Nome Departure

September 16, 2019
Nome, Alaska

I was climbing down the pier ladder to the boat when I heard a hail. “You’ve been one-upped,” yelled a man standing over where Tecla had moored the previous night.

“Not likely,” I replied before I could check myself.

Tekla is an unusual vessel, a steel-hulled gaff ketch built in the Netherlands in 1915 and recently restored. Now she’s a sail-training vessel that’s just completed the Northwest Passage. A small crowd had gathered to admire her, and among them, this man; gray-haired; short of stature and wearing a blue jacket and sock cap.

“Isn’t she beautiful is what I mean,” said the man walking toward me and sticking out his hand. “I’m sure your boat is a beauty too. My goodness look at that,” he said, leaning over the pier to stare at Mo. “By the way, I’m Richard Beneville. I’m the mayor of Nome. Thank you for visiting our fair city. We are so honored to have you and the other adventurers in town. When I was young, I used to have a local TV show–your story would be so perfect for our seniors–I mean, you do what we all dream…”

A pleasant, ten-minute conversation ensued during which I was only required to nod and smile.

Mo and I departed Nome after lunch. The goal is to get to the Aleutians and Dutch Harbor, 650nm south and a touch west, before the next big storm. Sadly, we will have to plow through a gale to do that. The gale will come on tomorrow around noon and last a day. Winds will be 30+ from the E and NE.

Granted, those aren’t big numbers, but when the current is strong and the water, shallow (50 miles off shore now and the depth is 70 feet), seas get heavy in a hurry. I’m all for going fast as long as nothing (more) carries away.

2 Comments on “Nome Departure

  1. and now on the tracker see you are through the gale (Wednesday) … still making good downwind speed! That must have been a tough, cold night …

  2. I don’t know how much you have crossed paths with Tecla in the Passage, but I’ve been following you both. I’ll be joining Tecla for a short voyage in Iceland next summer!

    Fair winds for the last leg!

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