7.2.2004 Cordova, Alaska
Sorry this update comes a bit late, but I have been busy!
Home at last! On Thursday
night at 11 PM we drove Subaru out from the ferry to pouring rain after
11 hours ferry ride. No snow in Cordova, oh no! Rain and the lack of
snow were disappointments, but the good thing was that boat was warm,
generous 22 C (70 F). Jean from the French boat had put the radiator on
a day earlier. We didn't have to shiver in sleeping bags, we were able
to sleep in our own bed between the sheets. The sound of rain lulled us
to sleep. Middle of the night I woke when the wind was blowing and the
ropes were creaking - so familiar noises! I fell back to sleep, it was
good to be back home.
Kristiina feels rather small after living two months in different
apartments and houses, but we'll get used to it. And it will be better
when we get all the things on their place. We brought a LOT of stuff
from Finland and Anchorage. Subaru was full
to the ceiling. We bought second hand cross-country skies for both of us
in Anchorage. Hannu bought a snowboard and snowshoes. (So that we were
really looking forward for some snow.) On our last day in Anchorage we
went to Costco to buy food and drinks, because everything is less
expensive in Anchorage than in Cordova.
Hannu changed the o-ring in the oil stove and soon we were able to enjoy
the nice (and cheap) heat of the stove instead of a wild-running
electric meter. If we have full power on the radiator it costs us 20
dollars a day. This time we had to carry the water in jugs because the
gear handle is off and the boat cannot be motored.
We had some mail waiting. The Cadillac Club of Finland
had sent us a calender with neat Caddy photos, thanks!
We arrived just in time to the Iceworm festival, held
every winter in Cordova. Iceworms exist in real, but about those and the
festival later, after we have seen what it is. That much we know that we
are attending the parade.
A couple of things about our journey back to Cordova. This time we drove
from Anchorage to Seward, about 100 miles. It took us 3,5 hours. This
route is much easier than Anchorage-Valdez route, but it climbs a bit up
to the mountains as well. The highest point is Turnagain Pass,
where we saw people with snowmachines and snowboards. There are no
lifts, you have to carry the board and walk up with snowshoes. The
shorter drive meant a longer ferry trip. It takes about 11 hours from
Seward to Cordova - same than from Helsinki to Stockholm.
In Seward we stayed one night with our friend Nina. And in the evening
we went with her to work: aboard a tug boat, which was helping a
container ship into the harbour. That was interesting! Kari A has
two 1200 hp engines. There is usually a crew of three, in more difficult
jobs four. The tug is helping the harbour traffic in Seward. In
summertime there are a lot of cruising ships, and now the difficult ice
situation in Anchoaage has directed more cargo ships into Seward. We
stayed nice and warm in the cockpit with the captain, while Nina and the
young deckhand were sweating outside with the heavy lines. And we were
back in bed by midnight, but Nina had to be back at work at 3.30. Hard
Arm outside Anchorage is
covered with ice floats
The container ship was helped by
Kari A and Junior (in photo)
14.2.2004 Cordova, Alaska
Last weekend we enjoyed the famous Cordova Iceworm festival.
There were a lot of happenings - especially contests, such as oyster
sucking, survaival suit racing, beard judging and a best T-shirt
contest. And of course Miss Iceworm was elected amongst the local school
The most visible and maybe most important happening was the parade. It
was attended by various community actors: fire department, Salvation
Army, the church, scouts, children's clown school, and naturally Miss
Iceworm. We attended the parade with Prince William Sound Yacht Club.
A lot of preparations had been made already before our arrival from
Finland. Patago's dinghy had got a mast with lot of flags. In one corner
we had a big Finnish flag, in another the local flag from Noirmoutier,
Sylive's and Jean's island, and on the top the Alaskan 'ursa minor'
flag. The dinghy was on a trailer, which was pulled by Bruce's Argo.
This vehicle has a Tarzan horn, which delighted especially the kids.
We started to get organised for the parade already two hours before the
start. It was pour-raining, so the feeling wasn't very carnivalistic.
Finally it was one o'clock and we started to march between the Altiiq
Dancers and clown school. In the middle of the main street there was a
stage, where we stopped to be introduced - that rare the overwintering
boaters are here. The parade was over in 15 minutes, since the Cordova
main street is only some 200 metres long.
Iceworms exist in real. These tiny creatures are about a
size of a 5 cent coin when streched out. They live on glaciers and feed
on algae and detritus. The best temperature for them is round 32 F / 0
C: if it's colder they freeze, and if it's warmer they become mush. The
iceworms move inside the glacier according to the temperature: sun will
get them disappear deeper into the ice.
Iceworm might have been...
...the hit of the parade, if not...
William Sound Yacht Club...
Foto: Nancy Bird
Foto: Nancy Bird
Prince William Sound Yacht Club
From left: Jean, John, kommodor Ken with daughter Nicole
and Dolores. Foto: Nancy
Baby Iceworm with blond-Sylvie
Foto: Nancy Bird
The survaival suit race was
attended by some ten teams each having four members. They got points not
only for speed but also for artistic impression. The race started with
getting into the suit and ended when the last team member was in the
John took us one morning to
watch Niels feeding eagels. Although you can see these birds every day,
it was a great experience to watch them dive down to catch bones. There
was a wwwwwhhhhhmmmmm and the eagle was back in the air with a bone.
The bald head eagels get their
distinctive white-brown colour when they are two years old.
Writing this it's pour-raining and blowing. Nothing to do outdoors.
But it doesn't matter, we enjoyed the most beautiful winter weather
during the past week. We were hiking and kayaking. The skilift was
operating one day, so Hannu was snowboarding without having to climb up
himself. Auli made a snowshoe hike with Sylvie and Jean.
By the Sheridan Glacier there is a lake, where the locals
go skating. We don't have iceskates, so we were walking on the ice with
our skipoles. Magnificient place and gorgeous weather, calm and sunny.
We were six persons and four
different "water vechiles" on our little kayak trip to
Hawkins Island opposite Cordova. Besides us, Anette, Sylvie, Eric and
Bruce, and a single kayak, a double kayak, a rowing boat and a pedaling
canoe/catamaran made the trip. We took the double kayak over to the
island with Hannu (paddling together didn't go very well), and Auli
returned with Bruce on the pedaling canoe, so that Sylvie could also try
the kayak. Bruce had his first try in a rowing boat, but the man was too
big for the oars, so he had to change with Eric in the middle of the
During one night we got 20
cm/10 inches snow, and the morning was sunny and bright. There could not
be better weather. Hannu went snowboarding. Auli was heading to a
snowshoe trip with the company of Sylvie and Jean. Very close to Cordova
there is a highland area, which is mostly bog and meadows with small
ponds and short trees. The area has more snow than sealevel, actually
amazingly much, about 1.5 metres/4-5 feet. Two days earlier we were
there with Hannu, walking on the snow, that was hard enough to take our
Snowshoeing (a word?) is fun! With the steel "nails" or
"paws" under the shoe it's easy to climb up even a bit steeper
It's easy to climb up with the
snowshoes. Photo: J-F André
Sylvie and Auli. Phtoto:
Hannu on the Cordova skihill. Photo:
A couple more eagle photos.
Hannu saw a baldhead eagle catch a seagull on our dock. The eagle let
him come very near to watch eating.
When there is the possibility only once in four years, I must date
the homepage to this one. Happy leap-year day! In Finland
this is the day when women can propose, so go ahead! And if you are
turned down, the man has to buy you a present.
Our week has gone outdoors and having good time with two quests, Nina
from Seward and Don.
In the beginning of the week we explored more the highlands near
Cordova. We followed the snowmachine tracks up to one of the lower
peaks. It took us two hours to walk there. The next day we returned,
Hannu with his snowboard. Unfortunately, the slope was very icy so it
was difficult to snowboard down.
The highlands near Cordova is a
wonderful hiking area
Snowmachine tracks and an
avalanche at the background
Picnic on ice. For Don it was the first
time "walking on water"
at the Sheridan glacier lake.