Winter thoughts heading north to Ketchikan
Feb 11 2016
i am once again at sea….. we left in the darkness of night as the tide started to flood…… a journey i talked about all last summer…. a journey that tess always wanted to take…. i’m aboard the Aleutian Ballad, the famous king crab boat from the Deadly Catch, and we are heading to Alaska…. outside the rain is falling and i’m in the darkness of an early dawn…. the sea seems to be alive although the swells are small, yet the swells are pushing us around quite a bit…. the wind is blowing at 20 kts yet i’m protected as i sit in the pilot house both safe and warm…. i’m sitting in the helm chair on the port side of the boat and in the background is the steady hum of the engines…. slowly pushing us northward… we’re only still off the coast of Washington on a course that will take us north of Vancouver Island…. and the rain continues to fall
thoughts wander back to my time with Tranquility… i truly miss my little lady….. an unbroken dream that lived for 11 beautiful years until i walked away from her that evening in January…. my heart crying as real tears were felt…. a goodbye that was the hardest i ever had to do…. i often wonder where my lady is….. are hands like mine tenderly caressing her everyday…… i miss her scent….. i miss her touch…. i miss her being
i sit and watch the constant rain and the flight of the gulls….. carefree, just drifting with the winds…
and the rain continues to fall…. thinking back through yesterday i wonder did the rain ever stop….. once again it’s the quiet hours of predawn…. the world is dark and silent for i can’t feel the wind or hear the sea…. slowly this island that i float upon moves ever northward…. slowly and silently the wind and currents push us towards Alaska…. i am at peace in this moment, for the sea has always brought me peace… the steady rhythm of the swells…. the rain against the glass that i stare out through, to this cold distant world…. the marine radio breaks the silence with an advisory of a waiting storm in the distant…. but our journey will have taken us safely to the north of this storm…… looking to the east awaiting the dawn of this new day…. and the rain falls
the rain continues to fall…. i sit once again and look out at a world of wind, rain and swells….. it seems we left Astoria at the right time as we are staying ahead of the worst of the weather….. yesterday afternoon there were small windows of sunshine but mostly we been accompanied by gray skies and rain….. i can feel a drop in the chill in the air as we head further north….. north once again to my beloved town of Ketchikan….. but for the rest of today the swells and wind will continue to push us northward while this rain continues to wash our pallet….
being on this journey upon the sea one finds there are many idle moments that allows ones mind to drift like the currents….. at times i think of my past…. my many journeys that this soul of mine has experienced….. and as i think back to each of those journeys i wonder did i really know my course i was taking through life….. i feel most of the time i was just caught in the flood or ebb of the tides of my life…. did i really know my true destination……. with each summit that i reached there was always a moment of idle satisfaction…. i could reflect over what was accomplished and also stare hard into the unknown future…. yes there were always the deep valleys that i descended into….. and at times it grew dark and i felt lost…… my course felt uncertain…….. so was there always a careful laid out plan…. i think not, but a course i set, and always i seemed to move ahead
it was late last night with a gentle rain still falling that i saw the lights of Ketchikan once again…… a thousand memories does this small town hold…. rainy walks amongst rainy days with a thousand puddles that my boots did play within…. it feels good to be back to my alaskan home…. only the noise from the bars could be heard from the docks that were empty of the thousands of tourist who wander about in search for their alaskan memories…. this gentle winter rain is washing away, for yet another day, the stains left from those crowds…… for tonight the streets belong to those whose songs are heard from the many bars…… and the docks are empty and stand silent and so beautiful without the ships that will come once again with the summer rains…. yes its good to be home once again
the sky is gray and the mountains are blanketed in clouds as the rain continues to fall….. i always wanted to spend a rainy winter day in my Ketchikan and today my dream comes true…… its cold, its damp, untold puddles cover the sidewalks as small playgrounds for the boots of those who wander aimlessly without destination other than a walk in the silent rain…… it’s a day that i find myself sitting in the wheelhouse of the Ballad in my chair just reading and napping as ones sees fit… my morning did have a beautiful walk in this rain as it felt good to be cleansed by this winter rain…… the boats sit idle in the harbors enjoying a winter’s sleep until the rains of spring…. as i let my eyes wander to the many windows overlooking the waterfront, i wonder how many chairs are placed by these windows with hungry eyes that soak in these rainy days….. with a pile of books by my side, a mug of hot tea and wrapped in my blanket i would spend my Ketchikan days throughout the winter…… and today is a beautiful day to let the mind travel through memories and dreams…..
my friends have all left….. the crab pots are soaking in the cold tidal current awaiting the crabs… there is noting to do but wait… to watch the days slip slowly by…. the afternoon rains quietly fall while i sit in warmth by a window, my mug of tea and my sleeping bag as my blanket……. finally my dream of spending a winter in Ketchikan has happened…. my book is closed now as i spent the afternoon hours reading and dreaming…… when my eyes grew weary of words i took to my raincoat and walked the rainy streets of this quiet town….. the sidewalks are empty of the summer crowds as i can freely wander at will….. the puddles were all mine to splash through as i walked with no destination in mind…. i treasure the thought of another full day alone in my rainy paradise, with nothing other than reading and walking in the rain before i must head for home…..
with my dream and memories packed in my bags i took my final walk in the rain… a taxi and then a ferry and the rain continued to fall…. i took my wool cap off so i could feel the rain for one last time…. i feel cleansed by this rain… now in a broken silence i awaited my flight but in a way i hope it would never arrive…
and as that jet lifted into the clouds, i looked for one last time at my beloved town of Ketchikan….. and i thought… journeys must all end if only for another dream, for another journey to begin