(August 2nd, 2017)
The dreaded provisioning day was upon us. Provisioning days have been killing me – we have a 16-hour day to do several loads of laundry, get groceries, get everyone showered, and fit in at least 12 hours’ worth of work while we have internet. The math doesn’t work.
But, this provisioning stop was going to be different. We finally wound down our side business, so the 12 hours of work was hopefully off the to-do list.
The other cruisers in the fleet felt the same way about provisioning, even without internet work on their list, so I wasn’t too hopeful – just a little hopeful. We’d see how the day went.
The girls love helping out on provisioning days. (In fact, it’s the only time they like helping – which is likely to be the topic of another post coming up.) So, Morgan set her alarm for 7AM so she’d be ready to leave for the laundromat with me by eight.
Ellie was awake early also, as usual, so we told her she had to come with us. This would allow Rich to get some work done on the boat. She resisted, but eventually we had both girls awake, fed, dressed, and ready for the day. I had to bribe the girls with breakfast at the Fishnet Cafe to get their cooperation, so that was our second stop after loading the washers at the laundromat.
The cafe had good internet, which I think was the real reason the girls wanted to go there. The service certainly wasn’t anything to want to subject oneself to, and the food was good, but not great. But, the internet was the best in town (although, I admit that we did not check out the library), so we went there. The girls took the opportunity to call their cousins via FaceTime, and avoid eating most of their breakfast.
The cafe – despite its name – did not have any caffe other than drip. Although my addiction to lattes is waning, I still get the urge, so I couldn’t pass up a visit to the actual legitimate coffee shop across the street. There, I procured a triple grande iced latte, and an orange creme shake for each of the girls. I had a few more internet things to do, so the girls made friends with Nikki, the barista’s daughter who apparently hung out at the shop. Nikki was 3, and the girls had a great time.
For my part, I needed to download more salmon recipes. And whitefish recipes. Because that was all we had. Fish. And more fish. So, I took the opportunity to download numerous recipes for fish.
After coffee, it was time to get started on laundry. Now, Alaska is not generally the friendliest place on earth. (Except Hydaburg, which is awesome, and which might just be the friendliest place on earth – but I digress.) So, I should not have been surprised when the proprietor of the laundromat displayed the same customer service skills – or lack thereof – as the proprietor of the Fishnet Cafe.
I had set my alarm for 30 minutes, and came back immediately after it went off to check on our laundry. I extended this courtesy despite the fact that nothing in the laundromat told customers how long the wash cycles were. It appears that the cycles must be 28 minutes, because when I returned, the proprietor had taken all of our laundry out of the washers and dumped them into a wet pile in various laundry carts around the shop. Glendora was there, and knew which washers we were using, and she apparently tried to help out by explaining to the proprietor that, there they are, across the street, coming right back, and so they can handle their own laundry in just a moment if she’d be patient. Despite Glendora’s protestations, the proprietor felt that our two-minute tardiness was in poor taste, and handled our laundry as she felt appropriate. When the girls and I returned two minutes hence, we had to search the laundromat, around corners and under counters, until our 4 loads of laundry were located. We put them in several dryers (which, thankfully, displayed the remaining cycle time), and headed back to the boat for lunch with Daddy.
Meanwhile, Rich was on the boat doing some maintenance tasks. He opened up the generator enclosure in our cabin to check the oil, coolant, fuel filter, and sea strainer. All good except for some kelp in the strainer. Then he checked the main engine and it was all good except for two things. It was 2 quarts low on oil (after 255 hours of run time since the oil change in May.) He also found that one of the banjo bolts that we had a problem with back in May was wet with oil, apparently leaking a bit. He figures that the low oil was likely due to normal burning of oil while running combined with the leaking bolt, and possibly combined with it maybe starting a bit low after the oil change (we think it may have been one quart low after the oil change). Anyway, he added the two quarts of oil it needed, making a bit of a mess in the process, and being a bit hard on himself for it and tightened the bolt. He’s monitoring the bolt each day to see if it continues to leak.
Rich also found that the heater boiler was 2 cups low of water/coolant so he filled that, and traced a small coolant leak to the radiator bleed screw in Morgan’s bunk.
Back in town, the girls and I had lunch at the grumpy Fishnet Cafe. Despite my desire not to go back there, the girls insisted, no doubt for the internet. We ran into some other Sail Alaska-ers, and chatted for a bit, then headed back to the boat.
We were supposed to go grocery shopping next, but the sun was shining and warm, and leaving the waterfront seemed absurd. Rich got out the mast climber in hopes that I would climb the mast and change the deck light bulb, but once the girls discovered the mast climber, they proceeded to occupy it for the afternoon. They never got more than three feet off the deck, which is good because I wouldn’t have let them go any higher; the harness was not pint-sized, so it wouldn’t hold them in if they fell upside-down, like it would an adult. Both girls have now asked for pint-sized climbing harnesses for their birthdays.
After a nice lounge in the sun, and while the girls were occupied on the mast, I took the opportunity to make a top-secret trip to the Petersburg toy store to procure birthday gifts. I did so under the guise of a liquor store run, which I also managed to accomplish. By the time the proprietor of the toy store finished chatting me up (and she was much nicer than the average Petersburg proprietor, thank goodness – but maybe a little too nice given how long it took me to get out of there), the sun was starting to sink behind the mountains, and dinnertime was upon us. Rich brought the girls up to shore, and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner – finally with some wine – at Inge’s, a small food stand downtown with outdoor, almost picnic-style seating. It wasn’t long before most of the Sail Alaska fleet also wandered in, and for a time we had quite the party in there.
For her part, Ellie made a fabulous new friend. Hilda was 3, and had just moved to Petersburg with her parents and 3-month-old baby sister. Hilda was an extremely social little girl, and spotted Ellie immediately when we passed her table on the way to the restroom. Hilda jumped up and said hello, but did so so enthusiastically that Ellie – usually the boisterous greeter herself – was taken aback and suddenly became shy. When we kept on walking, Hilda proceeded to throw a screaming fit, the likes of which only a 3-year-old could do. After several minutes, I finally talked Ellie into going over and saying hello to Hilda. She did, and minutes later, I looked over to see Hilda’s mom’s cell phone blasting Disney tunes, and Ellie and Hilda in full-on dance party mode. Hilda was so busy dancing that she barely noticed her dinner. Much to my embarrassment, Ellie took a keen interest in Hilda’s dinner (having already finished her own), and helped herself. Hilda’s mom was gracious and nice as could be about it, and about the dance party she found herself in. When it was time to go, Hilda couldn’t bare to part with Ellie, and another fit ensued. Ellie tried to soothe Hilda with hugs, but a continued dance party was all that would placate her. Dance party over, we went our separate ways, and enjoyed the warm evening walk back to the boat, and to bed.