Thursday, June 10, 2010

Famous Ships in Kodiak

Kodiak is the second largest US port after Dutch Harbor (also here in AK), whether in either amount of fish or cash generated form fishing.

So, it is natural to assume that some famous ships come here. In this picture from Monday's kayak outing, you can see 2 of them. The Cornelia Marie (at the corner on the left)is famous because of its appearance on the TV show "Dangerous Catch". Unfortunately, its famous captain has recently passed away at 53 form a stroke, according to the paper (No HIPAA issues in that statement).

But the other ship should be considered of perhaps even more importance. It is Le Manguier. It's one of the first private ships to cross the Northeast Passage since the ice has recently broken due to warming. From Europe, across the Arctic Sea north of Russia, to the Bering Sea, and then the Pacific Ocean. A route which might save many miles for sailors...if it stays open long enough to make the trip before the weather gets bad at the other end!

They started in the Spring of 2009 in Corsica, south of France, with a captain who was a repairman for ships. He bought an old tug boat, replaced it's powerful engine with one that would let him travel at 9 gallons per mile, and put masts to bring up sails when the wind was behind them, to increase efficiency to 7 or 8 gpm. Put solar panels, and got a paint job with a research paint that should be less toxic to fish, etc, etc, etc to make it more "green".

The plan was to pack it with enough food for a year, have a total of 10 people on the ship for each leg of a 9,000 nautical mile trip to end in Tokyo. There would be scientist and artist to research and paint and "educate" the locals about more efficient travelling at each port they docked at. It sounds like a great trip to experience what few have seen.

But, they mentioned there were times when the open water (free of ice) was only a hundred yards wide ....not much of a sea lane. And once they left the Arctic, the weather in the Bering Sea was so rough, that they sailed to Sand Point instead and stayed at that small Alaska village over the winter. In May they were invited to speak at Crab Fest here in Kodiak. And here they are, telling us about their trip, their conservation efforts, and enjoying the local stuff just like we are. Now with the great Alaskan Summer, no one is in a hurry to leave.

If you would like follow their progress and comments, or send them your support,check out their site at

We, on the other hand, will continue to paddle our kayaks at "infinate" miles per gallon (excluding, of course, the food and beer we ingest when we return).

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