Northern Lights

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I caught a few moments of aurora borealis at about twenty minutes to one on my midnight watch today – the northern lights are fascinating and unearthly. The lights I saw this morning were dim, and ranged from pale green to just white. But they were the brightest northern lights I have seen yet (I saw a very pale aurora borealis for the first time somewhere around Prince Rupert when I was on the boat back in January) and they flowed and flashed across the sky and then faded after about ten minutes.

Today I’ve been melancholy and very lonesome for my San Francisco home. I think it was the cold that did it. We arrived at Seward at about 0900, and tried unsuccessfully to land our barge at the terminal. After trying for more than forty minutes to maneuver the barge to the berth, we aborted the operation and went back down into Resurrection Bay to hang out until the wind died down. That wind, combined with the ambient temperature, was shockingly cold; even worse, all of our mooring lines on the barge were frozen solid, so getting those off the bitts and faked out on the deck was an extremely unpleasant task. I don’t know what will happen next, we are just waiting for better weather, not to mention the swap boat, which is reportedly still in Anchorage at the moment.

A few hours ago while we were turning lazy circles to pass the time, there was a mayday call from a small tourist boat to the south of us who lost power (engine breakdown caused by bad fuel) – we made our way in that direction to see if we could help, but they already had a couple of smaller, quicker boats on the scene to help before we got there. Plus the barge would have been a big hindrance in the case of any attempted rescue operation on our part. We were there to provide moral support.

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