Monday, 9 June 2008

Fwd: It’s what you do. 535235.48 1663302.01

0330 9th June.
Just getting the head around being here. When you've been out of touch for so long and have a big to-do list, it's daunting to arrive somewhere like this and find that really, there's no change – you're still out on your own, have to find your way around, fit in with the local priorities, amend your plans on the basis, for instance, that the facilities just don't exist. What is wonderful is that the place is full of people who both appreciate what we have achieved and are trying to do and want to help.
We have been massively helped by Dave Boisseau, who runs the Westward Fisheries plant and is himself fiendishly busy as the Pollock fishing season opens at 10.00 tomorrow – amazing stuff and the statistics are astonishing – too much for this blog, but absolutely fascinating.
We arrived in the middle of the night, Whitters pretty knackered, having pushed the boat pretty hard for the previous few days since McQ's encounter with the boom, worked our way into the inner harbour and were met by the skipper of another Australian boat, Meridian Passage, who took our lines, gave us a couple of beers and a couple of apples and took himself off to bed – tried to thank him and he just said 'It's what you do'
The place is full of people like him. The bar at the Grand Aleutian Hotel rocks every evening with men and women here for the fishing season – frontier stuff and most of them with interesting stories. And I arrived at the boat yesterday to find 2 big bottles of Guinness in the cockpit with a note saying 'Understand you guys could use some of this. Best wishes – F/V Camille J' Wonderful! Thanks guys!
And Leif Hagen, a rigger who lives in Vashon, Washington, contacted us offering to build a new shroud for us, so that's under control – he went way out of his way to help and wants to be part of the project – thanks Leif!
My brother David – the Packhorse – arrived with lots of stuff for us put together by Duncan and Speedy and PMcQ – thanks to you all, especially Duncan.
And I spent yesterday afternoon talking to Tom, the skipper of one of Westward's fishing vessels. One of the more interesting afternoons of my life – big vessel, massively complicated equipment and electronics and Tom really on top of it all and interested and impressed by our rather trivial venture by the standards of what those guys do. He showed me where the fleet (hundreds of them!) are likely to be when we leave here, sorted me on procedures, offered me the help – and respect, which was nice – of the fleet. We'll look after you – don't hesitate! Again, it's what you do!
Berri parked in what used to be the WW2 submarine base, Whitters in the hotel next door, the old WW2 HQ building. Relics of WW2 everywhere. McQ and David up the road in the altogether more palatial Grand Aleutian, Dave B has found me a bike and today will be a day of going around and getting various other fixes under way. Boat partly unpacked, still to be cleaned out, lots of stuff to be shipped home from here. The next leg will have to be much more streamlined with 3 of us aboard – nothing that doesn't contribute to come with us, so even the sextant will be off.
Lots more over the next few days.