09 May 2013

Alaska Digest, 5/9/13: Nautical Edition

Mystery of the Sea Dept:  You might think someone around Haines would remember the sinking of a 180-foot-long, 30-foot-wide steel-hulled vessel of some kind near the main dock on Lutak Inlet just north of the Southeast Alaska town. But so far, the ship 200 feet offshore is a mystery to Haines Borough officials, reports the Chilkat Valley News.
[Hydrographer Ben] Hocker said the sonar technology revealed the majority of the vessel’s exposed surface is smooth and flat, leading him to believe the boat is overturned. If it were right-side up, the imaging would likely show some sort of superstructure or hold, he said.

The smooth surface also suggests the hull is made of steel, as wooden hulls tend to deteriorate and appear potholed and uneven on imaging software.

Because the imaging doesn’t reveal any material spilled out alongside the vessel, Hocker said the ship likely sank empty or full of cargo that floated away. “I wouldn’t be sitting back here if it was full of gold, let’s just put it that way,” he said.

Hocker couldn’t estimate how long the boat has been on the seafloor but said its partial burial in the sediment indicates it didn’t likely sink in the last several years.

Troubled Waters Ahead Dept:  When a charter boat is fired back up in the spring, you never know what is or isn't going to work ... until you try.
I had to use the restroom, and I’d better do it before we left the harbor or else endure the stigma of being one of those people who actually uses a marine toilet.

The toilet on Captain’s boat was merely ornamental. That the boat contained an enclosed restroom was an advertised feature. A girlfriend recommended the boat, not for the potential success of the charter or the demeanor of the captain, but for the enclosed toilet. Should anyone aboard the boat make use of the feature, they must do it with skill and diplomacy. The captain had many times instructed guests on the proper use of the head. I’d taken a few notes over the years: “No butts in head” is not a personality prerequisite for marine toilet use.

Don't Hurt the Ones You Love Dept:  Vessels operating inside Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southeast Alaska are being required to slow down in order to protect humpback whales from injury.

Park officials say in the last week 17 different humpback whales have been observed feeding in the area. Humpback whales come to Glacier Bay in the summer to feed on fish. They winter in the Hawaiian Islands.


PioneerPreppy said...

Nice to know boats have the same Spring fixup problems my small gas engines do :)

Rev. Paul said...

Alaskan winters are hard on boats, especially those left in the harbor. The only exceptions are those on which the owner lives year-round.

joated said...

The wreck is a big boat to have just disappeared from all records written or oral.

The story about the use of the head was worth reading if just to confirm my personal observations and beliefs.

Geez! Even the whales go to Hawaii for the winter!

Rev. Paul said...

joated, agreed.

Re: the head on a small ship, that's been my experience too. It was tricky enough during foul weather on a destroyer that was 360 ft long!

And yes about Hawaii: it's an Alaskan thing. :)