After circling Wrangell Island, we did stay the work week in the Wrangell city marina, although you may think I am lying as there is not a single photo of Meriwether tied to the dock. In fact, neither Kerri or myself took a single photo in the five days we spent in Wrangell. It is just a side effect of us arriving back to civilization – we stop being awed and the camera stays at rest. The reason is, Wrangell is 100% through and through a tourism town. The shops lining the main street were not even open unless a cruise ship was in port (of which there are none in Alaska currently). Even the restaurants and grocery stores seemed to ignore their own posted business hours and simply closed at random times each day. Unfortunately, without the cruise ships, Wrangel had a ghost town feeling. What Wrangell did have was a huge laundry facility, with showers, only a short walk from our boat. For that I am happy.
During our stay Kerri and I both worked. She on her laptop, and me on miscellaneous weekly chores and boat projects. The priority boat project was that sticky gear shift cable that has twice stuck us in reverse gear. After tearing up our lazarette to dive under our cockpit floor (where all these cables live) and the binnacle to disconnect the cable from the lever, I could then verify that it was the cable, not the gearbox or lever that was at fault. I walked into the local marine supply store in hopes of getting lucky with a fresh cable but struck out. Across the street was an outboard engine repair shop that happened to have the exact part I needed. What luck! In the two-plus years we have been at this boat-life, very rarely does a part come easy… or cheap. This whole repair costed well under $100 (usually boat parts start in the four-digit range) and took about two hours top to bottom. Unheard of I tell you, it must be a record. I spent the rest of the day inviting complete strangers over to feel out sweet, smooth, gear shifting action. Kerri just rolled her eyes.
With the urgent repairs complete I finally got around to completing our new topping lift (an adjustable line that holds, raises, and lowers the aft end of the boom), which required a visit the the local hardware store to pickup a rivet gun to install a required block on the boom. Again, after about an hour or two of work, in which nothing in particular went wrong, we had a fully functional topping lift that can be worked from our reefing station at the forward part of the boom. Before it required the both of us, one at the reefing station and the other at the aft of the boom to lower/raise it as needed – it was a pain. It didn’t take long (the following Saturday) for us to test the new system ‘in anger’ as we reefed while underway. A properly working topping lift is nice to finally have onboard.
By Friday afternoon we were packed up and sailing out of Wrangell – into the sunset – starting our weekend a few hours early.