Reality is calling again. After 3 months of vacation it is time to become part of the wonderful world of Holland America again and I did so by falling out of the air in Anchorage. After being bussed down to Seward I boarded the good ship Statendam again for my next three month contract. All was well on board and after the ceremonial hand over of the captain’s pager my colleague went on his well deserved vacation and I could focus on the challenges of the day. For today that was the Alaskan weather.
Depression time has started again and bad weather system after bad weather system is now being created near Siberia and sent over in 2 day intervals. Mother Nature had one planned exactly to coincide with our call at Seward and that needed my instant focus. My colleague had wisely decided to arrive in Seward on the 15th, a day early and thereby outrunning the whole approaching system. Good thing he did as on Sunday morning 60+ knots of wind was blowing outside Resurrection Bay. Seward is located at the end of this bay which is a sheltered location and thus the Statendam was tucked away safely before it all started. Still it blew in this sheltered location on occasion 40 knots over the dock together with that Alaskan phenomenon called Horizontal Rain. By the time I was supposed to sail at 8 pm it was still blowing 40 knots with 27 feet of swell outside the Bay. Not a place to be if you do not need to.
Thus I decided to stay. The weather forecast indicated that by the next morning the wind would have lessened to about 15 knots and the swell should be about 15 feet and that was much more pleasant. There is some leeway in the sailing schedule between Seward and Glacier Bay and if I would not sail too late, then I would be able to make up the lost time; provided that the weather followed the weather forecast. Following this logic I have set departure for 05.30 tomorrow morning. By that time the elements should have calmed down enough to not be much of an issue. Staying overnight gives the additional advantage that the guests will have a good night’s rest before things get wobbly and the “floor” of their cabin suddenly starts acting as an elevator out of control. Plans were announced to all accordingly. It gave me the chance to have a good nighs sleep as well after all the flying around and it is always nice to combine the useful with the pleasant. By 9 pm. I was in bed.
So if the weather follows the weather forecast, I will be sailing tomorrow at 05.30. By the time I get outside, the old storm will be moving away to the East ahead of us and a new storm will be building up behind me. We will be in between the two in the area of reasonably good weather. I call that using the window of opportunity. In the coming days, the weather will remain un-settled but I am hoping at least for a few good days until the next storm makes a landfall in South East Alaska.