Saturday, September 19, 2009

[Travelogue] Bye bye to American skies

(With apologies to Don McLean.)

We left our last American port of call today, Dutch Harbor, home of the Discovery Channel show The Deadliest Catch, on the island of Unalaska. The TV show has definitely made an impact there. The shuttle bus driver couldn't stop talking about it. "And over there are the crab pots they use on Deadliest Catch. And here's where the crew of Deadliest Catch drank a beer once." And so on. We did see a bald eagle sitting on a street light, which was kind of cool. Not the sort of thing you normally see in SoCal. But that was pretty much the highlight of the visit. I wouldn't really recommend going out of your way to visit Unalaska unless you're really passionate about fishing or bird watching.

We are now out on the Bering Sea heading towards Russia. Our luck with the weather is holding. The sea is (mostly) calm and the skies are partly cloudy, which is exceptionally good weather in these parts for this time of year. We have two days at sea. I'm hoping I'll be able to focus enough to actually get a little work done.

We've been warned not to expect too much from our port of call in Russia. The last time it took six hours (out of an eight-hour-long stop) just to clear the ship through immigration.

We're blasting through time zones like they were popcorn. The clocks are going back an hour each day. Tomorrow we cross the international date line and lose a full day, which we'll get back at the end of the trip. When you fly to LA from Sydney you land five hours before you take off, which always seems kind of freaky. (The time warp effect is even more pronounced if you go to LA from New Zealand.) But there probably won't be much new to tell for a couple of days.

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