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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nostalgia, part 4?

Another blog from the desktop on the old laptop. I must have saved it to send later. I remember writing this one, (and Tony's brisket!)less than 18 months ago, huge sense of achievement but tempered with the knowledge of what was to come and the uncertainty of setting out to do something that really put us out there on our own in the most hostile of environments. As it turned out, Nome and Pat Hahn and his family became the basis for the success of our transit of the NW Passage - and are now lifelong friends - I have an invitation to follow the Iditarod next year on a snow machine with Pat and the team supporting one of the Mushers. Who'd a thought that before Baton Rouge and Pascal's little chart?

Early am 5th July Nome with what passes in America for coffee:
Strange - eerie? - feeling. I remember vividly looking at Nome on google earth in Sydney what seems now only yesterday yet so far in the past it has no time frame. I remember my feelings at the time - this tiny spot so far away - a harbour - Berri still on her mooring at RANSA - so far to go, so much preparation, perseverance, patience and persistence to get there - such a thoroughly uncompromising task to get Berri here and this is only the beginning. And here we most definitely - yet somehow unbelievably - are. On Independence Day - seems fitting.

I sat in Breakers Bar on Front Street as the festivities went on outside - long, narrow dark bar receding into the murky cigarette smoky distance, Mr Zappa and the Grateful Dead on NPR loud in the background, a bunch of goldpanners, construction workers and locals spread along the bar drinking the most amazing concoctions. Ice, cranberry and Vodka with a side shot of Crown whisky is one I remember. I felt as if I belonged - yet the signpost outside the Nugget a few doors away said Sydney 7181 miles (easily the furthest away of all the names). Tony, the barman, had a cookpot behind the bar and he opened it up and put a big black lump about a foot long onto a huge cutting board and started to carve it. My July 4th brisket, said he - would you like a plate? Would I??! How much is it? Against the law to sell it in here - I'm giving it away…so I got a paper plate with slices of marinated sugar glazed brisket, cooked overnight, with crisp bread and a mix of beans and onion. One of the best meals I have ever experienced - washed down with Alaskan Amber. A feeling of something achieved yet the usual apprehension that the Examiner still lurks and we're really only at the start line. Can't ever escape that except by getting on with the job. Just needed Marvin along to park the amazing collection of hard country vehicles outside and tell me that his b.t.s.o.a.p. was wasted in Nome and did I have a real job for him?

On which: today is back on the gearbox problem. It's a linkage problem, I think - doesn't always seem to engage properly so I will try to dismantle it all again and adjust it - almost impossible to get to the business end of the Morse cable that moves the gear lever but I gotta do it somehow. McQ and K having their usual morning sleep in and will probably appear around lunchtime and start on the other jobs.

Still too much ice up north and we have been strongly advised by the locals who know that we should not leave until it is open at Point Barrow so we will stay here until that happens. So - out of this expensive hotel and into a B & B if it looks like more than a few days.....

And I won't bore you with the rest. To savour the moment, I have just made coffee using the little blue plastic funnel and one of the last of a pack of 250 filter papers that I bought in the store in Nome - last used, I think, during our rather nasty Atlantic crossing last September.