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Home Port of Seward, Alaska

     
 
 

 

Preparation in Alaska

We've endured ten months of waiting and preparation. I've been gathering gear, parts, and ideas during the entire time. Remember, we've got to have with us EVERY single small part, drill bit, tool that we might need for all of the tasks that we wish to complete. Fiji has limited access to parts and very few American parts. Inflatable life jacket refills? None for American life jackets, and we can't fly with the compressed gas refill capsules. The same goes for caulk and most solvents.

What we miss when we're on the boat. Our last evening at home for this leg was a party for two. We had cocktails, gourmet cheeses and meats, and lively conversation on everything from prep work to the Iran nuclear negotiation.

Two of our three beloved "blue boxes" filled with gear and ready to be closed with cable ties. Although we only use 4 ties/box, we know that TSA and other authorities will feel compelled to open them, hence the spare cable ties.

Box 1 contains our replacement toilet bowl. It's porcelain, lovely (for a toilet bowl), very heavy, and fragile. I hope that it survives. There are also four diesel injectors, replacement bolts for our anchor, and LOTS more. The blue grid-looking things are for raising the mattress above the bed surface for ventilation. I had room for only 10 of the 16 that we need. I always provide a packing list for the various authorities so that they know what some of the items are and won't simply confiscate them. In addition, we've had items go missing during these inspections, and list reminds them that we know what's in the boxes and will recognize when something's gone walkabout.

Box 2 contains lots of spare parts, including a new bilge pump and a homemade generator cable: That's the yellow cord on top. The orange box is a waterproof box for carrying dinghy engine parts that's been pressed into service to protect small fragile parts.

And my Bill Bag... That's the actual product name, for heaven's sake, but it holds a lot and is a dry bag, so great for sea travel. It contains all of my clothing and all of the parts for the new forward-looking sonar. Somehow, the other stuff must go somewhere, too. Conni has another blue box in which she packs the pump for the new toilet, and whatever food stuffs she thinks that we can't buy in Fiji. We've got 12 cans of Costco canned chicken breast! Conni's clothing is miniature compared to mine, so she carries her miniature clothing in a single standard duffle. We left home with three blue boxes, the Bill Bag, Conni's duffle, and each with packs, and my ukulele, of course. Alaska Airlines allows two pieces of baggage per person, so we pay no more to get that stuff to Oakland, but from there to Fiji, we pay extra baggage fare for two blue boxes. Still, it's much cheaper than paying for freight. We checked on the price to ship some parts: $400 for our replacement toilet and $700 for the replacement lift jacket refills since they're HAZMAT. Holy smokes!

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