LOOSE ENDS

By: joealaska , 7:13 AM GMT on January 11, 2012

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Weather continues to be a factor. It is affecting how we can do our job. The good news is that only a couple boats are in town. There was no container vessel this last Friday, so there is nothing to be delivered.

Yesterday, Monday, I was told there were warnings to stay home. This is not unusual, and those who CAN stay home. There was not a lot going on with us, but there were a few issues to take care of. It was a struggle to get out of the driveway, but I slid out into the road and headed down the hill.

Right off it was interesting. EVERYTHING was white. The road was white. There were 8-foot walls of plowed snow on each side of the road that were white. AND it was snowing (white), and it was still dark. So I raced at 2 mph down the hill maintaining my bearings by nearby houses.

When I got to work, the snow was pretty deep and unplowed. My assistant got her car stuck in her driveway. She took a cab to work, and the cab would not take her all the way to the stairs up to the dock. She had to break a trail, but got in. It was hard to see stairs that needed to be climbed.

Two other employees were stuck and unable to get in to work. One guy called in and asked to stay home. I took care of some business. One of the local processors needed a small order delivered. I was the guy. There were just 4 cases to deliver, and I fell 3 times as I tried to walk down the stairs carrying one case at a time. No big deal, I just fell into deep snow.

When I tried to deliver I could not pull into the processor, due to the 4 foot berm left by the plows.
The city had literally shut down that day, and only a couple plows were working. So I parked on the road and had to walk over that ridge with the product. I got some help from the customer.

When I left I saw Baranof, a vessel featured many times on this site in photos, on the rocks not far from the road. This was the narrow entrance to Captains Bay. But it is not THAT narrow, and with all the equipment these boats have, there is no good reason to end up there. I am sure there was some failure of equipment. Sooner or later I will get the real story, as I know those guys. It is a well run vessel. Weather was bad, but more so for cars and not the boats.

I had to seek a place to pull off the road (that damn berm again) but I did and got some pictures. Two tugboats were on the scene, and in just a short time they pulled the boat off the rocks. Pretty uneventful. Baranof went to Crowley Dock and sits there pending an investigation.

Meanwhile the temps rose from the low 20s which we had seen for the last week, rising to 35 Monday afternoon. The big melt. It was needed to stabilize the snow. There is snow EVERYWHERE, piled up by plows. It will be here until June. There is nowhere to put it. The guy who works the freight yard where I work said the CORPORATION likes to bill him for STORAGE when the snow is piled up. When it is dry snow, it blows everywhere, even after being plowed and “removed”. It comes back. Well, when it melts a bit, even a little, it freezes back when the night comes around (it is 21 again right now). Now it is icier and just sits there. GOOD, because it has been 50 mph winds ALL DAY, starting late last night. Most of my windows are victim of an ice storm, PLATED in ice. No vision is possible. No views.

I did not leave my place today. VERY RARE.

It was my “day off” but it was a busy day on the phone. Big day tomorrow.

RENDA and HEALY will get the job done. It is just a matter of when.

I got a nice note regarding my FLAT STANLEY submission. They discussed it for 3 days!

I will be using SHUTTERSTOCK to post and sell photos. Will probably try others. Just testing the waters. My name is, as usual, JOE ALASKA. I was ready to pull out the old favorites, but then I saw they only want stuff from the last three weeks. Have not posted anything yet.

Stumbled on a public TV special on Costa Rica. Awesome wildlife and plants. Not a lot of very rich or very poor people. No army. ZIP LINES! It sounded pretty good. The next show on the channel was about Billy The Kid. Lots of good stuff in New Mexico, home of CASA. He called last night and he is doing well. His company is painting the interior of two water pipes 1100 feet long and 8 feet in diameter at a power plant. I like to call him and disguise my voice (ineffectively) and ask for a quote to paint my window sills in my bathroom. I WANT THEM SCRAPED AND PRIMED!! He told me about a big storm that came through over the holidays, a couple feet of snow.

Big snow? How about Cordova, Alaska? I heard 15 feet. Kodiak. Homer. BIG WINTER.

YLEE, thanks for the BBQ backup.

Arbie, that subsistence issue is highly abused as far as I can see. People who have no NEED applying. I am not talking about Native Americans.

BULL, -51 in Bettles? Ouch. I landed in Allakaket when I left Anaktuvuk Pass and it was only
-20. We had to take on some freight, so they opened up the doors for about 15 minutes. NOBODY was dressed for that. It is featured in my book. I have film where we took off with no working heat, an iced windshield, and the pilot watching the edge of the runway to keep us straight. Alaska stuff.
I was in the co-pilot seat, so I had a good view. AHHHHHHHHHH!

TEBOW? I walked in after work and turned on the TV which I own. I only saw the first play of overtime. That was it. The miracle ends this weekend. I know EVERYONE LOVES FOOTBALL, but if you know not of what I speak, google TEBOW and JOHN 3:16. It gets pretty weird.

LS WHO choked on their own puke against Alabama. LOVED IT.

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25. ladyhomer
6:57 AM GMT on January 15, 2012
The Renda reached the Port of Nome at 5:00pm Alaska time finally!!!! Now the fun begins for them!!!
Member Since: November 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 119
24. MissNadia
6:10 PM GMT on January 14, 2012
As best I can tell, Renda is still about 15 or 20 miles from the unloading place. at noon on Sat.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
23. Arbie
4:27 PM GMT on January 14, 2012
I was just reading through that article above and doing the math. They have 5 hours of daylight every day to get everything done that has to be done in daylight. Wow. That really is incredible.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
22. Arbie
4:23 PM GMT on January 14, 2012
Looks like Renda is almost there!

This is from the New York Times, posted about 11 hours ago.

Tanker With Crucial Fuel Delivery Is Sighted Off Nome

By WILLIAM YARDLEY
Published: January 13, 2012

A Russian tanker that has spent nearly a month making its way to Nome, Alaska, to deliver fuel appeared off the coast on the Bering Sea on Friday, apparently nearing the conclusion of an ocean odyssey that has been both criticized and celebrated.

“You can see the lights,” Mayor Denise Michels of Nome said late Friday morning, when the sub-Arctic city was still covered in darkness. “They’re still kind of far out there.”

The 370-foot tanker, the Renda, was hired in December to deliver gasoline and diesel to Nome after one of the companies that provide fuel to the city of 3,600 determined that it did not have enough reserves to last the winter. The company’s usual fall barge shipment, the last planned before the Bering freezes over each winter, did not make it to Nome because of shipping delays and foul weather.

The failure of the final shipment has caused anger in Nome at the fuel company. No roads or railways lead to the city from outside. Ms. Michels said Nome could run out of fuel by March. Without the Renda’s delivery, the fuel company, Bonanza Fuel, would most likely have to fly in fuel in hundreds of shipments, a process its officials say would be considerably more expensive.

(Gasoline and diesel cost nearly $6 per gallon in the remote city. The prices are even higher in some more rural areas, some of which also have had fuel shortages.)

Using the Renda comes with other costs, including to taxpayers. For more than a week, the ship has been making its way through ice behind the Coast Guard cutter Healy, the agency’s only operative polar icebreaker. As commercial activity has increased in the Arctic, the Coast Guard has repeatedly sought more federal money to expand its operations there. It has embraced the journey of the Renda, posting video on the Internet from a camera on the Healy and arranging a news media flight to the area.

The nearest Coast Guard station is hundreds of miles south, in Kodiak. Mayor Michels said Nome would like a station, and she noted that the city’s legislative agenda includes “advocating for more equipment for them: cutters and icebreakers in the Bering Sea and the Arctic.”

The arrival of the Renda and Healy offshore does not mean the Renda will immediately unload the 1.3 million gallons of gasoline and diesel it is carrying. They were still several miles from shore on Friday, and the ice closest to land was four to eight feet thick, some of the thickest the ships have encountered.

Joy Baker, Nome’s harbormaster, said the vessels would have to position themselves so the Renda remains stable while making the delivery and so both could make their way south again once the delivery is complete. The fuel transfer, to be made through long hoses, could take as long as 48 hours and must be done during daylight. On Friday, the sun set at 4:36 p.m. and it was not to rise Saturday until 11:36 a.m.

“We don’t want a spill,” said Petty Officer First Class David Mosley, a spokesman for the Coast Guard in Alaska.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
21. Dusty17
1:22 AM GMT on January 14, 2012
Hi Joe,
Glad you are back. I don't comment much, but wanted to let you know I enjoy your pictures and enjoy reading your posts.
Dusty
Member Since: March 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 7
20. Arbie
2:08 PM GMT on January 13, 2012
Thanks, alleyoops. Those poor birds.

And thanks MissNadia for keeping us up-to-date on the Renda.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
19. MissNadia
1:05 PM GMT on January 13, 2012
The Oil guys are doing well... at 7 am today they were some 6 miles off the coast and about 20 miles West of Nome !!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
18. MissNadia
2:49 AM GMT on January 13, 2012
At 9 tonight, the oil ships were about 30 miles from Nome!!!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
17. Alleyoops
10:43 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
Thought you folks might be interested in reading this. Link
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29460
16. MissNadia
10:15 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
At 5 pm eastern time the Oil Ships were 54 miles out and not making much progress.

The talk has them pumping diesel fuel at about 0 degrees for over a mile.
Does any one know if that can be done with out setting up booster pumps on the ice ???
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
15. ladyhomer
8:59 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
I saw on our local news about your sea birds & eagles getting frozen & can't fly hope they all survive ok. We are getting dumped on again here in Homer got about 4-6 inches over night & it has been snowing out pretty good ever since I got up this am keeps it up we will have maybe 10-12 inches by tonight!!! At Least the winds arn't blowing it around this time. but snowing hard enough it's like a white out. Watched Larry the Cable Guy only in America on the History channel last night he was in Wasilla, Alaska moose hunting & visiting Sarah Palin it was a pretty good show better than the Kilcher show that has been on the Discovery channel in Homer which is on tonight the last series. An unusual winter this year we have had one storm after another . Just discovered I know the Alaska Marine Pilot that is on the RENDA he is from Homer. Sure hope they get there soon!!
Member Since: November 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 119
14. cybersuze
5:57 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
Woweee Joey you guys are getting all the snow (and New Mexico as well!!) Great shots and description of the snow! Another sunny day here and our ski basin still has no snow! It would be nice to have at least one good storm this winter! Be careful out there!
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 299
13. insideuk
3:26 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
It does appear that the Coastal Transport web cams are working again - in at least 3 directional viewpoints. It's very hard for me to tell how often they are updating the picture though because I'm only watching during their night hours - and things seem quiet.

I did try to count the footprints in the snow coming off the gangway but then I think the wind maybe mucked up my highly scientific methodology...

Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1633
12. MissNadia
12:32 PM GMT on January 12, 2012
Good News this morning.... The Oil Convoy made a good distance toward Nome last night. Last position puts them 54 miles out !!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
11. MissNadia
1:20 AM GMT on January 12, 2012
Well, the latest report shows that the elements have overwhelmed Healy and the oil convoy is being pushed away from Nome. At 8 pm eastern, they were 96 miles from Nome
The wind is forecast to change from NW to E and then to S by week's end. That should help.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
10. MissNadia
7:47 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
Good News for Nome... oil ship is 78 miles out and on the move!!!!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
9. MissNadia
5:41 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
Quoting Arbie:
I am no expert, Nadia, but from what I am reading, it sounds to me like they stop at night. That seems common sense to me, since the ice is in big chunks and is moving. I can't see that it would be safe to try to travel at night. If you read the captain's blogs, he talks about how far they get every day. It sounds like they shut down at night.

I don't really know, though! :)


FYI, The Captain of Healy is a woman!!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
8. Arbie
5:39 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
I am no expert, Nadia, but from what I am reading, it sounds to me like they stop at night. That seems common sense to me, since the ice is in big chunks and is moving. I can't see that it would be safe to try to travel at night. If you read the captain's blogs, he talks about how far they get every day. It sounds like they shut down at night.

I don't really know, though! :)
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
7. MissNadia
4:48 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
Hello,

The oil convoy hasn't moved since last night. Perhaps they can't break ice at night. Does anyone know???
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
6. Arbie
2:33 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
I checked out shutterstock. So, I guess they get to pick what pictures to accept into their stock, right Joe? Then people pay for a subscription, rather than buy individual photos. It looks like it is designed for commercial use, for organizations that want a dependable source of images. I just looked at it very quickly though, I could be wrong. I saw 10 pictures for Dutch Harbor and 6 pictures for Unalaska, with only 1 shared between the two groups. Plenty of room for Joe's pictures.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
5. Arbie
2:17 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
The U.S. Coast Guard has a site on flickr where they are posting pics of the Renda-Healy expedition to Nome, if anyone is interested. Link


We got so much rain in SE Texas that it was flooding. The areas with the most got 6-8 inches. Our town is well drained, just outside the totally flat coastal area, so we are fine at home. Had fun getting to work, had to park aways away and walk in a few blocks. I was finally stopped by a hedge and someone had to come in their big 4x4 pickup and get me.

And West Texas got a ton of snow. Midland has gotten something like 19 inches since January 1. They have gotten more snow this year than the snow belt in New York. Nothing like what is going on in Alaska though, really.

I see that these excesses in Texas, Alaska and Austria are caused by a very unusual jet stream pattern, according to Mr. Masters. :) Of course, the next question is, why the unusual jet stream pattern?

I am not up on subsistence issues, but I can believe it that many if not most people applying for whatever license they give out just want to be able to hunt whatever they want when they want. That is just too predictable.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1135
4. MissNadia
1:12 PM GMT on January 11, 2012
Good Morning,

Healy and Renda have not moved in the last 10 hours!...still 90 miles from Nome.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
3. insideuk
11:38 AM GMT on January 11, 2012
I think the Baranof guys just decided they wanted to grill sausages with an impromptu beach BBQ in the snow but they heard the roads were bad so...

Thank goodness for tugs.

One wasn't enough by the way, they snapped several lines between the beached Baranof and the smaller tug before the BIG BOY TB was brought in to rip them away from the grill.

Next time they should just shove a frozen pizza in the oven and watch the football on TV. That way they can all say their prayers together (that stuff is beyond bizarre from this distance, but most everything about American football seems eccentric and OTT – as a result, not much surprises me).

Though I would like to know if that guy could write 'John 3:16' under his eyes all by himself just looking in a mirror. Because that would be REALLY CLEVER and would raise my opinion of all players of the game by several notches.


My newspaper today has pictures and stories of the massive snowfalls in the Austrian Alps. They have LOCKDOWN situations in the ski resorts – nobody is allowed to leave for fear of avalanche, the roads are left blocked, the railway snowed under. They have had 5.5 metres/ 18 foot of snow in the last 3 weeks – which is more than they had all of last season. There are walls of snow beside the houses and roads which are the equivalent depth of four cars piled on top of each other. In fact there could be four cars piled underneath – who would know?

Now if the Austrians can't cope with the snow then you know its got deep.

The tourists are cheering themselves up by drinking the place dry, but if conditions continue to worsen they may consider firing up the grill for a sausage or two. Assuming nobody drank all the lighter fluid.

I'm impressed that the taxi drivers are still working in Dutch. Some of them must have been up all night blocking peoples drives with their secret personal snow plows. Everyone has a limit to the number of times they want to chisel their vehicle out of their driveway in any given winter. I strongly suspect the wider population of Dutch reached their limit several days back and are now entering the hibernation stage where they get to stay home and entertain themselves all day long.

At least one of them has d1:E NHOL written in permanent ink under their eyes by now...

Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1633
2. Rotty3
11:05 AM GMT on January 11, 2012
wow, half a book there, Joe :) Will have to read later. For now, keep head above the snow level.

Here the morning started with lightning and thunder. About to go out and feed the sea-horses...
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1618
1. preacherskidd
10:46 AM GMT on January 11, 2012
Is a snow machine or a snobear not feasable? you seem like the type of person who could afford it. Surely the company has some type of 4 wheel drive to do deliveries with?
Member Since: December 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 43

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About joealaska

After moving back to the lower 48, I have bought an RV and have been living on the road.

joealaska's Recent Photos

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