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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Aleutian Fusion

Almost forgot about this blog. Here's a mass e I just sent out to friends:

Mass e time again. I'm in the Alaskan Aleutian chain now, in Port Moller, on the Bering Sea side, out in the middle of nowhere!

My friend, Ray, has a fishing boat & has been asking me to come up here to be his deck-hand for months, and I've always wanted to go to the Aleutians since a kid. What was holding me back was I didn't wanna spoil my moneyless venture. But, adventure junky I am, my desire to see the Aleutians superceded all & I said yes, but I didn't want to be paid. However, pay or no, I have also had misgivings about plunging into & supporting such a market industry. That's something to talk about later. (But I can tell this is so good for me, to keep my feet in all worlds, to understand all facets of life, all points of view).

Later, Ray told me a third person, Stephan (pron "Stefan") was coming. I was also having misgivings about spending 3 mos. on a small boat with somebody I'd never met. I'm with 2 total heteros who work construction together in Moab. But it turns out the 3 of us are like 3 p's in a pod. I liked Stephan when first meeting him, but my doubts totally left when we flew into Anchorage and Stephan's luggage was totally lost. It didn't even phase him. He was cheery as ever, taking it as part of the adventure. I then realilzed what a high-quality human b he was, & he's very philosophical under the surface.

We've been in Port Moller for days now, but haven't launched to sea yet. Takes a while to prep the boat, especially after the hard Alaskan winter. We've been sleeping & cooking in the boat - giving us a taste of life on the water. All 3 of us have been having so much fun & getting along together so well it amazes me. It's almost mystical, like Ray intuited that we would could be so compatible. So far. And we couldn't ask for a better skipper than Ray. He's totally easy-going, non-hierarchical, yet has our total respect and we feel we'd do anything for him.

Port Moller is near the end of the Alaskan Peninsula, not quite an island. It is on a fairly flat area with big snowy mountains & a couple active volcanoes nearby. It's been around 60 degrees F in the day, & the dark night is only a couple hours long. The sun pokes out a few times during the day, but there are always clouds, & it often drizzles.

Huge brown bears & foxes roam freely everywhere, especially in the evening. They like the dump, and they come around the boat yard daily, as do the foxes, looking for scraps. For some reason, brown bears are called grizzly bears in the interior, but not on the coastal areas, though they're the same species, & no less dangerous. Some of the foxes here are red, and some black & grey, with black "boots" on their legs. I'm not sure what kind they are, yet. But the foxes have no fear and come really close to us.

Bald eagles & seals are everywhere, too. I found a dead bald eagle near the beach the other day, which Stephan & I hiked out to again last night.

We have the boat all loaded up with food & have been taking turns cooking. We have a small stove in the cabin that runs off the engine diesel, & a bbq grill outside. Ray likes to bbq a lot, so that's what we eat most of. The salmon is heavenly. We've been getting fresh veggies now & then from the port store, but will have to do with canned while out to sea. Ray likes his red wine & Stephan likes his beer, so we're going through it fast, so we'll probably have a "dry" boat while fishing. My body chemistry can handle drinking only now & then.

The adventure is just beginning, & you probably won't hear from me again some time since I can only e while we're at port, & e time is limited.

Oh, yeah, we're likely here until September, at which time I have a return flight to Portland, OR.

Have a glorious summer, where-ever you are.



  1. Suelo,

    Where is the dump you are talking about? I'm curious. Please let me know when you have some time and have a great, safe adventure! Lucky guy! Interior bears have fewer food sources than Coastal bears. The coastal bears are a tad less dangerous because of the high amount of fish available to them. Interior bears rely on plants, berrys, ground squirrels, carcasses etc... Also, Coastals see more people (photographers, hikers etc..) and are used to them.
    Hope you have yourself some real BEAR spray (not mace, not hot spray, BEAR spray)be gentle with the bears, they'll almost always scoot if you fore warn them of your presence. Make noise while hiking, stay away from carcasses, no food left about, but MAN, mostly have a great, great time!!!!!

  2. Thanks for the tips, Ano

    The dump is right north of Pt Moller. Sometimes there are as many as 5 bears munching away in there, totally disinterested in me when I walk by. When I look at the bear shit around, it's full of plastic bags, styro cup pieces, surgical gloves, etc.

    They tell me there's a lodge nearby that provides insanely expensive "brown bear hunting safaris" to rich folks. Then, little do they know, he brings them near the Pt Moller dump for easy targets when they think they're hunting out in the wild boonies.

  3. stay away from carcasses, no food left about, but MAN, mostly have a great, great time!!!!!