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June 25, 2007

Landfall in Juneau

Becky and I arrived in Juneau at 1:30 am on Saturday. We crashed out with a few other paddlers on the lawn in front of the ferry terminal and attempted to sleep during the few hours of darkness that night. In the morning we were greeted by a text message from our friends Erik and Haley. Congratulations to them both on the arrival of Tilly! They make a beautiful family. Thanks for the photos Erik. We're thinking of you!

Our ferry ride north was idyllic. After weeks of hectic planning and studying suddenly we had absolutely nothing to do. Right out of Bellingham, between Sinclair and Lummi islands, we were sent off by a pod of leaping Orcas! Catching up on sleep, reading, writing and simply watching the inside passage slide by kept us entertained. We pitched a tent on the beck deck of the boat and stayed dry despite a bit of rain during the passage. Our fellow passengers ranged from families on vacation, a USFS fire crew, wannabe and veteran fishermen heading north, folks relocating to new lives and jobs in AK, and a few paddlers, bikers, and hikers out for adventure, from genteel to truck-stop rugged. Our longest layover was in Ketchikan where we had enough time to walk down to the recreated native village at Saxman to view the totems and carving studio. It was nice to have a chance to stretch our legs after 40 hours on the ship. Continuing north we stopped briefly in Wrangell and then headed through Wrangell Narrows in the pitch black ghosting between the bouys with only yards to spare on either side. Petersburg was shrouded in fog and backlit by the glow of dawn, but by then it was time to head back to bed. By morning of our third day we were in Frederick Sound and staring at the biggest crossing of our paddle trip south. That morning the 10 mile wide channel was as calm and flat as a lake, a beautiful day for a crossing. We're crossing our fingers to have similar weather when we finally get there in our kayaks. Arriving in Sitka via the narrows of Peril Strait we had just enough time to run to the NPS historic site to soak up a few more totems and history. Then it was north to Juneau for an early morning arrival, a snooze and a short but painful carry down the Glacier Highway to our put-in spot next to a fish processing plant. A short 1.5 mile paddle, our first in the expedition loaded boats, took us to the USFS Auk Village Campground, on the site of an old native settlement. A little bubbly to celebrate Tilly's birth and the beginning of the trip topped off the day. Tonight, Becky and I will be boarding the ferry to Bartlett Cove and Glacier Bay. Oh and by the way, Becky and I did a little roll practice in loaded boats today and are happy to confirm that, yes, you can roll a fully loaded sea kayak! Again, three cheers for our coaches Shawna, Matt, and Leon from Body, Boat, Blade!!

June 19, 2007

Rolling Videos

Check out these links for some cool underwater videos of Becky rolling her Romany Explorer sea kayak. Many thanks to Body, Boat, Blade for their expert instruction, inspiration and support! We wouldn't be rolling without you!! Best of luck on your trip. www.bodyboatblade.com

Final Preparations

I really shouldn't be posting right now, but I'm burned out from backing. In a mere 15 hours, Becky and I will be in line to board the Alaska State Ferry. Today had been a feverish finale to months of preparations. More about that a little later.

The big news is that on Saturday, Becky graduated from the Huxley School of the Environment at Western Washington University!! Hooray!!! To celebrate a gang of friends and family went out to Western's Viqueen Lodge on Sinclair Island for the weekend. In fact, just this morning we were on Sinclair. Water taxis sure do make the San Juans seem small!!

We had a wonderful weekend of relaxing, exploring, tidepooling and catching up.

A big THANK YOU to Tristan and Julia (who took this photo) for making it out for this special weekend, and for the pancakes.

Alright, time to get back to packing. Food boxes are all wrapped up, dry bags are stuffed, the boats have even been fully loaded for a dry run. Amazingly, everything fits!! Even the iPod!

June 10, 2007

Schedule and Mailing Addresses

Many of you have been wondering where we'll be this summer and when. Well, here's the plan. If you're interested in joining us for a segment, or just want to send along a little package of goodies, check out this list. Packages can be addressed "Becky Peace or Nick Giguere, General Delivery". Be sure to allow at least 2 weeks delivery time.

Start - June 27

Bartlett Cove, AK - July 3
Glacier Bay N.P. and Preserve
Attn: V.I.S.
Becky Peace
PO Box 140
Gustavus, AK 99826

Angoon, AK - July 12
General Delivery
Angoon, AK 99820-9800

Wrangell, AK - July 26
General Delivery
Wrangell, AK 99929-9800

Prince Rupert, BC - August 10
General Delivery
Station Main
Prince Rupert, BC V8J3P3

Shearwater, BC - August 25
General Delivery
Shearwater Marine
Denny Island CPS
1 Shearwater Road
Denny Island, BC V0T 1B0

Sullivan Bay, BC - September 4
General Delivery
Sullivan Bay Post Office
Sullivan Bay, BC V0N 3H0

Refuge Cove, BC - September 14
General Delivery
Refuge Cove, BC V0P 1P0

Home in Bellingham on September 25!

Off to Antarctica September 27th!

June 7, 2007

Two Weeks Away

This has been an unbelievably busy spring for Nick and I. I have been consumed with finishing up my last quarter at school and all the little details of graduating. Nick spent the month of April working at Mt. Rainier with pre-season preparations and then returned to Bellingham to dive straight into trip preparations. This has been a full time job for Nick for the last month and a half. I think he deserves a degree too (B.S. in Expedition Logistics?). Nick has also been spending a lot of time customizing his Pygmy kayak, see photos below.

We have been working and living in a friends finished barn in Ferndale. It's about a 20 minute drive to Bellingham, but we have more space than we need and Nick is able to work on his boat in the attached garage. We have both been pouring over all of the available resources that cover this trip, charts, guides, trip accounts, etc. We have also purchased an embarrassingly large amount of gear , but justify it with the thought that this will be our life for the next three months, and that we want to be comfortable with good quality gear. Nick has worked magic with some of the techie stuff, constructing a deck mounted solar panel that will charge a battery pack or directly to our electronics: VHF radios,

camera batteries, i-pod, headlamps, etc. We have also been working on our food resupplies. It was quite intimidating at first, trying to plan food for a hundred days, but we then figured out that we could just plan for about 6 fifteen day trips. That felt manageable. And of course there are all the little itty bitty details. Where are we going to sleep when we arrive on the ferry in Juneau at 1am? We can't leave our boats. How much toilet paper should we bring? Do we need a pruning saw? Can we eat mashed potatoes for three out of ten dinners? All questions that will soon be strikingly clear.

We hope to continue to make posting through the trip. We are currently following one gentleman's blog who is about a month ahead of us and paddling in the opposite direction. Otherwise we will do our best to send word along through various other means.