We were lucky with the weather on our flight to Dutch Harbor. Not only did we essentially have a 3 hour scenic flight along the way, but we actually got to land! Often the planes can’t get in on account of fog and bad visibility. We took off in Anchorage at 12:30 and soared over the Alaska Range and Cook Inlet, low enough to see crevasses in the glaciers. Seth and I both spent the first half of the flight staring out the window at the immense peaks. Then it went from mountains to muskeg and tundra, dotted everywhere with little lakes. We spotted King Salmon, where we had landed to fuel on our way out to Anchorage last year, and then the fog socked in, thick and impenetrable all over the Bering Sea. Thankfully Unalaska is a big enough island that it burns off the fog if the land heats up enough, so a few minutes before our descent, we saw clear skies and green hills. Some of the mountains were still snow-capped, and the green of the tundra was so vibrant and spring-like it looked almost fake.
Then we’d arrived! Although we knew we wouldn’t be meeting our friends Andy and Daneen because they were in SE Alaska sailing their boat, we were very grateful to be met by their daughter and son-in-law. We got our first glimpse of Celeste as we drove past the small boat harbor on the way to Andy and Daneen’s house. We were both relieved to see our little boat looking almost exactly as we’d left her, though of course, it was from a distance.
We hit the ground running, loading 70% of our stuff from A&D’s attic into the truck to start re-stowing Celeste. We wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather to take our cushions and bedding and other things that would benefit from staying dry. Once down on the dock, though, we left the truck to inspect Celeste. She looked perfect!! Even the dock lines were exactly as we’d left them, not a bit of chafe on them, despite Daneen’s reports during the winter of Celeste heeling over at the dock in storms with winds over 100 knots.
The decks looked great too, only a fair amount of eagle poop covering them, not surprising considering how many of the big birds frequent the area thanks to the fish processing plant. A few of the lines we’d left had some mold growing on them, but nothing a good scrubbing couldn’t remove. The only thing that could at all be considered a problem was a coating of algae on the waterline and below, including a lot growing on the propeller. Since there’s no crane or any other way to haul out of the water, that would mean donning scuba gear for a swim in the Bering Sea. Brrrr!
Below, Celeste looked even better than we’d left her! We had cleaned everything off, opened up the lockers and a few floorboards, and plugged in an AC heater (we were plugged into shore power) to keep things dry. We’d also ordered an active dehumidifier but it hadn’t arrived by the time we’d flown out. Andy and Daneen had plugged in the dehumidifier and rigged a length of hose into the sink so that it would discharge continuously. They’d also taped cardboard to the floorboards and companionway steps to keep everything from getting scuffed and dusty. There was no water in the bilge at all, no mold anywhere, no condensation anywhere, and the boat smelled as fresh and clean as ever! Once again, we can’t thank them enough! It was so wonderful to come back to such a clean boat and find we didn’t have a million projects to do before we could live aboard comfortably. We still had projects to do, but they were the planned ones!