Wed 06/07-2022 Day 685

Pos: 71.3009,-156.7683
Loc: Barrow
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent

preparation day with Traci

The sleep is short this night, but some. A lot of chores are waiting. Thanks to Carmen and Alex for providing us with the facilities of their house and help. Traci and Peter unwrap the kayak I shipped from Mexico, and I have to replace all bungees, some rudder line pieces, and some stickers and fit her into the kayak. Traci happily paddles a few rounds and feels comfortable in her new kayak. She made her expeditions mainly on surf skis the last few years and has not so much experience with a closed deck kayak with a surf ski hull. But in these dead-calm water conditions, it is a good restart. I cannot imagine paddling these cold waters without a deck over my lap. She has no roll but likely excellent bracing skills from her surf ski training. Propelling the heavy-loaded expedition kayak will be new for her, as she also had mostly a support crew following her and has loaded only minor things on the hatches of the ski. I will check her technique carefully to avoid getting tendonitis or nasty elbows. We test-pack her kayak and divide the mutual load evenly among the three of us. Our pre-packing in Wasilla pays off. My strong man Peter paddles the kayak with the least loading volume and will carry the worst pack of water bags to even out the weight. We decide to carry both fences along, the banger and the electrical. If we are sick of rigging both in the evening with cold hands or the bear risk seems low, we might put up only one. But opinions for and against each version vary, even among the locals. We will have to find out ourselves. Around seven o’clock, I am at the end of my energy, talking and thinking with little sleep all day, and we realize we are not finished with our preparation chores yet. We will launch earliest the other day, on Friday 8th, if the ice allows. We must find out by driving first to the point, looking into the lagoon and the spit, and talking with the local rescue station people. The wind will be low as far as the forecast goes, and temperatures are rising again, all good for more melting ice. We also need to pack two parcels to ship things back to Wasilla, which we finally consider surplus. I like to shop a few items, if available, and need to catch up on my office chores, including the final organization of the shipping of my third kayak to Deadhorse. Last but not least, I need to get better and longer sleep this night. It looks promising as boating activities, and crazy beach drivers seem less tonight. For the security feeling of our pre-loaded kayaks, we turn them upside down not to present easy-to-open hatches.