Take the in shore passage…

51’08 N

 159’36 W

 8kn

 090′

 WNW 20kn

Dutch Harbor with Tecla

  Our last night in Dutch was spent sharing pitchers with the local fishermen in the Norwegian Rat. The notorious bar The Elbow shut down a couple of years ago. It was known for its bar fights and general roughness. We had passed the Norwegian Rat several times and by Friday evening we had gathered the courage to visit this fine establishment… On entering the bar it was obvious there where two kinds of people in. Young American navy cadets and fishermen! A great combo for an evening out! The young guys where blocking the bar so we spent ages getting a drink. A beast for a fishermen was quick to come to our aid and helped quench our thirst by offering us a pitcher! At that moment we all relaxed and where all ears to the stories of bounty full catches and  wife’s and children far away. Not often have I met such a rough and friendly bunch of people! The cadets where out by 2330 and the last one had not left the premises before one of the guys rang the bell for a round of drinks! Our fisherman was pleading for us to follow the coast north and take the inshore passage in Canada. He had a good point, there was no denying that! He lived in Portland, Oregon, and had brought fishing boats over to the Aleutian Chain many times. He was not a lot older than I am, but he sounded very salty. He put extra wait in his stories by adding some horrible (sand) bar  crossings on the Oregon coast. This was his first time he did not have to bring the boat back to main land US. He was a happy man! “The weatherman doesn’t know shit” he mentioned multiple times.

  The crossing to Galapagos is one of a good 5000nml. You first make for the coast of the US and stay about 100nml of. This way you leave the high pressure system in the centre of the North Pacific to starboard and enjoy the Northerly’s for most of the way. Of course this means a crossing of 1200nml from the Aleutian Islands to Oregon or California. On average there are two low pressure systems passing through a week! You are bound to collide with one! The good thing is the winds are likely to be from the west… This is what our fisherman was worried about, and that is why he always took the inshore passage. Of course I had considered this, but it puts a lot of miles to the already long trip. Plus you are right in the spot where all these depressions end. Meaning a lot of wind and probably a lot of motoring… The fisherman kept pleading his case. It looked like I was getting smaller and smaller as the fisherman kept getting taller and taller! In the end he admitted to being a powerboat man and did not really understand or see the purpose of sail. Fair enough! It was great to get a little feeling to what these guys and girls where up to!

  Three pitchers later it was time to go! I had a look around the bar to bag our fisher man good by and thank him for his advise. I found him out side at the huge bonfire. I shook his hand and thanked him. He said “you are going to shoot right a cross ,aren’t you… idiot” Next day last bits and peace’s and we where of. Into the rain and mist. We passed Cape Cheerful and made for Unalga Pass. Here we where briefly stopped by the 5 knots of current but it did not last long. Soon we found our way to open water and set the remaining sails. Reefed main and number two jib. I remembered my last steps ashore when I was bringing out the garbage. When I looked out over my shoulder Unalaska was on fire! The setting sun burned through the clouds of showers and turned everything in to gold. The last sight of land for along time! We are shooting right across… no doubt about it.

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