The Journey Home Day 7

by Jessica Miller

August 15, 2006

The following posting is from Captain Bob, who is onboard in the Bering Sea…

Aug 11
Well, today is a day that sea lovers like me don’t usually care to talk about or think about. The weather system that I was hoping to get a head start on caught us already and it’s a little more than we were expecting along with heavy rain. Poor Willie had the 2 am – 6 am wheel watch and when I woke up at about 5:30, while trying to keep from getting tossed out of my bunk, he was standing in front of the captain’s chair bracing himself on three sides. I say poor Willie because it’s his time to try to sleep and in this weather it will be extremely difficult at best (as some of the expedition crew can attest to). The ship is safe enough but if we need to move around it means holding on with both hands and leaning on the wall all at the same time. I’ve changed course to try to minimize the rolling and pitching. Hope it helps Willie to sleep though it will extend our travel time a bit.

Willie read my blog for yesterday and when he read my comment about “I need a haircut” he made some smart remark about being lucky that animal control in Kodiak didn’t catch me. What a wise guy.

In the afternoon Willie relieved me on wheel watch so I could take a nap. By late afternoon when I took the watch again the sea conditions had changed directions a few more times and Willie had us right back on course and route again. We are about half way across the Gulf of Alaska now and I guess this means that we’re on the down hill portion.(Unfortunately the speed hasn’t improved on the downhill side.) We are just passed a number of undersea mountains referred to on the chart as Gulf Of Alaska Seamount Province.

The seas and winds are still up but the rain is gone and there are a few patches of blue sky to remind us that there are better conditions ahead. I’ll be glad to see them again. However, with the sun shining on the high seas with the high winds pushing the tops of the waves like sparkling white frosting, one can even find some beauty in the midst of a storm and know that this too shall pass.

We have just less than 300 miles to reach the north end of Graham Island in Canada. We should reach there sometime Sunday morning. It’s 8 pm, still light outside and Willie just went into the engine room to do his regular check up rounds. I can see him in the safety TV monitor we have in the wheel house. There are cameras in the main engine room and generator engine room. As I watch him meticulously go through and check everything I realize what a sense of security I feel with him being here and responsible for keeping this ship running. I’m really glad he’s here both as a mechanic and as a friend. It’s like, together, we can do anything and go anywhere the ship can take us. I look forward to those times and places we’ll travel to for research in the future.

– Captain Bob

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