Alaska Report #3… A Sailor's Eye
By the time the sun was high enough to finally reveal where we were… Shale Kenny and I were traveling through the middle of nowhere. A breathtakingly beautiful nowhere, but nowhere, never-the-less. The Taku was making a steady sixteen to twenty knots through wide choppy channels (hold on!), or slowing down to about six when it wound its way through such narrow passageways I could have spit over the rail and hit dirt. Except the icy wind (eighteen degrees) would have blown it right back at me. No one was out on deck at that hour.
Instead, they were either sleeping, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in one of the observation lounges, or heading toward the cafeteria for an early breakfast. People were sleeping all over the place (you get to do that on the ferry). Some even brought their own pillows, sleeping bags, and blow-up mattresses. Should you be the more private type, they will even let you set up a tent. Which people do mostly out on deck during the summer, when it's warmer.
Traveling by ferry seems to have the same effect on people as being snowed in, or stuck in an airport with all planes grounded, due to weather. One simply settles down for the wait. No one is in a rush to do anything else, and they are all very friendly. On the Taku, there is a movie room (large comfortable seats with headrests), a computer room (lots of little desks and plug-in areas), and several various observation areas surrounded by windows for the best panoramic view. All very relaxing and enjoyable.
Until sometime mid-morning, when there was a drill.
First there was a blast of emergency bells, followed by the directive to disregard all announcements until a second round of the bells. Between those bells we heard running feet (all hands to stations!), "Fire on the car deck!" (roll out the hoses!), and other various scenarios played out and practiced for.
When it was over, everyone went back to whatever they were doing while the huge (really huge) spectacular scenery continued to roll past the windows. Like a movie. Because those big, rugged, snowy peaks were outside. And inside--where we were--was a comfortable seventy degrees throughout the entire vessel. However, I couldn't really go back to enjoying that scenery until I had a closer look at the emergency instructions glued to the back of our cabin door…
YOU ARE HERE. In red. With an arrow pointing to our cabin. Then "Should you hear the emergency alarm, dress as warm as possible, proceed to the nearest muster station, then wait further instructions from a crew member." Hmm… two muster stations…upper decks…surrounding the lifeboats. Little red dots leading to the closest route up there (a person can get lost in all these corridors and stairways).
All of which suddenly reminded me to take a better look at what I was here for. The sea. And how it tended to behave (or not) in all these wild, meandering places. My conclusions? Some of those cantankerous straits, you couldn't pay me to try and cross in our little boat. But the calmer coves and passageways could be heaven on earth. Of course, I didn't see how I could ever tell that to the Captain. So, instead, I took lots of pictures and videos, so he can decide for himself.
I'll let you know how that turns out (on the other hand, I definitely know how it is going to turn out for Stella and friends!).
Alaska Report #4 coming up on Friday.
Hugs and blessings,
(who is waving hello to Karla Akins, today… "Ahoy, fellow adventurer--wish you were here!")