June 11. 2018. Departed Ballard North, AKA Dutch harbor at 0900 Alaska time.

June 11. 2018. Departed Ballard North, AKA Dutch harbor at 0900 Alaska time.

A few thoughts about Dutch Harbor.

There isn’t much to do here in town.

The Wi-Fi is glacial. The cell phone service is spotty at best. The winter month are dark, dark, dark. Kids need to use a flashlight to find their way home after school.

The air service is hit and miss.

During the 4 days we have been here the Alaska Airline flights have been canceled for days at a time due to fog and low ceiling. Sharry and Kyle had flights to Anchorage scheduled. Sharry’s sister, Sheila, is meeting her to take her to spend time together in Seward, and Kyle is going back to his business in Hawaii. They would go to the airport, a 5-minute drive from our boat out on the spit, only to be told that the plane was circling around overhead but due to low visibility must return to either Cold Bay or to Anchorage. This has been the case for the past 10 scheduled flights over the last two days. So back and forth to the airstrip they went. Finally, they told us to take Starr and head East and they would stay in the local Ritz if necessary. They just called on our Sat phone to say a plane finally got in and they were on their way. Hooray!!

I can understand why the fleet do their fishing up here and then return to the civilization of Ballard. Some of these boats make 2 round trips each year! That’s 4000nm per round trip, 8000nm per year, in order to get the very best in maritime support.

There are dozens of fishing trawlers in the 120’ up to 300’ length, tied up at Dutch Harbor with their sterns all showing Seattle as their home port. I’m again impressed with the enormity of our Ballard fishing fleet. The fact that Ballard has the largest commercial fishing fleet in America seems even more obvious when you see fleet spread out all around Dutch Harbor.

Trawlers Alberbaran & Majesty

I note that the 130’ and larger boats have run 3 to 4 bow lines as well as multiple spring lines and this is just for their short term summer tie ups! Clearly, these guys know what to expect from the weather.

The floating processor, Northern Victor, uses multiple 2” anchor chains for their temporary summer tie up. You will see Northern Victor this winter tied up just south of the Ballard bridge.

Northern Victor


We rented an SUV to get around town and I would pop into the various shops like Lunde Marine North, RAPP, Harris Electric, Radke Marine which are up and down the block. Many of the shops are manned for the summer by some of the same crews that run the Ballard facilities.

I feel very fortunate to have these same skilled technicians and mechanics help keep Starr running as smoothly as possible.

Considering that over the last 2000+nm we have had only two issues.

One is the stabilizer chattering. Our speculation was that maybe there was something stuck in the pressure relief valve or maybe there was an electronic control issue. Whatever is the case, it seems to have cured itself.

Second, a stateroom hot water heating fan, which is just a 0.3 Amp computer fan, burnt out.

Not Bad!

Oh, Yeah, there was that big wave…..


  • Brantly
    Posted at 15:59h, 12 June Reply

    Awesome to read the updates …stay safe and as always have fun


  • Sherry Nebel
    Posted at 17:22h, 12 June Reply

    I share your words from your great adventures with my Wellspring colleagues. Yes, it’s vicariously, but we’ll take it. Keep the stories and pictures coming, Sharry & Don.

    Be safe.

    Your friends at Wellspring Family Services

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