We spent a few days being tourists in Juneau.
We went to the newly remodeled museum. Notable: it is shiny!! And not quite as cozy.
We took Joe to the library, he hadn’t been there before. Notable: luckily we had a kid with us and could go in the kids section because every chair was filled with wi-fi users just like us.
Saw a movie at the independent local theatre. Notable: good popcorn and bulk candy choices by the cup.
Joe and Ocean went to a party with a friend. Notable: Ocean played Alaskan party games like axe throwing and hammering nails into a stump faster than the other guy.
We did our provisioning. Notable: Costco really rolls out the red carpet in the free taster department on Saturday!
Last chance shopping for the freshest looking veggies. Notable: Delish americano at Coppa and yummy scone for Ocean.
Walked all around town with the cruiseship tourists. Notable: Juneau has some special places. Sometimes they are hard to appreciate but they have grown on me over the years.
Today we are traveling from Auke Bay to downtown Juneau. Towels are drying, the barbecue is out and long line gear is piled all over the deck. All signs of being between fisheries.
A few weeks ago my father-in-law asked me if I was looking forwards to the summer or if it just seemed like work and less of an adventure. We talked about how knowing what to expect makes it more efficient but also how every year it is another year older harder. I feel a few more body creaks. I can stay up a little less late than the summer before. There are things we do to compensate. We add onto our minimum sleep time. We don’t hesitate to leave dirty dishes for the morning. And yes, the excitement from the newness isn’t there to get us through the boring times. But the routine is so comfortingly familiar. We leave our winter home just when the days are getting warm. Ocean and I get on a jet and fly north to catch up with Joe. We notice the latitude, the days are a little longer but the grass hasn’t reached its as-fast-as-it-can growing yet. We get to see the spring flowers blooming for a second time. We put our cashmere sweaters back on. Our life routine is refreshingly different than it is down south. We follow the salmon and the northern lights. We are in our summer home.
Well it wasn’t funny for Ocean but it ended OK. We were hauled out over spring break, which could be a little boring for a kid. Of course Ocean made the best of it. He rode his bike around the port to visit people, he rode to the food co-op to get himself some lunch or for something we “needed”. One day he rode as far as the library. His bike was his independence. Today he rode to the boat from school and parked his bike on the dock. It was another WINDY day. When we looked out the bike was gone. Ocean was UPSET. Evidently Joe had been through this before because he knew just where the bike was. He fished for it with the grapple hook, Ocean rinsed it off, they oiled it up and Ocean is back on the road.
This moment never looks as good as it feels. It feels like old paint scraped off and fresh paint rolled on. It feels like being measured and fitted and dressed up for a few pieces of new wood. It feels like seeing a part of the boat for a few weeks that we take for granted the rest of the year. It feels like the beginning of another fishing season.
It is Thursday night, Joe is polishing the prop and will put on the hub zinc. These are the final steps before we go in the water. Fishermen have been going though this same spring ritual with Caribou for 65 years. It feels like 3 weeks of windy, rainy, boat work is forever but it is a little blip in the life of the boat and so important.
The are lots of areas on this 65 year old boat that need a little extra attention. A shipwright took the old caulking out of this topsides seam and put new cotton in. He left me with instructions to fix the broken plank end. “Make a dam with a yellow plastic spatula and block it in with wedges. Once the filler is dry sand it out and after it is painted it might look kind of like a plank.” As they say it is a long way from the heart.
It was an early morning, before school, haulout. Uneventful until they tried to drive the lift onto the road and realized there wasn’t enough clearance. The port had a problem with the lift we usually use so we were in one just a bit smaller. What to do? The borrowed cordless sawzall saved the day. Unfortunately Joe had to cut down the aluminum rails on the top of the bait shed. By the time Ocean had a just baked, oven hot, blueberry muffin from the cafe Caribou was back on the road.