Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Big milestone.

OK folks. Here is some catch up. Lots of work to do in Dutch Harbor, AK, on the world's deadliest sailboat, Ocean Watch.

Monday, June 15 Hoonah, Alaska
Sitting at the dock in Hoonah, AK, after a short run yesterday from Juneau. "Hoonahlulu" as we are calling it is a little, mostly native, fishing village on Chichigof Is. It will be the last stop before Dutch Harbor. Our scientist, Micheal Reynolds, has his probe in the water this morning taking multiple readings in the harbor, including acoustic measurements. Not much for sun/cloud info today as it is overcast and raining. Captain Schrader shared some wonderful stories last night from his solo days, especially from the Falkland Islands where he had a magnificent adventure in a time of war and conflict.

Tuesday, June 16 Gulf of Alaska
Making our crossing of the Gulf now on our way to Dutch Harbor. About 1000 miles from the little "hobbit" town of Elfin Cove where wooden boardwalks wind around the entire town and you have a constant feeling of being in someone's living room. We departed from this funny little hamlet into Cross Sound at 0700 and are now some 100+ miles off the coast.

The weather cleared and we could clearly see the Glacier Bay wilderness in the distance and then at over 60 miles offshore, the majestic St Elias Mountain range popped up above the clouds. At 19,551 feet, Mount Logan anchors this remote coastal range. Glassy seas and little wind. Ocean Watch motors along this evening looking for some clear skies and lot of stars on a moonless night.

Thursday, June 18 Gulf of Alaska
Happy Birthday Mom! Miss you, sailing the blue waters of Okoboji, all my great friends and loved ones.

Friday, June 19 Gulf of Alaska
Now 450 miles as the crow flies to Dutch Harbor. Should be in Monday morning. Long slog through these waters. Confused sea yesterday after some really good sailing Wednesday. Miles pass, days fade, discussions come and go. Drifting into more science today and the carbon "sink" we are sailing through which is the northern Pacific and Gulf of Alaska where the waters are more acidic (less basic) than the world average. This is an important function of the world's seas and oceans as a "sink" but they are being overwhelmed by the shear amount of carbon in the atmosphere to absorb. See my blog on the AtA site on 6/20.

Saturday, June 20 Gulf of Alaska
The Gulf is kicked up. Right in our face. Just took the second reef and it was messy. Night, dark, dangerous. All of the above. About 175 miles east of the Shumagin Island group, then another 175 to the cut at Unimak Pass.

Sunday, June 21 Gulf of AK
Happy summer solstice. Funny how I have wished this from the north a few times, cold lonely places far away. But in these places there is discovery. We are crossing Cloud Nine's rumb line from a couple years ago. Dutch Harbor Seems an eternity away. 2200- later, things have settled down. Problem is still wind on our nose. Cooling off too. Now 5.5 C. Starting to look for Shishaldin Volcano, 9500' of wow.

Monday, June 22 Unimak Island, AK
Found Shishaldin and its mate, Isanotski Peak. These are amazing formations along the Aleutian Islands. You almost expect them to blow at any time. Shishaldin is a perfect cone volcano. Alaska has 10% of the world’s earthquakes and is situated on the "ring of fire." I remember this area well and use the image I took two years ago in my presentations on climate change.

Tuesday, June 23 Dutch Harbor, AK
We made it! 0230 hrs arrival. Back at the commercial fishing dock where Cloud Nine was two years ago after finding no room in the small boat harbor. Made a bit of a toast together at 0330. A long, long sail across the Gulf against the grain. 1100 miles. Big milestone here folks. We can now go north and set the table for the NW Passage. Got in the bunk at 0400. Sleep came easy. Lot's to do now in Dutch. Science lecture and slideshow tonight to begin. First, breakfast and shower, not necessarily in that order. Look for photos and twitter feeds... Happy to be here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Check In Checking Out

Hello All,
It has been an extraordinary trip to Juneau. We absolutely had a great time here learned so much from all the dedicated folks in and around this beautiful area. Thanks especially to Theresa and Jeff. You two are amazing. And my personal port hosts (complete with Iowa connection) Bill and Nancy, you two rock! The salmon bake with a fire on their green roof yesterday was a real highlight.

Now on to Dutch Harbor. A long 1000 mile passage through the Gulf of Alaska where two years ago we had 60+ knots and big seas. This will be the first big test of Ocean Watch at sea since Seattle. Please stay tuned to the AtA website; Herb and I will be doing weblogs and updates. I will work on the image library and get that all up and going. We have over a year out here and things are developing as we go, so bear with me and the voyage and it will iron out. Take care out there. Check in soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Greetings from Juneau

Hello All, lots going on to say the least. We have had a fantastic visit to Juneau full of science, education and media. Lots of work being done aboard Ocean Watch and we have our first big open house tomorrow. Mark and Michael did radio interviews with Alaska Public Radio and we were on the Juneau Empire front page two days in a row. So excellent local press- http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/060809/loc_448715983.shtml

Yesterday we had a visit and interview with Susan Murray and Christopher Krenz from OCEANA. Their offices are right here in Juneau. Check them out. They are dedicated to ocean and sea issues, legislative initiatives, and active public campaigns. http://www.oceana.org/north-america/home/

Last night our scientist, Michael Reynolds, was the keynote speaker at the University of Alaska SE here in the Juneau area. Mark Schrader also spoke and I did a slide show to illustrate our journey up to this point and time. First time out of the blocks for all of us. It went very well.

Today we hiked up to Mendenhall Glacier with glaciologist, Roman Motyka. We learned more about the rapidly receding glacier and the cumulative effect this is having in the north, especially in Greenland with its massive ice cap.

Ice reports continue to come in from the Arctic. After a slow beginning to the melt season, the Arctic's ice is beginning it's seasonal melt and is proceeding at a rapid rate of loss. We are expecting the usual pattern of the last couple seasons where the Northwest Passage is completely open once again. Probably good for us, not so good for the planet.

We saw lots of wildlife on the way up especially after entering Alaskan waters. We observed Orcas, lots of dolphins playing wonderfully about the bow, eagles, and a couple humpbacks. We stopped and dissected a jellyfish for sampling and did some acoustic testing. All in all, a great trip north. Just the way we envisioned it could happen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Alert Bay and out to Sea to Juneau

Watch for a big update from Juneau...
Amazing storyteller William in beautiful and culturally rich Alert Bay.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Victoria, CANADA

Arrived yesterday. Lots to do today. Leave tomorrow for Juneau. Great day yesterday with Carol Hasse and great sailmaking team. More later...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Voyage of Ocean Watch Begins

At 1200 Hours, May 31, 2009, the 64' steel sailing vessel, Ocean Watch, left the dock in Seattle on her 25,000 mile voyage of discovery. It was a scramble to be sure to get going, but thanks to first mate, Dave Logan, and his fine team, we made in the nick of time. We have a great send-off, lots of media, the public, and even bagpipes. 20 people on board made for a festive atmosphere for the short go to Port Townsend, a lovely sea-faring town full of characters and wooden crafts of all sorts. Fantastic home-cooked me for us and wonderful people. Off to Victoria Canada today. Stay tuned, we have begun.

Thoughts from David Rockefeller-
David Rockefeller, Jr., co-founder of Sailors for the Sea, said, “ This project is definitely an expedition for our times. The health of our oceans is important to all of us, not just those who live by the sea. Our food sources, our climate and even the air we breathe are dependent on the vast ocean systems. Around the Americas will demonstrate both the current deterioration of the ocean condition and what we as individuals can do to reverse or at least slow the negative effects.”