Departing Wrangell, on to new adventures!
We really feel good about making Wrangell our winter home this season. Wrangell is what I think of as a typical small town. The only difference is that instead of being out in the ‘country’ it is on an island. Everyone seems to know everyone. As a result, we stand out, as newbies, but we also felt very welcomed by the town. It has a very friendly vibe about it. People greet you, wave as they drive by or boat by, and it seems most everyone has a story to share.
When folks learned that we were going to stay in town for a while, they made sure that we knew who the other liveaboards in the harbor were, so that we could meet up with them. I might add, there were not very many of them, so for those that were there, we did get to know them well. We enjoyed dinners, the super bowl, holiday get togethers, hiking, trips to town, clam digging and lots of visiting. We were aware of covid, but it was not in our ‘circle of friends’ who had not traveled and had been boat bound in Wrangell. So that risk seemed incredibly low, and we felt like it was more prevalent in the ‘big cities’.
I was amazed at the variety of experiences enjoyed by the people who liveaboard in Wrangell. Our experience was primarily limited to people who lived in the harbor, and they have amazing stories to tell. We met Richard who lives on Dauntless. He cruised his Kadey Krogen up the eastern seaboard, crossed the north Atlantic, down the European coast and crossed the Atlantic again to the Caribbean. He then went through the Panama Canal and up the western coast where he settled in Wrangell. We met another couple who sailed ¾ of the way around the world, encountering pirates, and eventually ending up getting hit by a German ferry in the North Sea. Their boat was not salvageable, so they rebuilt a powerboat and settled in Wrangell. I also met a third gentlemen in the hardware store who recognized me. He said he was in the harbor and he and his wife spent several years cruising their sailboat around the world. They too, now keep their boat in Wrangell.
This year more people stayed on board during the winter because they did not want to travel south due to Covid-19. So, we had a bit more company. Many others enjoy fishing and cruising in Southeast Alaska and make Wrangell their boat home. We met so many more wonderful people as spring slowly arrived and people started coming back to town. It was fun reconnecting with them on their return to town.
It was fun to share adventures and learn about cruising in other parts of the world. Other than visiting, we edited videos, we built a website, we did boat projects and we worked on not getting depressed with the dark, wet, and cold weather.
A highlight was spending time on a shrimping trawler and learning about how that fishery works. Better than that, we got to know Captain Bill, a Marysville resident, close to our hometown of Everett. He shared with us how the shrimping operation works. He also shared with us how his vessel, F/V Martina, also works as a tender for other fish boats. His first mate for the 6-week season was Ken, who volunteered his time to learn in depth how this fishery works. Not that Ken wants to be a fisherman, but because he wants to understand it better to write about it. Ken is retired and writes novels based out of SE Alaska. They are a joy to read, and it is particularly fun to read about places or experiences we have shared.
Amy, a local fish boat owner and captain, was our neighbor and became a good friend. She shared with us how the seine fishery works, and all about crabbing as she experienced it off the coast of Oregon, January to April of this year.
And I would be remiss if I did not mention
Steve, who did our bulbous bow and installed our doors. He became another good friend and contact in town and someone we could call upon for questions or just to chat. He shared great fishing stories and many of his favorite fishing holes with us. He is also an accomplished halibut fisherman, both professionally (long lining) and personally,
including winning many derbies! There are so many, many other folks that we met while we were in town, and it was the accumulation of all these experiences that made Wrangell so special.
So, as we depart Wrangell, it should come as no surprise that it was bittersweet. We are excited to go and explore new places, but we will miss all the fabulous people that make Wrangell such an inviting place. We hope to be back sometime, but for now, we need to be off exploring new places. The weather has kept us in the harbor more than we would like, so we are anxious to get out to see what we can see. Jim and I are both motivated by going new places. So, we will crab a little, then work on positioning ourselves to be ready for our Gulf of Alaska crossing to Prince William Sound. We are so close to the magical Prince William Sound, and before we head south, we do not want to miss it.
So, stay tuned for northbound adventures!