Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On the boat Aug 4

I awoke in the morning feeling like a tired roasted chicken. The ship stopped in Juneau at 2:00 am and the captain’s announcement kept me up till 4:00 am. The electric ceiling heat got cranked up and literally forced me out of my sleeping bag. It was like a little chick incubator. I have spent all summer waking up in weird places and spending the first few minutes trying to figure out where it was by rerunning the trip in fast-forwards in my mind. With this mornings view I was relieved of all those questions. The sun was out and all I could see was a beautiful ocean view. I stumbled around and made my way to the showers. When I got done cleaning up, the boat was just pulling into Sitka. I grabbed all my cameras and headed off the boat.

My phone rang and it was my wife Rebecca. Her return home had brought back all the stress of her residency. We talked for a while and I realized that I was really starting to miss home. This trip has been great and I can’t wait for the next one, but, I was starting to think about all the things at work and home that needed to be attended to. Most importantly, my wife was needing my support also.

After the call from my wife I explored Sitka. It was a fishing town. Like most of the land on the north west side of this continent it was owned and occupied by Russians. In the center of town is the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in North America. Outside of town is a park dedicated to the native culture called Totem Pole Park. A dozen totem poles were scattered along a 1.5 mile trail. The trail ran through an old black spruce forest. Walking the trail to the back of the park I saw a stream. Several people were talking and pointing at the water. Walking down to the stream to look I saw that it was totally full of pink salmon. I tried taking a picture but the sun was creating too many reflections. On the way back to the boat I noticed the Sitka College. It appeared to be closed. The only building that was open had touch tanks of local sea life for the tourist. While talking to my wife I was surprised to discover that she had applied and been except to this college back when she was in High School, Strange uh! This was by far one of the nicest towns on the ferry route to Bellingham.

I got back to the boat and decided that I would skip the chick incubator sleeping arrangements. I figured I would go ahead and pitch my tent. I know this sounds weird but it is really totally normal on this boat. The fantail of the boat on level six is where most of the tents were pitched. But as I mentioned, by the time I got my bike strapped down all the spots were taken. That is why I slept in the deck chairs the first night. Many of the new passengers were now pitching tents on the seventh floor. I set up my tent and threw all my gear inside. As I was getting everything squared away I noticed an older man sitting near the rail on the boat. He was polishing off a pint of vodka. With in minutes of this sighting he was laying on the deck of the boat pointing his finger up in the air and I believe talking to God. I have no interest in denying anyone's religious freedoms, however, I believe that most faiths don’t pray using a long string of profanity like this old man did. So I figured this might make it a problem getting any sleep if this method of worship were to continue into the night. I slipped down to the front desk and asked if they could send someone up to visit with him. I then went and took a shower. Returning to the top deck I found out that this older man tried to take on four deck hands. Damn, I always miss the cool stuff. After this he was escorted to his room and told that he had to stay there for 24 hours or he would be put in the brig. I didn’t see him around the rest of the trip.

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