FIRE ON WATER

By: joealaska , 6:32 AM GMT on January 24, 2012

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I have only been here four years, almost, but the recent weather here has been UNIQUE.

Non stop brutal.

Yesterday and today we had 70 mph winds. It was 15 degrees. I do not have my wind chill table handy, but I believe that makes the ambient temperature -202. I could be wrong, but it feels cold. We are not used to THIS cold up here.

That plate of ice is still around, like my driveway. 3 days ago we 6 inches of new fluff. I drove in and out a couple times, and walked on the driveway. NOW the wind has scoured all that snow away off the drive. Except for the tire tracks and footprints where that soft snow was compressed a bit. Reverse print of a sort.

I moved the weather module into the bedroom so I can check out in real time what that gust was that woke me up and scattered the cats.

Yesterday my boss called when it was still dark in the morning. He asked about the weather and I told him trubba. I glanced out the window. Normally I can see (at least) the lights on the road and bridge below, as well as at Unisea. At that moment it was a big blank black void. Whiteout in the dark.

One boat had an engine fire last week. They were about 100 miles off shore. They lost all power, the engine room is charcoal. That boat sits at Magone Marine for repairs. Looking at 3 weeks. I am surprised the boat is not heading south to do that.

That crew stayed on the boat for a few days. It was cold. We rounded up a butane burner for them to cook on. The boat had no power. Half the crew was sent home. This means they make no money. Then the crew was put up at The Grand Aleutian.

So yesterday, as The Patriots were coming back and winning against The Ravens, I was arranging another pizza run for the crew. The pizza place somehow forgot the order ($300), so my driver was waiting for about an hour and a half to pick up and deliver it.

Meanwhile, I got a call from the second boat. The boat I had finally gotten a ride on last year. My friend was on the line, the cook on the vessel. The Steward. He said they just had an engine fire TOO. These are sister ships in the same company. Save your comments. This is a well run company that is having some bad luck. BAD coincidence.

They had their fire as they were near the spit and heading to dock. They almost ran aground. Again, they were also out of power. I heard some water got in the breaker room, and all the electric CRAP shorted out. I hate to get technical.

I was at the boat within an hour of the fire. I picked up the cook as he jumped from the ice encrusted vessel. Got it on video. I helped him look for a rental vehicle. OH. There were severe whiteouts at the time. As I went to City Dock to pick him up I got caught in one. There was a 30 foot wide one-foot high drift near the airport. Where the wind runs down the runway unimpeded.
It piles up locally. Fun when it appears out of nowhere in the whiteness.

After I picked him up we headed to OSI Dock where he thought they had a rental vehicle.

On the way, again by the airport, it was white chaos. I was driving off the road, risking getting stuck in the plow berm. I had to stop completely at one point. Waiting for some clear vision. Waiting for someone to run into me. Not sure of the lane I was in. It cleared up and there was a fuel tanker about 100 feet ahead of me. Heading the same direction, also just getting under way.

We got to OSI. The rental was in the shop. Turned around and went back to the airport. There are a couple of rental companies based there. They post a 24 hour phone number. Neither answered.

I offered to lend him our van for the night. DONE.

Meanwhile, the pizza pick up had become debaclous. The cook with me mentioned his sister ship was at Magone Dock. I thought it was at OSI, where we would deliver. We went to The Grand Aleutian to find the other cook / steward. We knew his room number.

When we got there, the door was open. The TV was on. And unoccupied. Except for the cow, but that will be covered in HANGOVER 3.

We went downstairs and found him at the front desk. He was in the process of paying for 12 meals from the buffet. To go. I guess he forgot ordering all those pizzas.

The 2nd cook had hungry crew, so he took the pizzas.

I took both cooks to the warehouse. Gave one our van, took the other, and all his carryout food, to the first boat. There was a ladder laying between the boat and dock. Laying on the ice. He went down it. I would not, but I did not have to. THANK GOD.

The food was in one big box. Maybe 30 pounds. He was down in the boat, and I was lowering the food. I set that box on the ladder and slowly slid it down. No alliteration intended.

My mind raced back to that episode where I lost all that Deadliest Catch footage to the briney deep a couple years ago. Same situation. Blowing wind. Ice and snow. Gap between boats. And I told him that story as I lowered the box.

We got her done.

The weather today was a bit worse. Constant wind.

New Alaska stuff in the media. A movie actually filmed in Alaska about Alaska. Remember those whales caught in the ice YEARS ago near Nome? The locals cut holes in the ice to let them come up and breathe? It was big news around the world. I was in the lower 48 somewhere and remeber it. Long before I moved here. Well, it was made into a movie. Soon to be released.

Also, something about BERING SEA GOLD. Gold mining by The Bering.

The second boat now has power, but will be here awhile for repairs.

Big gusts right NOW.

I keep getting questions about barbecuing in Dutch. YES, I use a lighter. The secret is to saturate a piece of paper from the charcoal bag in lighter fluid. Light that on top of the also saturated charcoal and you have a bonfire in seconds. The 70 mph wind helps. The real challenge is the in-process seasoning. You MUST account for the wind. Careful positioning of the wrist, blocking the wind, is KEY. Allow for the wind, and shake away.

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27. Ylee
4:18 PM GMT on January 29, 2012
-60F. in Bettles this morning; I know it's not Dutch, but that's dang cold!
Dutch is a blistering 36F., tee shirt and shorts weather for someone on the North Slope... :)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 97 Comments: 16314
26. MissNadia
1:06 PM GMT on January 29, 2012
Healy and Renda are only in thin ice and are on the move...made 114 miles to the good! This morning they were 240 miles North of Dutch! . They may be at the dock when Joe wakes on Monday.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
25. dotmom
12:47 PM GMT on January 29, 2012
Inside: Just thought we needed a change! Hope I am not in too much trouble!
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
24. insideuk
11:23 AM GMT on January 29, 2012



Puss-on Head!!

Thanks Dotmom - I enjoyed that laugh!
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1469
23. dotmom
7:51 PM GMT on January 28, 2012
Doesn't sound too good up there right now. Glad Gnu Guy is back but sounds like a mess in his place.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
22. joealaska
4:49 PM GMT on January 28, 2012
We had a power outage yesterday morning. TV is out now. Snowing again and blowing a little. Freight is not flying, boats are stuck waiting.

Yadda.

Gnu guy is back, new place has broken water pipes.

More tonight hopefully.
Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 823 Comments: 679
21. MissNadia
1:18 PM GMT on January 28, 2012
Hello,
Healy and Renda are out of the heavy ice and on the move. ...... made about 70 miles in a Southwestly direction. 354 miles north of Dutch. It will be interesting to see if they stop or head for home. Healy has been away for 8 or 9 months !!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
20. MissNadia
5:49 PM GMT on January 27, 2012
Quoting Arbie:
Me too, dotmom. What a journey! Thanks to MissNadia for keeping us up-to-date. They may all faint into Joe's arms if they go to Dutch to resupply.

On to golf. I bet Joe already knew that golf is going to be in the Olympics in 2016. The committee is now picking the design winner for the course in Rio De Janeiro. The article I read said it was kind of funny because Brazil is not a golfing country--around 100 courses in the entire country--and now they will have one of the best.

This winter sure is different from last winter for most people. I guess that is life on our planet though.


FYI....... Golf is a VERY expensive sport in Brazil
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
19. Arbie
5:22 PM GMT on January 27, 2012
Me too, dotmom. What a journey! Thanks to MissNadia for keeping us up-to-date. They may all faint into Joe's arms if they go to Dutch to resupply.

On to golf. I bet Joe already knew that golf is going to be in the Olympics in 2016. The committee is now picking the design winner for the course in Rio De Janeiro. The article I read said it was kind of funny because Brazil is not a golfing country--around 100 courses in the entire country--and now they will have one of the best.

This winter sure is different from last winter for most people. I guess that is life on our planet though.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1103
18. dotmom
5:08 PM GMT on January 27, 2012
I just wonder about the food and fuel supplies on those ships coming back from Nome.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
17. MissNadia
1:03 PM GMT on January 27, 2012
Yesterday was a bad ice day for the guys... only made 12 miles to the good.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
16. MissNadia
1:05 PM GMT on January 26, 2012
Good Morning,
Healy and Renda are still cracking ice..... made 48 miles yesterday.... 434 miles North of Dutch at 8 EST
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
15. MissNadia
10:05 PM GMT on January 25, 2012
Hey,
I went to SAMS here in North Carolina and had to pay $50 for 3 king crab legs!!!! Someone is getting rich.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
14. ladyhomer
5:39 PM GMT on January 25, 2012
I see Joe has been having lots of earthquakes in his neck of the woods lately!!!! We have been having lots here in Homer too but not as big! I stayed up last night to see the lights but guess what!!! It was cloudy & snowed all night so no lights for us. We are back down to single digit temps again I'm ready for summer. Temp this a.m. is 4* & blowing 23 knots BRrrrrr
Member Since: November 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 119
13. insideuk
1:01 PM GMT on January 25, 2012
Meanwhile Fargo ND has seen very little snow and ice this season, you win some, you lose some...

Good fortune favours the brave Pudden Head.


Reports say sea ice is moving so thick and fast across the snow crab fishing grounds and the processors locations that the season is virtually shut down. It' is up to a foot and a half thick and moving in floes 15 miles wide. Regular Bering Sea ice shifts maybe 2-3 miles a day, this stuff is crossing 15 – 20 miles a day and is sucking up those crab pots and buoys and playing hide and seek with them.

Some boats have headed back to Unalaska to sit it out. Could be a long SIT.

I suggest the local pizza place stocks up and gets some extra hands in to help out. I know a bird who can help you out with cheese supplies...

I'm certain Joe could help out with the pizza making too, those knuckles can spin pizza dough like a pro. His regular grilling habit and lighting methodology have left him with smooth, hair free skin right up to his elbows.

And down to his knees if rumours are to be believed.

I never listen to gossip.

I start it.

He is a bit heavy handed with the seasoning though, unless he does it outdoors. The added bonus with that idea is that he'll have the parking area cleared too. Surely no sheet ice can withstand Kentucky style seasoning?


I have seen trailers for a new thriller called 'The Grey' – starring Liam Neeson. It follows the fate of some oil men after a plane crash in the ALASKA wilderness when a pack of wolves start stalking them.

All realistically filmed on location in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada.

I'd doubtless want the wolves to eat well but Hollywood often has other ideas. It is said that 4 wolves were trapped and killed, 2 for PROPS, 2 for the cast TO EAT.

One assumes the local pizza place was closed that night.
Member Since: February 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1469
12. MissNadia
12:53 PM GMT on January 25, 2012
Good Morning,
Healy and Renda are still fighting ice...made 48 miles yesterday.
As of this morning they were 486 miles North of Dutch !
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
11. Arbie
11:46 AM GMT on January 25, 2012
This post was one of those that made me LOL.

I heard that the solar storms were so intense that they may be seen in unusual places like the mid-Aleutians also.

Not as far south as SE Texas though. :(

We are under tornado watches today. One of those days I won't mind cozying up in the office and working all day. Glad I can drive the kids to school so I won't lose all my umbrellas.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1103
10. Rotty3
2:21 AM GMT on January 25, 2012
hmmm... Joe, when you do eventually sell the house, it'll be, ummm... well seasoned, right?
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1601
9. calpoppy
2:04 AM GMT on January 25, 2012
I know it is an outside chance, but maybe just maybe you might be able to see the aurora tonight! :)
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 56 Comments: 3913
8. smilininmilan
7:23 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
Hi Joe...hang in there...hoping Jack's boat, the Frontier was not one of the boats with a fire.....thank you.....
Member Since: April 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
7. Midmid1
3:06 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
As usual, JoeA brings a smile to the day with his daily sorties about town. I felt I was there in the vehicle riding shotgun with him. Start...stop...wait...back of neck tightening up wondering if someone was coming up behind us in a whiteout.

Do I go or do I stay...now I have lyrics running through my head.

PS. I miss Ms. Veda's Unalaska Advertiser site. The Fisherman just isn't quite the same. I guess I'll just have to get used to it.
Member Since: November 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 221
6. dotmom
2:52 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
Cow? I heard there were 3 cows roaming around in the Grand Aleutian. Before the boys let them go, they painted numbers on their sides - "1" and "2" and "4." The hotel staff is still looking for #3!!!
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
5. dotmom
2:48 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
Did you get a tip for delivering those pizzas? ;-)

Ylee, I heard the TIP was - "Don't eat yellow snow!"

Don't forget about the cow(s)!
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1292
4. bearpaints
2:38 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
I was holding my breath while reading. Driving like that really scares me. Again Thank God I live in Arizona. But I just checked one of the web cams near our property up north and there is snow. Just beautiful, nice to look up at it but that is all! My head was spinning reading it. Pizzia did someone say food? Those guys eat good, but I know it takes alot of food to keep the body warm. I also hate wind, so Dutch would not be a good place, neither is Kingman, AZ where it's windy, but not that bad.

Stay inside Joe and keep warm. If you can't see outside means you should stay inside. Kick back and enjoy.
Member Since: January 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 264
3. shoreacres
1:55 PM GMT on January 24, 2012
Uh - I'm afraid I know about that cow. But I'll save my speculation. ;)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
2. MissNadia
11:17 AM GMT on January 24, 2012
Hey,
Looks like the Healy is in ice. They have slowed down and are moving a bit to the West.... 132 miles from Nome this morning.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
1. Ylee
9:10 AM GMT on January 24, 2012
Cow? Joe, were they saving Bessie for the day you were free to spray Army surplus napalm on a cord of wood for the Ultimate Joe BBQ? Any other alternative explanations are just too weird!

Did you get a tip for delivering those pizzas? ;-)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 97 Comments: 16314

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About joealaska

On June 4th I left Kentucky driving my RV known as Leggs. The trip is mostly unplanned, it will be interesting to see where I end up. Let's GO!

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