Images of Nome

September 15, 2019
Nome, Alaska

One thing singlehanding teaches is the beauty of uninterrupted sleep. Even if he wakes naturally a time or two on that first night, once in port, the sailor’s shedding of responsibility and an unmoving bed are the sweetest luxury.

Next day to chores. The fuel truck was called and tanks filled but not jerry cans. Their time is past, and I gave half of them away to other boats. From here on extended calm should be the least of our worries. In the afternoon, a complete oil and filter change by way of a thank you to Big Red. A little shopping (top of the grocery list: pastry and fresh bread). A steak dinner. Alaskan beer.

Then it was time for a brief wander…

The towns of Alaska are unique in ways not found in the Canadian or Greenlandic north, and emblematic of this uniqueness is the great number of reality TV shows that have sprung up along its shores. Dutch Harbor has its “Deadliest Catch;” Homer, “Alaska the Last Frontier.” In Nome, the pay dirt is mining and the show, “Bering Sea Gold.”

Gold is Nome’s claim to fame, but the mining is not done in the nearby creeks and rivers so much as in the wide, shallow and sandy-bottomed bay just to the south. Thus, instead of fishing boats, the harbor is chockablock with dredges of all sorts. Most are small, home-built contraptions that look barely fit enough to sink properly. A few are large, gangly barges that follow the same theme.

One of my first sights (sorry, I was too arrested to take a photo) was a fight along the wharf between a small dredge owner and his wife. It was a screaming match that lasted hours. Take after take with the lone cameraman moving between the dredges and the wharf for clever angles.

Another famous descriptor is that “in Nome you will find more bars than churches.” I did not attempt a count, as such, but I discovered on my hike only three churches whereas on the town’s main drag, a person could stagger from one bar to the other without becoming overly winded.

6 Comments on “Images of Nome

  1. “Most are small, home-built contraptions that look barely fit enough to sink properly.” Contender for one of my fav entries (although the competition is substantial).

  2. Would have liked to meet you but busy with boat building – racing winter’s onset. That house with the neatly stacked woodpile is Jerry Pushcar’s. He recently published his book “Waters Beneath My Feet – New Orleans to Nome” about his canoe trip up the Mississippi – a good read available on Amazon. I just live a couple blocks up from the harbor in what was a gold rush saloon in 1899. Stopped by your boat a couple times to see if you needed anything. Anyway – onward!

  3. Tracker says your current speed is 17 knots. Must have found a mighty current šŸ˜‰ Looks like plenty of wind for a while. Take pains to stay safe. Hoping my schedule lines up to see you pass under the bridge.

  4. You showed me Mo when we met at KKMI, just before your first voyage. I’ve been following you ever since. I constantly check my email for any possible updates! Your epic journey combined with your eloquent writing, keeps me spellbound. Thank you SO MUCH for bringing all of us along!

  5. You are a gifted storyteller – I can’t wait for your first book. Saw NOME on TV a few nights ago. I would have kept on channel surfing except I knew you were to arrive there and wanted to see some of the area. I think the show was called Bering Sea Gold – your comment “Most are small, home-built contraptions that look barely fit enough to sink properly” was the perfect description of the barges on the show. Keep writing. Can’t wait for your return to the Bay.

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