Jul 15 2008

Sweeper Cove, Adak

Published by at 11:48 pm under Ship's Log

Once the Adak Naval Air Station, steeped in cold-war mystery, Sweeper Cove has infrastructure for the population of 10,000 that once manned this base. But it is now home to little more that 100 permanent residents (plus assorted transients—-fishing, hunting & contract). Needless to say, in this harsh environment, the community is getting a little behind on maintenance (and suffering profoundly from the vandalism of disaffected youth) but there is no shortage of hospitality; we enjoyed our 24-hour respite at Sweeper Cove.

Sheltered anchorage among the islands east of Adak is sparce, with nothing suitable for us in the weather that followed our Adka departure and passage through the Adreanof Islands group:

We traveled eastward for 350 miles to Umnak & Unalaska islands of the Fox Island group, only to again have the elements again cast aside our plans. Eruption of volcanic Mt. Okmok on Umnak Island put our intended harbors, in its lee, under a blanket of ash that would have played havoc with the inner workings of the treasured Atlas engine upon which we depend. At Unalaska, after passing a grim reminder of what a moments carelessness can cause in these unforgiving waters, we took a run the length of fjord-like Pumicestone Bay, steep-sided for its narrow 7 mile length, only to find clouds of Okmok’s settled ash at the head of the bay, stirred up by whistling winds and covering once-white snowfields at higher elevations:

At day’s-end (13th) we found clean, calm & lovely anchorage in Cannery Cove, off Makushin Bay on Unalaska Island, where we watched eagles, seals, and foxes work the tide & shore-line while a pod of Humpback whales cavorted in this remote and sheltered harbor. Today (14th) we enjoyed a fine day (temp 65) and gave Westward a thorough cleaning—-fitting attendance to the vessel that has served us so well & comfortably over the 2,400 miles since this crew signed aboard in Muroran, Japan.

We’ll sail tonight from Cannery Cove, 60 miles to Westward Seafoods, at Captain’s Bay in Dutch Harbor; not a homecoming M.V. Westward, but somewhat a homecoming for this old “cod-father” who’s involvement with the plant goes back to it’s inception in the late-‘80’s.We’ll be sorry to see this crew depart from Dutch Harbor, they have been good company and able hands; they, together with favorable weather, have made this a most pleasant passage over waters that can be most contrary at any time of year. But we’ve an able gang arriving to replace them for our journey up the Alaska Peninsula to Prince William Sound. Best off all, the replacement crew includes Teresa!

All’s well aboard


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