September 5, 2019
Days since Departure: 343
Mandragore, containing her crew of Pablo and Pablo, made Tuk this morning, and together we warped to the pier next to the Northern store for fueling and watering.
Fuel can be taken by jerries from the store pumps, a distance of 200 feet, or by calling a truck to the pier, and while the former requires hoofing one’s heavy cans, it avoids the delivery charge of the latter. We both chose hoofing it.
I had the more fuel to take (100 gallons) and the more cans to transport. Without the slightest hint of request, and even against explicit protest, Pablo and Pablo did most of Mo’s fuel carry while I pumped.
We were fueled by noon.
Mandragore’s water needs were a different story. For this a truck had to be called, even though Pablo required but 200 liters (about 50 gallons). I made the arrangements by telephone with the wife of the driver, Karen, who informed me that for sailboats there was a delivery fee of $150 per hour.
“And how much is the cost of the water?” I asked.
I could here the clicking of a calculator. “Well, for 200 liters…let’s see…that would be… about $5.”
“Per liter?” I whistled through my teeth. “Good water, eh?”
“No,” said Karen in that unruffled monotone of the Inuit. “Just $5.”
I questioned the surprising differential between the two fees, to which Karen responded. “Once we had a sailboat come in and it took three hours to fill their tanks. We could only charge them for the water; I think it was $12, but Peter had to work all afternoon for them and they were very slow. So now we charge by the hour for sailboats.”
The incentive worked marvelously. Pablo’s tanks were full to overflowing within twenty minutes.
Water aboard, Pablo and Pablo were free for the day, but my chores continued.
The blown working jib had to be changed for the spare and the stripped main batten pocked repaired, engine liquids needed checking and topping off, and late in the day a surprising number of over-stuffed white trash bags were unearthed from Mo’s forepeak and donated to the municipality of Tuktoyaktuk.
I felt bad about this latter act until I tallied the day’s receipts. Fuel, a burger, a cold coffee and a small bag of groceries, including a $16 frozen cowboy steak and a $9 box of spinach, came to nearly $900.
I don’t mean to suggest that those passing through are being gouged. Rather, the high cost of pretty much everything up here reflects the difficulty of getting it here in the first place. The sum did, however, serve to reduce my guilt at leaving behind a haul of refuse.