Ship's Log
Sunday, July 30, 2000
Francis Bay to Orford Bay

Exploring Isolation

    We woke late (again) and finally got under way at about noon. We took advantage of the tide and headed northwest up the Butte Inlet. We passed the small town of Church House where the native tribe relocated from the head of the inlet. It was a small town of about 5 houses, a church and a small dock. We slowly made our way around the northern side of Stuart Island.

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As we continued north we noticed that there were no other boats. The water was becoming a thick milky green color. You couldn’t see through it. This was pure glacial runoff. And it was cold. I found out the hard way. There was a lot of debris in the water from the logging efforts. Once we sailed through a bunch of bark and sticks and I could hear something dragging across the bottom of the boat as we slowly made our way through it. Although the current was in our favor there was virtually no wind. Butte04.jpg (32643 bytes)
There are no good places to anchor in this inlet except for at the head of the bay another 45 miles away or at a logging camp about half way up. 

Finally I started up the engine to try and make some time. When I put in gear the engine labored. I immediately put in neutral and noticed a lot of debris behind us. Then I tried reverse…same thing. So, fortunately Deb brought the snorkel gear I asked for. So, it jumped in the thick, green, nutrient-rich, icy water put on the mask and went down. I could see a long piece of bark wrapped around the propeller shaft. After the third breath, I got it all loose. Then I dove down once more to see if the grounding did any noticeable damage. I couldn’t see anything in the murky water, so I climbed back on board and resumed motoring up the inlet. After a while the inevitable wedding debates began. Deb is great, she knows how important some things are to me and she lets me do what I need to be happy. Like this trip. Here I am gone for two months and now I am dragging her to this Godforsaken place and I can’t even tell you why. 

We talked for a while then she went below. Butte05.jpg (37227 bytes)I thought just how magnificent this was and how wonderful my life is. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I hear dance music and Deb appears from the cabin with cold bevies in hand. We danced for a while and I realized the humor in this moment. How out-of-context can you get? I watched mist form over epic glaciers and slowly swirl in the alpine breeze as we boogied among the dolphins and eagles.
Soon the destination came into sight and we found ourselves in a small bay with a log tow and nothing else. Butte08.jpg (31015 bytes)

The sun set as the stars burst to life. The milky way splashed across the sky like white spray paint. I watched stars twinkle and got that far away feeling. I thought sailing on these waters made me feel small. I was seeing light that thousands of stars created thousands of years ago. And that light is traveling in all directions into infinity. It is the same as it was before my life and it will go on long after. The slight stress I was feeling about keeping up with this web site and all the other worries about the wedding and everything just melted away.

How wonderful that I am here at all.

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It's a small world after all. It's a small small world.

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