February 28, 2017

Thoughts of Spring...

Spring is just 3 weeks away...(?)

Just yesterday I was wearing my shades while sifting and sorting items between our two trailers and some enclosed storage we rented. [Dubbed by some locals as The Denali Rose Storage Compound...] 
I hauled the materials to build some shelving to house the 100+ totes of gear we brought with us, and actually completed one the same day- and cut the pieces for another before it got too dark. 
Full disclosure: It seems I inadvertently saved cutting the 4'x8' shelving panels in half until it was dark... Why don't they put headlamps on Skill saws?

Yup. That is all ours... Note we were having a Severe Clear 'yesterday'... [I'm building suspense here...]

The view I'm blocking with the trailers...

Ah, the things we take for granted during our terrestrial phases...
Reorganizing our junk so it is accessible is important for several reasons: [But only to us; that was just a journalistic ploy to keep you from nodding-off... Professional talking heads would have squinted while leaning into the camera and grunting the word Important- distinguishing each of its syllables with a different voice inflection- before sitting back to resume their well practicedhead-bobs and nods...  [Watch them with the sound muted sometime to quickly spot their gesture patterns... Tell me if that isn't entertaining, if not more enlightening than what they are reading...]
In late March we haul the boat, and much of what we need is in the trailers... 
But most of our crap isn't accessible because both trailers are packed to the gills... [I mean, who hauls a partially full, organized trailer almost 10° of latitude south on land, sea, then land again?]
And we really miss having use of our two ATVs... trailer bound since 2014 when we bought Denali Rose and hauled the first trailer south...
Some of you may be wondering why we waited so long...  Well, one way to achieve a positive cash flow on Wrangell Island is to own storage units... They are rented before construction is completed... Our name finally came up, and what great timing!

Remember I opened with Spring is only 3 weeks away...?


National Weather Service Juneau AK
1200 PM AKST Tue Feb 28 2017
Cape Decision to Salisbury Sound Coastal Area-
Inner Channels from Kupreanof Island to Etolin Island-
Including the cities of Sitka, Port Alexander, Petersburg,
Wrangell, and Kake
1200 PM AKST Tue Feb 28 2017
* LOCATION...Portions of the eastern Gulf Coast and central
inner channels including Sitka, Petersburg, and Wrangell.
* SNOW...Additional 6 to 10 inches.  [8" since 05:30 this morning...]
* TIMING...Heavy snow will persist tonight through Wednesday
* IMPACTS...Travel will be hazardous. Heavy wet snow will be
difficult to manage.
A warning means that a winter storm is already occurring or
imminent. This storm could pose a threat to life and property.
This statement will be updated by 9 PM AKST Tuesday or sooner if
conditions warrant.

Visibility may be 1/2 mile...

I guess we won't bother using the BBQ tonight...

Looking forward through the dodger from the outside helm... Lets go fishing!

February 24, 2017

Friday Funny 02/24 (First Aid Knowledge)

Gus loves cat puns, he thinks they are funny!

So we, (mainly me), survived the NOLS Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course, and even though we've both had EMT training, we learned quite a bit.  There's a difference between patient care in urban settings, and wilderness settings. Mainly you're on your own, no 911, no screeching ambulance, no well-trained paramedic.

In attendance, we had two great instructors from out of town, and 26 students from Sitka, Juneau, Petersburg, Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Olympia WA.

No CPR needed!

We did have some odd CPR practice dummys. This is how they were described: Actar has a pale white head, with a blue cyanotic torso, and a cold black heart.

You attach the head to the torso, and put the round heart into the hole in the center. The heart has accordion folds that compress when you use your CPR technique on it. We also had CPR mouth guards to practice keeping body fluids to ones-self.

Getting instructions from Steve.

Steve demonstrating the "breastbone nuggie" on Bob, used to try to wake up an unresponsive patient.

Actar has a question.......  or does Brenda?

As part of the course, we received, the NOLS Wilderness Medicine, (6th ed), folder with NOLS info, course handouts, and the Wilderness First Aid pocket guide. 

All good resources. (We put a Denali Rose logo sticker on ours. 😀 )

Laminated for water-proofness. (Is that a word?)

We were encouraged to bring out own first aid packs, so that we could practice how easy/hard it was to use in an actual scenario. We brought the large one we used on multi-day kayak trips. We also used our packs to hold items that were supplied by NOLS for our outdoor medical scenarios.

Bags lined up, ready for the next outdoor medical emergency.

During the day, we would learn Patient Assessment, and medical practices, and then it would be announced, " get suited up, we're going outside for a scenario". Out would come the rain-pants, coats, boots, (a majority of Xtra-Tuffs, it's an Alaskan thing), hat, gloves, and tarp, or ground pad. If you were designated as a patient, the scene usually had you lying on the ground.

Annie, our other wonderful instructor.

Rapt attention, and note taking.

Steve explains....

Over the course of five days, as the patient, I had broken wrists, (I was an expert actor at this), broken clavicle, bruised rib, broken ankle, and horse-kicked in the kidney. As the medical care provider, I splinted arms, wrapped ribs, taped ankles, was supposed to diagnosis a diabetic in confusion, (didn't get that one, now I know), and a bunch of other ailments.

The first two days of class were rainy, so I didn't get any photos of us lying in the rain, and mud.

We're spread out, awaiting someone to care for us.

Asleep or hurt?

Mike is roll-playing a 13 year old girl who was kicked by a horse in the kidney, but won't admit it...

Then we gather to de-brief, and ask questions.

Added bonus, it's SUNNY outside.
Annie likes to use wound makeup, and she bruised me up. As part of the course, it's important to expose the injury, so it was good to have something that the student could find, and treat.

Clavicle bruise

Broken wrist.

How's that for a realistic horse kick?

One skill that I didn't foresee, or know that we were going to learn, was how to use a syringe.
(EEEEK, a hard one for me!) Steve was demonstrating the syringe, and had the man next to him expose his arm, and Steve plunged it in. OMGOSH, he didn't really do that did he!!!! Not only DID he do it, he expected us to do it too. I would have been better prepared, and not as queasy, if I had eaten breakfast that morning. I ended up using a sleeping mat instead of a real person. (FYI, I wasn't the only one using the mat.)

I did it! 
We ended the week on Friday with what Steve calls, "a celebration of knowledge". Which is instructor speak for we're taking tests. We did a written, and a scenario test. Bill and I did the scenario together, and passed our Patient Assessment with flying colors. (Trivia fact: Flying Colors is a nautical term for raising your flag showing that you have been victorious.)

A few of the students had to catch the afternoon flight home, so some of us, (and a few spouses), met at the Marine Bar and Pizza to decompress, eat pizza, and enjoy adult beverages.

Holly from Alaska Crossings, and Steve.

Holly and the staff at Alaska Crossings was the local organization that coordinated, and hosted the NOLS course. Thank you so much for providing this for us. We learned some valuable skills, enjoyed ourselves, and made some new friends. It's all a win-win.

For those who are Star Trek fans.
That one cracks me up, but this one is really more my style.

Would you like to take a course like this one? NOLS has 2 day, 5 day, and 10 day courses, as well as multi-week expeditions. They take place all over the world, even in Alaska.

Do you know CPR, or advanced First Aid?

Update: 15-Mar-2017 Follow-up post: First Aid Training, Knowledge, and Supplies

February 10, 2017

Friday Funny 02/10 (Family Visit-Dec)

You're coming when?

There are certainly no end to the "family coming to visit" cartoons, and jokes.


My son Matthew, daughter in law Veronica, and three grandsons, Dartagnon, Lance, and Sebastian, came to visit the day after Christmas. We didn't have the best weather for boating, but we made the best of the time we had. I'm glad they came! (no family jokes here)

They had quite the journey getting here. They loaded up all of the items that we had shipped to them, (spade anchor, Sailrite sewing machine and table, compact vacuum cleaner, batteries, and much more), in their vehicle and drove from El Paso TX. to Phoenix AZ. They had to do some creative packaging in order for the airline to accept the baggage. The anchor came in two pieces, and when the agent questioned them about the size and weight, Matthew told them they were going to Alaska, and it was hockey art.  😀  Airlines don't allow lithium batteries in checked luggage, so everyone had one large lithium battery in their backpack, and TSA had fun. Our "For our guests" page, here on the blog clearly states that we make mules out of you, and we certainly lived up to our promise.

An overnight stop along the way at a resort, and a visit to the other Grandma, helped to break up the trip. They spent a short night in the Sea-Tac airport, and arrived in Wrangell, on a slightly delayed Alaska Airlines flight around noon. Matthew and family did an excellent job of packing their own belongings, each had a small backpack, and the family had one additional duffle for their boots.

Dari and Lance relaxing on their sleeping bags in the v-berth.

All of their packs fit into the overhead port side single bunk. Well done!

We took the plunge, and headed off of the dock. We left a bit late in the day, and so accomplished a couple of firsts for me. (Bill, of course, is an old hand at all of this). We motored after dark, and since it was cloudy, no stars, no moon, it was dark! Then we anchored in the dark, deck lights, and hand signals worked great. We had been to Madan Bay before, and had several anchor points already labeled on the chart.

Matthew calls this one, "learning of the 5 million floatation, bouys, radios, beacons, safeties, alarms, scanners....."

Turning on systems at the outside helm.

And we're off!
It was a bit chilly out there....


I really appreciated the B&G chartplotter, and radar. AND of course the inside pilothouse helm station. We were all warm, dry, and still traveling to our destination.

Using the windshield wipers to keep the forward windows clear.
We planned to play some indoor games, fish, and use the dinghy during their short stay. It's just a taste of our new lifestyle.

The Hellship Denali Rose.

We had to anchor in a less desirable spot, due to another boat, what????!!!, in December, with NO ONE else out there? I know right?  The next morning, after our neighbor left, we pulled the anchor, and redeployed it in a better protected area of the bay. 

Everyone gets a lesson in anchor deployment.

We enjoyed out time that day, with catching up on the stories of our lives, playing cards, and fishing.

Sebastian plays solitaire with his Dad. 

Lance learns the new game "Gutpile", an Alaskan game that we gave Matthew for his birthday.

Lance fishes, and catches a small halibut, which we sent back to his home to get bigger.

Sebastian is a determined fisherman! He didn't catch anything, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Good job Seb!

Dari is playing video games....  time to charge that battery again.

The next day was sunny, but cold. We commissioned the dinghy, with Matthew and Dari's help.

It snowed in the hills, we had frost on the decks.

Casualty with the cold weather, we cracked the Strataglass. Just makes the new dodger higher on the priority list.

Dari mans the dinghy.

Matthew connects the gas line to the outboard.

Matthew and the guys get in the dinghy and zoom off to explore.

Is he enjoying it? Unknown, under the cold weather gear.

Yes, definitely enjoying it.

Group shot.

It was time to return to the dock for them to get packed, take showers, and prepare to leave Wrangell the next morning. They were continuing north to visit more family in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Family photo, Bill's not in it, he's taking it.

We got all of us in this one!
Thanks to Matthew for some of these photos.

Just having fun!

I'll try not to deploy this travel agency for their next visit. 😃

We would enjoy another visit sometime in the future.

As they left, we prepared for the next visitor who arrived the next day. We (again) employed the pack mule services, and John made trips to Sam's Club, and brought tubs of goodies. We so appreciate his good natured willingness to help. We missed having John's spouse Artha, but she stayed home to care for their ailing kitty. (We know how that feels). Kitty is doing fine, and we look forward to seeing Artha another time.

Having a cheese, cracker, and sausage snack. Yum!

They are intent on something......

Now, who's next?

Who's on your guest list, whether on land or sea?