have been murdered, that we do not know about, because of the draconian punishments handed out to officers and crews of unfortunate ships that find them aboard, and do the right thing by reporting the find. Yes, the officers and crew are guilty of negligence for not preventing the men from coming on board in the first place. But we need to keep the ships working.


Brien Hamilton, M/V Arkhangels

4714 Ballard Ave NW

Seattle, WA 98107

Phone # 689-6145



7 Nov. 1996

The weather was extremely bad this morning. The ship broke a mooring line on the stern. It is now about 1500 and the weather is calm and clear. I keep thinking of freedom and a sailboat; of uniting and leaving when I want and going where I where I want. I did not get to sleep last night until 0400.

Today is the start of a big Russian holiday, celebrating the October Revolution. The cook has worked up a shish-kabob supper. American beer to drink.

8 Nov. 96

I gave a toast at the dinner. I said, (in English), that although the voyage was short I appreciated the hospitality of the officers and crew. And that I wish we could continue the voyage to Seattle and beyond. I also told the cook that her food was most delicious. At about 2200 I was put ashore to wait for the SOCOL 2.

Of course the military personnel standing watch over the SOCOL 2 did not allow me on board the vessel. I was escorted back to a small third world looking office where I waited only about fifteen minutes. Serge, the head guy at Pacific Network called to apologize for the delay. I was some what cold to him but not for the reason he probably thought. Eventually I was allowed back on board and I had a most enjoyable welcome. My friend Sasha, the communist electrical engineer, gave me a big hug. Everyone had smiles upon their faces. And for me, I was most happy to be back among friends. I had a cold beer with the Captain and Chief Engineer, and ended up going to sleep at about 0230 this morning.

The Captain: Balding, a mustache, about 5’10”. He has an open face and is quick to smile. He is an expatriate Russian now living in Canada with his wife and child.

The Chief Officer: Tall, (probably around 6’ 2”), about 38. He has an easy smile that is accentuated by a gold front tooth. He likes to think of himself as a ladies man. He enjoys telling me Russian ribald jokes and antidotes, but nothing obscene. When he starts talking to me he does not stop. I know that he his practicing his English, but it is very iritating he could speak to a post for all I am listening.

The Chief Engineer: A portly young man, about 35. He does not speak English very well and my Russian is poor, so we do not communicate much. He is always at his desk doing paperwork. He has a good smile, as do all the Russians. He loves to talk about eating, and drinking beer. He offered me some smoked bacon fat when I first met him. I did not know what is was and ate it. Later I threw-up.

First Assistant Engineer: At first I did not like him but after a while I got used to his subtle put downs of America and American’s. I realized that he was trying to be protective of his cares in the face of the power of the US. I soon laughed with him about the obvious craziness of some traits of Americana. Visiley is not tall, but his thinness make him appear to be. I see in his face a Russian novel; Dosevetski perhaps. He has large black eyes, with dark crescents beneath them. His wide forehead and thin jaw line give him a slightly skeletal look. His back is a bit stooped, maybe from years of working in cramped engine rooms. He is ready to go home. His wife is a Judge in Saint Petersburg. His Six month contract has expired but he has not been instructed to leave the ship yet. The strain shows, and yet he also is easy with a smile.

Second Officer: A small man, with a big gap toothed smile. Micheal is always glad to talk to me about his wife and child, or about the problems of not having citizenship of any nation. He lives in Latvia, but since he was not born in Latvia before 1945 or his Parents were not born in Latvia before 1945, he is not allowed citizenship. The Latvian government wants the invaders out of the country.

Third Officer: Serge is a small young man, thin. The Captain has nick-named him the Pup. The Pup is very proud and extremely ambitious, too a fault even. I sold him my old computer when I bought a new one. He knew nothing about the machine but I think he will pick it up. He is married to an aerobics instructor in Saint Petersburg. He stands straight and tall. He speaks with authority.

The Electrical Officer: Alexander, (Sasha). It is hard for me not to like Sasha, although he is quite lazy and pushes me to drink. He is enthusiastic in his desire for me to like him. He is a wide man with a big ruddy face. He is constantly asking me if I want a beer or a drink of vodka.

The Radio Officer: Volvo. He does not drink alcohol nor does he eat meat. He is a calm and quiet man. He looks a bit ill, but him and I talk a lot.

Boson: Antone, Quite, hard working. He keeps to himself. He is very confident, and likes to work. I enjoy working with him.

Motorman: Nicholas, A big man with a big laugh. He speaks no English, but he loves to talk.

Motorman: Juri, A quite man. He seems very gentle. He has long hair that he ties in a pony tail. He does not speak English so we don’t talk much, but I like him.

AB: Serge, A body builder



Nov. 11, 96

We are in the Bering Sea, north and west of Dutch Harbor. We should go through Unimak pass tomorrow night. The weather has been incredibly nice since we departed Petropavlof.

I do very little on this ship. As a matter of fact I’m not sure why I’m even on here. But, I will stay for the money. Not that it is so awful much, but it is an income; something that I am not very used to. I dream of sail boats, Computers, Solar Panels, Electronics, and yet I have chosen this isolation. I have to laugh to myself and at myself. I have put myself in prison. This is my lighthouse. I must learn to occupy my time. With self discipline I can prepare myself for the future. I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing. But, it seems right. So, I’ll continue doing it. I used to think that I was an old soul on this earth but lately I’ve come to believe that I am a very new and inexperienced soul. What I thought was worldliness and instinctual knowing has shown itself to be timidity and fear. What I thought was caution was really self doubt. No matter, I am learning the ropes. I’ve met the players, I’m learning the game.

Can I do this for one more year? Will I be nut? Does it matter? The captain here told me it is 0 F in Magadon right now. Do I want to be there? I suppose it is easier on the reefers if the outside temperature is the same as the inside temperature. I’ll be back in Magadon around the first of December.


We crossed the international date lineyesterday but today we moved the calender back a day. We also went through Unimak Pass this evening. A big low pressure is waiting for us in the Gulf of Alaska. Approximatly 5 days to a week to go; Depending on how much the weather slows us down .


It is late afternoon. The big storm has not caught us yet. Maybe tonight. I worry about the Transformer I have on deck. I may shut it down if water begins to reach it. I have been listening to my Russian Language tapes in the morning and in the evening before I go to sleep. I don’t thing I’m improving much.

14 Nov 1996

Got word yesterday that ship is to load and return to Far East ASAP. It looks as though I got my wish for a lot of work to this year. I hope I have enough time to staighten out my finances a bit before I leave again. I’m burnt out on the Russian experience and don’t care if I do it again. I need to find a place to hide my money. 10 K in gold coins would be nice as long as I do not have to pay sales tax.

December 12, 1996

One day out of Korsakov. I sure do like that town. Svelta gave me a key to her flat. So, know I have free reign with her. We will see how long this situation lasts. I met another girl in the Penguin Bar the other night, Olga. Actually I met Olga and Olga. The two Olga’s. The young Olga looked pretty darn good. I got her telephone number. She told me, any time I call, she will come. I plan on giving her a call next time I’m in town. But I will most probably stay with Sveta. Sveta knows just exactly what she wants. She has a good job and two kids, we just get down. She knows how to tear up the sheets. Next stop is Vladavostok, my little sweet heart waits for me there. Katya just turned 20 years old. She is not as experienced as Sveta but she has some damn good points

It was a long cramped flight from Vladivostok to Seattle. We changed planes in Anchorage. I ended up sitting next to a man with a major attitude problem. And to top it off I also shared a cab with him into the city. The cab dropped me off at terminal thirty, were I had left my pick-up truck. My new ship was already tied up and waiting to be loaded with cargo.

The M/V Kemerovo is an Ice Breaker Class ship. It is approxamatly 320 feet long and maybe 65 feet at the beam. It’s got two 10,000 HP main engines, but is so heavy that it can only do 16 knots using the two of then. The Russian crew refer to these type of ships as Carrot ships, due to the fact that their hulls are painted orange. The ships of this class were designed to move military equipment, (tanks, etc.), in the northern parts of Siberia. The Kemerovo has a large ramp that be lowered onto the pier. This ramp allows vehicles to be driven up into the ships holds. I did not know any of this at the time I first saw it upon entering Terminal Thirty, and I did not want to know anything about this ship. I got in my truck drove to Ballard to pick up my mail then and immediately drove to the apartment that I share with two other sailors in Iassaqua.

I slept the rest of the day then went into the Sunmar Office in the morning to drop off my paper work, and to find out the scoop on the new ship. I ended up working in the yard helping to load the ship for the week. So, I only got two days off between trips. I met the captain, chief officer and the chief engineer when Terry Anderson invited me to have dinner with them at a fancy resturant at the Elliot Bay Marina. They seemed like an OK group of guys, but I’ve been around Russians long enough to know not to trust them. They will treat you like a King if they want something from you. But as soon as they can lower you and demonstrate to you just who is in charge, they will. They were all smiles and good will at the time.

The day before we sailed I moved some of my stuff on to the ship. I was shown my room. It was by far the worst room I’ve had on this run yet. It faces the exhust stack, so I have no view at all, and if I open the window I hear the roar of the engine. The floor was filthy. This room is half the size of the room I had on the Socol 2 and a Quarter the size of the room I had on the Archanglesk. Enough about the bad stuff.

Third Trip on the Kemerovo

I got a return trip back to Seattle, so it’s a shot of cash in my pocket. Right now we are getting ready to depart Vladivostok. I spent last night at Katya’s apartment. I feel as if I’m cheating her a little, as I’m kind of worn out after romping with Sveta in Korsakov for two days. Sveta is a kick in the ass. She’s 32 years old with two kids and a shitty little apartment, but I like her. She turns me on a hell of a lot more than Katya. Katya is a bit star-struck by me and appears to be in love over her head. She is one hell of a nice gal though. I told her I would buy her a ticket to Seattle and back if she could get a passport and a visa this summer. And I would be more than happy to do it. I think we could have one heck of a good time driving round in a motor-home. Sveta is not going anywhere, she has her job in Korsakov and is dedicated to her family. She is a cocky little loud mouth when she talks to other Russians but is very demure with me.

April 25, 1997

Wow, twelve days so far with nothing to do. I finished my Solar program, all it is missing is a professional Help file. I don’t have the Help compiler, so I can’t work on that.

I went out of my mind a little bit on the 21 st. I blew up at the Radio Officer for not sending a fax I had given him. But he did piss me off. He hung up the phone on me, and told me that my fax was not important. Oh, well. Boredom will get to the best of us, but it effects me in a rather bad way.

Korsakov October 1997

I’m staying with my friend Svetlana, and her family. She has a daughter of about 13 and a son of about 8. I’ve known Sveta for over a year now. When I first saw her apartment it was a mess. The walls were unpainted and covered with some type of horrible wall paper. But earlier this summer she bought new wall paper, I brought her some paint along with paint brushes and pans. The place now looks pretty good. She had someone come in and redo the kitchen. The guy who did it didn’t do a fantastic job, he used concrete for mourder. The floors still need to be redone, and she plans on doing that later. The water supply in the building is erratic, so they fill the tub up with water in order to be able to flush the toilet. When the water is off they walk down two dark urine stinking flights of stairs to a hand pump out in the yard. There they can fill a bucket up and use it for cooking and light washing. It makes it a pain in the ass to wash yourself effectively, when the tub is filled with potable water. Oh, well. I will appreciate my life in America more because of this experience. I’m definitely getting tiered of Korsakov.

Sveta and I went shopping; I was looking to buy her some coffee mugs, and some silverware. I would also have liked to buy her a salt and pepper shaker. But, nothing could be found. This town is dry, for everything but cheap clothes crappy food and liquor. I told her I would cook some American style food. I couldn’t find any good meat. I bought a big chunk of pork. I don’t know what part of the pig it was from, but it was impossible to cut into decent steaks. I did not know how to use her oven, to make a pork roast. I bought a couple of egg plants. I wanted to buy some green onions but missed the opportunity. But we did find some pepper. I was damn tiered of shopping, but it was interesting to see what the shops had for sale. When we got back to Svetla’s house I cut the Ham into small steaks, cooked up some rice in a pot that I bought her awhile back, and cut some onion and garlic up into a large pot. The big frying pan that I bought her last year got burned up somehow. I cut the eggplant length ways and cooked it in with the onions and garlic along with a generous splash of oil. Then I put the ham steaks and tomato concentrate in with the whole mess. It turned out to be pretty good. Sveta came in a couple of times but I ran her out of the kitchen as she can be a pain in the ass when she gets into her boss mode.

This morning I took a cat bath. It was kind of weird because Sveta tried to orcustraighte the whole thing. I could not figure out what she wanted me to do so I ran her out of the room and proceeded to wash down with a sock that I dipped in warm water and soap. It ended up being a very satisfying bath, but I could see that she was a bit confused. I tried to make her understand that I have been living by my self for a long time and am perfectly comfortable with washing myself. It reminded me of the time when I was on the SOCOL 2 and the cook served hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I took my egg and proceeded to cut it in half with my knife. The electrical engineer about had a heart attach. He tried to get my attention to let me know that I doing it all wrong. I just ignored him and proceeded to scoop the egg from around it’s shell with my spoon. When he saw what I had done, he was amazed. I had my egg out of the shell and eaten in less than 15 seconds, while he was struggling with pealing those tough old eggs for about 10 minutes. He was too proud to use my method but, he never tried to butt into my eating habits, even when I put salt on watermelon.

So, it is now Saturday night. I leave Monday morning for the airport. Sveta works tomorrow witch is a bit of a drag as would like to sleep with her as much as possible before I leave. She is beginning to tire of the sausage, but she can’t get enough of the fondling, and kissing. And I must admit I enjoy it also.


One more day here then I head out for Seattle. I’m disappointed in the fact that I was not able to make any business contacts. I think everyone is a bit pissed off that I am sleeping with a local. I actually don’t know. I need to walk down to the SVTS office, call Ernest and arrange with him to pick me up tomorrow morning. He will pick me up here tomorrow morning and drive me to the airport. Then it is the long flight to the USA. I wish that there was more that I could do here, but in reality is a very backward country. One has got to have friends and the only way to make friends here is to buy them.

I cooked for the kids and I another American breakfast. I took three potatoes, shredded them and washed the starch out of them. I cooked them up along with some onions, garlic and butter. Then I fried some eggs up I put some cheese on the potatoes and then laid the eggs on the top. It was pretty good. I wanted to cook up some more of the pork, but did not have time. Kola is constantly coming over to see what I am doing. He wants to see the photos I took with my digital camera.