has been raining amost the whole week, so we have been engaged with work
inside the boat. Hannu has been sewing a moscito net to cover the hatch
- the summer in mind. Auli baked her first sour rye bread. We got the
sourdough (the leaven or 'root' in Finnish) from Pirkko in Anchorage.
You keep this piece of dough in fridge until it's time to bake. It
turned out quite good with the right taste, but not similar than
On Friday the sky cleared up and we hiked to the mountains. There the
rain had come down as snow, so there was 30 cm (1 feet) of new, soft
snow. Hannu was excited! He climbed twice to the top, snowboarding down.
We also filled up with diesel and water last week. The tanks were almost
empty, and the stove was near to running out of oil, so it has the time
to untie all the six mooring lines and motor to the fuel station, Orca
oil. It is located outside the harbour, at the end of very high wooden
dock. Although we timed for high water, our spreaders were on the level
of the dock. Diesel costed 1.68 dollars per gallon (0.44 per litre).
Mix the leaven (the sourdough) with
one litre of lukewarm water. Add rye flour so the you get a thin
porridge. Cover the bowl and let it stay over night in warm place.
Add 3 tbs dry yeast, salt, half cup of wheat flour, and so much
rye flour that the dough is bakeable. Let it rise. Bake two breads
and let them rise. Bake about one hour in 200C/400F.
Sylvie cutting Auli's hear
The outdoor photos with various snow
activities are probably boring you already, but here some, for instance
Auli's snowboard style (the second time in her life).
Hannu examining the slope with binoculars
Not a two-legged tree but Hannu climbing up
...and Auli's style
14.3. Cordova, Alaska,
It has been raining so hard that you need ski goggles even inside...
Hannu chopping onion for the beef soup.
Cordova, Alaska, USA
Maybe the most famous Alaskan race, the Iditarod
dogsled race, started last weekend (7.3.). The route from Anchoarge to
Nome is 1036 miles (1660 km) long. The route crosses two mountain ranges
and runs along the Yukon river. Nome, the finish, is
located by the Bering Sea, in west Alaska. Nome has no road access. The
first musher can be expected in Nome ten days after the start, the last
a week later.
A race sled has an average of 16 dogs. This means about 1440 eager
runners on the route, since this year's race was entered by 92 mushers,
of whom 17 women. Besides Americans there are mushers from Canada,
Germany, Italy and Norway. Last year a Norwegian won the Iditarod race
with 68.500 dollars prize.
The first Iditarod race was held in 1873. It took about a month to
finish the route. The word iditarod is Indian language and means
a 'distant place'. More info in www.iditarod.com.
The Iditarod route 2004. Red colour shows
where the first
mushers were by March 11th. Source:
Equinox: theoretically, the day is equally long everywhere on the earth.
The sun seems to move to northern side of the equator. In other terms:
we have longer days than nights!
The past week includes weird fish stories. We went to the river to
catch trout, but came home with huligans. This is a small fish, maybe
related to smelt. But the odd thing was that you could catch them by
hands. Thousands and thousands of huligans swim up the river in early
spring. Maybe the fish are so exhausted that they cannot escape. Hannu's
record was 16 huligans by one time (by two hands, however)! Huligan is
very oily fish, but not bad. We have tried both barbecued and pan fried.
So we are happy to open our "100 dollar fishing season" (the
annual license costs 100 dollars).
Fish by bare hands!
The dark area is a herring shoal
Also herring would have been
available. A huge herring shoal was hanging in the harbour for a couple
of days. But because of the rather oily water, we didn't go for the
Staying in the seafood subject: the whole winter we have been wondering
a great barge with generator running day and night. Now we learned that
it is an oyster hatchery - or a becoming one. The barge hides a full
laboratory inside it. There Oyster-Jim does his algea-experiments and
grows oysters, although they are still like sand, so it will take a
while before those are on anyone's plate. We didn't get much of Jim's
explanation, but the man seems to have a lot of knowledge and faith. Jim
has also a "conventional" oyster farm in a bay outside
Inside the barge you find...
...tens of different algea
The weather has been good
for a change, and we have been a lot outdoors. On Wednesday Hannu
climbed on the Eyak and snowboarded down. On Thursday we hiked to
McKinley Lake and saw a koyote on our way. On Friday we drove up with
Bruce's argo to the meadows with Sylvie and Jean. The programme of the
day included snowboard training, camp fire burning and coffee drinking.
The end of March means end to our radio reports in the Radio Q,
which will be renewed from the 1st of April. We have been giving radio
reports for two years without a break, first in Radio Aino,
then in the Radio Q (both in the Finnish Broadcasting Company). After a
couple early reports, the regular reporting started in the Easter 2002.
We were in Panama, in the autonoumos area of Kuna indians, Kuna Yala
(San Blas). Jukka Kuosmanen started to call us, he
recorded and edited the stories. Our work together continued until the
renewal of the radio station. Now Jukka is travelling somewhere in the
Amazonas, Brazil. The last call has been made, the last reports have
been taped, and thanks and goodbyes said. It has been a pleasure to work
with Jukka, he is supportative and positive. Thanks also to Kaj
Färm, who believed in us in the beginning. During the two years
we have made 90 longer reports, sent out once a week, and about 60
short, daily stories.
We have talked with Jukka two years in
phone but met
At last, after many stages
in the customs and post-office, our inflatable canoe
arrived to Cordova. The canoe is sponsored by NautiKarlsson
and bought in Maritim, Finland.
Although there are several inflatable canoes and kayaks sold in the USA,
you cannot find this Zodiac model. The canoe carries three adults and a
lot of stuff. It can be paddled by one or two. Next in our programme is
a canoe trip to the Eyak-river.
Hannu transporting water from the other
end of the harbour
We canned huligans on Friday. Hannu went to the river and
catched about 8 pounds of fish. Cleaning them was the hardest job in the
whole operation. Fish into jars and tomasto sauce on. Jars into the
pressure cooker for an hour. We got 8 pints. Tastes same than sardin in
Cleaning the fish in cold and
rain was the biggest job.
Fish into jars and jars into
We had borrowed Paavo's big canning cooker.
For Hannu's big disappointment the sauna oven in Bidarki (the Recreation
Centre) is out of order. No more sauna for him. (Which means that it's really
hard to get Hannu to the shower.) The oven is mark 'Finlandia', which
just increases the bitterness. In the women's side the sauna is working
perfectly. Sylvie from the French boat had her first sauna two months
ago, and after that she has been a regular sauna-goer.
We are losing our great car. Paavo, the owner, has returned from lower
48, and wants his Subaru back. The super-car took the ferry over to
Valdez on Saturday night (sigh).
I guess I shall start with the essential - the weather. That's
ruling here, dictating the activites. We got about one feet snow one day
during the past week. The day after the sky was clear, so Hannu enjoyed
snowboarding and Auli made a long snowshoe hike to the slopes of the
skihill. It was a short winter: rain washed the snow away as quickly as
it had come.
On Friday we had a real storm. The wind blew our wind angle pointer away
from the top of the mast. An annoying lost: where to get a new part to
an old VDO system. A new system costs a lot, so if anyone has an
old VDO anomameter with a spare wind angle pointer, please send it over!
(P.O. Box 1943, Cordova, AK 99574,USA.)
Snow almost covered the windows
We are getting a bit restless waiting for
clear days to prepare Kristiina for sailing. The fixed windlass is
waiting to be put on its place. The sails have to be put on place. We
hope to able to leave Cordova this month, if not far, then to some
sheltered and tranquil bay nearby.
One of the jobs during the past week was
washing the maddrass cover.
was a surprise to us that as religious country as the US is, Easter is
not a public holiday. People are at school and work both on Good Friday
and on the Second Easter Day. Shops are open and aerobic classes are
held. Still 160 million Americans, i.e. about 60 per cent of the
population, are active christians (Source: Suomen Kuvalehti 10/2004).
Our Easter included the traditional lamb dinner and chocholate eggs,
which we shared with our neighbours, Sylvie, Jean, Danny and Deidre. The
garlicg-herb lamb turned out to be as good as at home. This was first
time on our trip that we cooked a real Easter dinner aboard. The first
Easter was spent in the Kuna Indian area in Panama, where no lamb could
be found. The second Easter was spent in New Zealand, sitting by a camp
fire smoking fish.
Our sailing plan
is finally getting a form, since we got the customs decision on our
extension application: we are allowed to stay the whole summer in
Alaska, until the 18th of October! The arrival of that letter was
definetely the best thing during the past week. We are heading west,
towards the Aleuts, maybe even Pribiloff Islands. After that we will
probably sail directly from Aleuts to Kodiak and over to Sitka
(Kodiak-Sitka about 560 miles). The early autumn is spent in the Inside
Passage of SE Alaska. The border port is Ketchikan, where we declare out
and sail over to Canada. From the border there are about 500 miles to
The spring arrived after
several rainy days. The snow is gone from the town, roads are dusty and
young people are wearing just a t-shirt. It's only +10 C / 50 F, almost
freezing during the nights. The increasing light feels great. The sun
rises around six, and sets at nine - same than in Helsinki. We have
started with the outdoor works: the windlass is on its place, next will
be the sails. Hannu has been cleaning and painting rusty spots he found
in the anchorbox and around the engineroom top.
We bought some plywood for the bottom of our dinghy. The price of the
plywood was most strange: six slides of plywood would have cost 90
dollars, but when we took the six pieces AND the rest of the plate it
cost 50 dollars. Expensive both ways, but didn't quite get the raison.
Hannu is making the ends round. Behind him
the "extra" plywood, which cut the total price in half.
Seaotters have already so
big pups, that they dive for their own food. Nevertheless, very often
you can hear the loud screaming of a seaotter pup waiting the mother to
come up from a dive. There are a few seaotters living in the harbour
area, but you see a lot of these animals outside the wavebreak. On one
paddletrip we saw a seaotter nursing it's newborn baby on the shore.
It's rather rare to see this animal on dry land.
Seaotters floting. One is keeping
open while the others are sleeping.
Seaotter uses it's belly as a
table. It dives shellfish from the bottom. In the harbour we
have seen them eat herring.
It's time to go! Time to leave the winter harbour and start moving
life again. We will
spend some weeks in the gorgeous Prince William Sound before heading to
Seward and Homer, and from there towards the Aleutians.
Four months we have been living in Cordova, almost like any other
cordovan. We have used the library and the recreation centre, been the
daily customer in the crocery store and post office. We have paid
electric bills and rented movies for the long, dark evenings. The
highlighs of the winter have been all the wonderful dinners with our
neighbours. Bruce and Lillli, Danny and Deidre, Jean and
Sylvie - you have been wonderful company and we will miss you.
To Sylvie and Jean we will not say goodbye, only "see you", because we
will meet again in Canada. They will spend a month in PWS before heading
to SE Alaska.
We thought we had become more acquainted with cordovans. It was a bit
disappointing that the social life limited to the harbour, but the
fault was probably ours, we should have been more active.
Prince William Sound Yacht Club awaken to remember the visiting boats during the last,
rather busy week. Kommodore Ken Adams asked the French to
have a presentation of their sailing. Very interesting evening would
most likely gathered more audience if it had been held during the winter
and not in so short notice. We had expected the yacht club to be a bit more active towards the
visiting boats. The only
happening during the winter was our participation in the Iceworm
Festival parade. It is a habit that the visitors become members of the YC - so
did we. Prince William
Sound pennant has an orca and a sail, which describes sailing in the Orca
Inlet. This was told by s/v illywhacker's Peter,
who designed the flag during his two year stay in Cordova. We gave the
YC Sindbad's pennant to PWS YC.
...Bruce, Lilli & the dogs
Pacific Wind II...