Monday afternoon Harbor Master told us that we could move to the opposite side of the dock which has made life a lot easier for us as we no more have to climb over the tugboat's rusty railing in order to get on the dock. Now, the only remaining problem is the metal dock itself with its grill-like surface. Latte either seems to think she is going to fall through the holes or then the metal grill is not good for her paws. Whatever the reason, she absolutely refuses to walk on it. For the first couple of days, Pekka had to carry her ashore, approx. 100 metres. Now, we have managed to convince her that walking on the dock's narrow wooden rail is the way to do it. Poor Latte, she dislikes the dock, the perpetually cold weather and especially the clothes she has to wear to endure it. The life of a boat-dog is not all fun!
Riitta has now downsized Latter's Alaska-wear to make them a little more comfortable for her. It is great to have a sewing machine aboard, especially one like ours which is Super Automatic and Ideal Topstar as is written on it! The robust machine was made in Germany back in the 60's, it is of solid metal, and weighs about twenty kilos. Though it is heavy to handle, the advantage of the weight is that the machine can be used even in rough weather.
As everywhere in Alaska, the people in Dutch Harbor have been extremely friendly, always willing to assist and advise, offer a ride etc. During the past few days, we have met some of our old friends and made new ones. On Monday, a Swiss couple Silvia and Rolf from S/V Betonia came for a visit. They have been sailing since 1996, and it appeared that we had mutual friends. This is actually quite common amongst long-time sailors as you learn to know a lot of people at anchorages and marinas, you talk to people over VHF or SSB even if you don't actually meet them, you hear about their adventures from other sailors etc. etc. In this case, we all knew Sophie and Didier from French Polynesia who sail the Sauvage and whom we had hoped to meet somewhere in the Aleutian Islands. But, alas, we had passed them at sea on our way to Sand Point.
Wednesday evening Slavek from American Seafoods Co. gave us a pleasant surprise by taking us sightseeing. We drove to the beautiful Summer Bay where, according to Slavek, wild horses can often be seen on the beach. These are descendants of the horses that were brought to the island during the second world war. We didn't see the actual horses but, instead, a lot of droppings and hoof prints in the volcanic sand. On our way back, we saw whales in the bay and two cute fox puppies playing happily by the side of the road. So, it was a real wildlife tour! Yesterday, Karl came to see us. We had met him already two years ago when we were in Dutch Harbor for the first time. Karl is originally from Riga, Latvia, and works here as an underwater welder. He was interested to hear about our journey, and is himself planning to set sail in the foreseeable future.
We have been in Dutch Harbor almost a week now, and it is time to continue our voyage. We'll leave probably on Sunday and our next port of call will be St. Paul of the Pribilof Islands, weather permitting, of course.
Thanks to her extremely hard-working Skipper, our good boat Sarema should now be in top condition and ready for the Passage. Whether this is really the case, only time will tell.