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Standing in line at the ferry I started chatting about folding bikes with a young girl, before we even boarded I knew that she was one of my tribe.  We found a comfy seat on the ferry and like two old friends started blabbing about, bikes, sailboats, the inside passage and then it came out, you need to go to Alaska, those Alaskan girls.

I laughed and told her about April, Alaskan  born and raised  When she needed a new bowsprite on her Flicka she didn’t ask a man to help her, she just built it and it’s better than anything the factory put out.  Her caravan isn’t quite finished but it’s flawless And will make a good home while she finishes her medical degree.  I just got a letter from her, she is in Baja doing her thing, I should be there but I’ve been playing too long and it’s caught up with me.

Back on the the ferry I met another  young girl, a sailor just back from delivering a boat in Baja, her smile was infectious, her eyes bright and twinkling, she has found her zen in this world.  A mother and a grandmother,  when she saw a picture of Sookie it was immediately on, we’re going to sail together and yet another hand will bless Sookies tiller.  Alaska might have to wait another year but there are pleanty of adventures right here in my own backyard and my tribe is growing at a rapid pace. 

In Friday Harbor I found a quart of varnish, Captians by Pettit is pretty much the only varnish I’ve ever used and I love it.  Wherever I go Sookie is my calling card and she has introduced  me to many a fine sailor with her deep Amber teak, dark oiled bulworks and bare, salt scrubbed eyebrow and hand rails, she carries just the right amount of stainless steel and bronze and soon will be sporting new titanium chainplates.  

I have an open door policy with April, like a butterfly she flitters in and out as she pleases. I’m hoping she will spread her wings again soon and land in my cockpit as I need help with some interior wood work and she has a mean set of tools, and the skills you will only find in those Alaskan girls.

“I enjoy working for my heat. I don’t just press a button or twist a thermostat dial. I use the big crosscut saw and the axe, and while I’m getting my heat supply I’m working up an appetite that makes simple food just as appealing as anything a French chef could create.” 

― Richard Proenneke, One Man’s Wilderness