Friday, July 11, 2008

52°31'N 175°49'E 7/11/2008 6:35 am CDT, by Bob

52°31'N 175°49'E 7/11/2008 6:35 am CDT, by Bob

We arrived in Attu in the night before last. I went to bed a couple hours before sunup. Shortly after sunup, we got a call on the radio. I staggared up the stairs and muttered something on the radio most likely incoherent to the rest of the human species.

It was the Coast Guard was calling the sailing vessel anchored in the harbor. That narrowed it down. We were the only boat near the island. They said hi, asked if we were all OK, and invited us to breakfast. That was really nice. I had to call them back to find out what the local time was. A bit later, we were eating breakfast in a heated building!

There are about 20 people living on Attu, at the Coast Guard Loran station. They were all really nice. After breakfast, the XO took us up the road in their pickup. Everybody there was really friendly. Melinda took a cool picture of a C-130 (their bi-weekly flight). Mike shot some baskets and a rifle. Josh took some video. I biked to Murder Point. A film crew from Germany arrived on the C-130 to do "a day in the life" in the Coast Guard at Attu.

Most of it has been cleaned up, but there is still a lot of old stuff around on Attu from World War II and later military installations. The Coast Guard Loran station is the only think left that's active, and its days may be numbered. Loran is the GPS predecessor. It's not used much any more, although some people say it's good to have operational as a backup to GPS.

When we left Attu Station, we took the boat around to the south of the Attu to the Savage Islands, some towering rocks with green growth, surrounded by kelp, and with lots of birds. Mike, Melinda and I took a motor tour in the dinghy around the island. Josh kayaked. There was a nice tunnel through the rocks, but we were chicken to go through because of the surge from the waves. There were puffins, sea gulls, and birds I didn't recognize flying all around.

After dark, we sailed in the fog to Alaid and Nizki Islands. Those are supposed to be two islands, but they're currently connected by a strip of sand. We hiked and kayaked and beach combed around the islands. There were a lot of different kinds of birds there.

We left there and tried to raise someone on the radio at Shemya, an island with an Earickson Air Force Base, to see if we could stop there. Nobody answered, so we kept going.

We sailed on by Shemya toward the next Aleutian Island, Buldir. A few minutes ago the wind was getting pretty strong (25-30 knots), and it was coming almost directly from Buldir Island, so we took down the sails and are now motoring.

It's raining pretty hard. It's a little warmer outside -- 48°. Inside it's 60°. Water temperature is 45.6. Wind is 28 knots from the south-southeast.

No comments: