Saturday, April 04, 2009

Au revoir old friends

Yesterday a tempest, today whirlwind. A farewell. We watched sadly as our beloved C-Worthy was pulled away by her happy new owner. As she left a huge empty space in our driveway, she left an even bigger hole in our hearts. Such a great little boat. In six summers, the number of days we spent aboard were around 360 all told. Almost one full year. Aboard, we experienced so many of those moments that define a lifetime. Days of excruciating beauty and the remarkable wonder of magical Prince William Sound.
Most people of the world will know the Sound as a place destroyed on March 24, 1989 by a drunken captain and a negligent oil company. 20 years ago, and we still find oil residue tarred on rocks, and lingering in beach sands, still killing killer whales. The toll on friends and colleagues also lingers for those who tried in vain to help. Cleaning otters, or steaming rocks, desperately mapping the oil slick to get in front of it and try to do something, anything, to help. Alan and Laurel Bennett told me once, that they couldn't return to the Sound after the spill. One of the most spectacular areas of the world - ugly forever, in their eyes. Too many nightmares.
I was 19 years old, and remember the day I heard the news in Tacoma. The other day, I meekly wore my "Exxon Sucks" t-shirt, on the anniversary, too damn busy to really do anything meaningful. But ever hopeful that my miniscule personal choices to live more simply, will add up with the efforts of a jillion others to one day actually mean something. In the meantime, we have a long way to go to get a handle on corporate "responsibility".

So for many Alaskans, it was truly horrifying to see this photo of Lance Mackey winning the Iditarod in front of an Exxon Mobil banner nearly the same week as the anniversary of the spill. They were allowed to be a sponsor of the race.

I suppose the race committe decided that any money is good money. This was "the last great race", as they call it, for me. It was the last race I will follow. They lost a fan this year. In a daydreamed fantasy, I imagined Mackey, a former commercial fisherman, dropped the hook and skidded his sled to a stop at the sight of that banner, refusing to pass until spectators pulled it down. Oh, one will dream...
Before this rant, I mentioned we sold our C-Worthy. James and Esther, displaced South Africans, made an offer we couldn't refuse, and Monique and I sadly watched her pulled down the road and from our lives. We wish her new owners well, and wish them amazing adventures, silent anchorages, and playful Dall's porpoises.

Laura had our home inspection scheduled for today, so the past few days we painted and cleaned, cleaned and painted, cleaned painted surfaces, painted cleaned surfaces, and surfaced some surfaces with painted surfacing.

It was a lot of work, but it is amazing how the house looks. Mo commented that she thought we kept it pretty well up, but it's truly impressive the dust bunnies we found behind the furniture, after living here nearly ten years. Here's one of the bigger ones...
Actually, we found, or rather, HE found us. He ran into the yard and raced around with Chance like his long-lost brother as we were selling the boat. No collar, but we figured a Staffordshire bull terrier would be missed, so we hung on to him and called the pound to see if any were lost. None were reported, so we decided to wait until the next day to see about turning him in.

A restless night of nails clicking on the floors, and a little whining, but he was a really nice lad. Looking like a weird mix of aardvark, chupacabra, and pot-bellied pig, he did love the treat jar, and whined at the jar like he was dying without a yummy chummy right frickin' now! Luckily for us all, particularly Chance, er sorry, Capt. Grey Whisker, his owner had microchipped him, and Animal Control whipped out a trekkie-looking tricorder scanned him and got the owner's name, phone, and address.

Pretty cool, albeit Orwellian, stuff. Now everybody - go out and get your dog chipped. It helps with the happy ending part of the story.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A house for sale(?), celebrity boat shoppers, and ashfall.

We talked to our friend Laura about renting our house, and she mentioned she might actually be interested in buying it. This was a welcome idea we had entertained, but put on the side burner because of time restrictions. With a willing seller and a willing buyer, it might just work. Laura is a wonderful friend, and most important to us is we remain friends throughout the process. Here's a photo doing the diclosure forms after we accepted her offer. A glass of wine soon followed.

This puts our biggest hurdle within sight, and we can move on selling C-Worthy, our 22' C-Dory Cruiser we've loved owning for 6 years. Posting on the C-Brats website and Craig's List have generated a lot of interest, and a few lookers. Two of the folks that came by to look over C-Worthy brought over one of our favorite authors - Alvah Simon and his sailing soul-mate Diana, of North to the Night fame. Their remarkable sail exploration articles and the adventures of Halifax, the famous polar bear detecting cat, can be found at Crusing World. We'd attended a talk of Alvah's the night before - hosted by the Seward Yacht Club.

The other notable event was ashfall in the Anchorage area from Mt. Redoubt's continued eruption. We got a trace of ash, but the streets were eerie and deserted, pedestrians with dust masks as we walked to an empty sushi restaurant. A 'burnt match' smell in the air. The only other eater in the place was telling us the lines at Home Depot for masks, duct tape, and other suppies was impressive. For some incredible photos of the volcano, see what Bretwood Higman saw in the night.

We had a very nice going away party and managed to squeeze thirty or so and five dogs in our tiny house. Mediterranean theme - why not. Very sad to say good-bye to a group of wonderful humans. Our Alaska family for 10 years. We will greatly miss them all, and promise to keep in touch. Chance thought the night was for him.

Other than that, the boxes are getting more numerous, and the walls are bare. Weird to think we may be staying in our home for the last time this week. With all the packing and activity, I think the dog is getting nervous. His anxiety really came to light when Chance announced he was now to be addressed as Captain Grey Whisker. I hope it is just a phase...