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28th July 2016     Location: Nome, Alaska     64°30′14″N, 165°23′58″W

The past few days in Nome have been busy getting everything ready for our nearing departure. Christina our last crew member for the passage, also a teacher, joined us on Tuesday. Her parents came along for a day too, it was great to have them here briefly. Dario did a presentation at the Rotary Club on Wednesday (yesterday), which was a good opportunity to connect with fellow Rotarians. We also successfully filled up our fuel tank.

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This morning we had the honor of welcoming Richard Beneville, the mayor of Nome himself, on Pachamama. Here is a short video of how Nome notices the impacts of Climate Change:

During the crossings to Dutch Harbor and Nome we noticed three leaks. So the past few days have been dedicated to finding and fixing them. To find a leak you basically go to the general area where things are getting wet, e.g. the windows of our heads. Then you use water to pinpoint exactly where the water is coming into the boat. This is easier said than done and it took us most of a day to peel back enough layers of foam and insulating materials to find the exact leaks. The water in Salina’s cupboard seems to be coming in via the bolts that fix the wooden toe rail to the hull. These bolts have corroded a little and this is allowing water to pass. The other two leaks are windows that don’t seem to be tight anymore. The rubber has grown a little old. Check out the pictures to get a better idea:

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The toe rail is a bunch of pieces of wood around the outside of the deck of the boat. Each piece is screwed to the hull in several places. Since we don’t know if the water is running in through the wooden corks above the screws or under the Sikaflex that should seal it to the boat. We assumed it may be the Sikaflex, so Alegra and Meret spent an hour or so removing it from around the dodgy toe rail. This will allows us to clean it and renew the Sikaflex, which should fix the leak.

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In the meantime, Christina, Cornelia, Andri and Noé were sanding the parts of the wooden window frames, which had started to rot a little or where the coat of varnish had started to come off. Later, we also sanded the stairs into the galley and gave everything a nice new layer of varnish. Since we removed the stair to sand and varnish them and had to wait for the new layer of varnish on the stairs to dry, we now all have to jump down into the boat and climb out.

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A friendly bald eagle sat on our Windex wind indicator in Dutch Harbor and managed to bend it. Luckily, Christina’s parents managed to find another one and brought it with them all from Switzerland. Salina had the honor of winching (essentially pulling with a little help) Dario up the mast to exchange the old one.

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This afternoon we joined Keith and the members of the Cross Country Ski Club’s their clean-up of the town snow dump. We filled many bright yellow bags with plastic and all sorts of other items, such as a scooter, that the snow left behind when it melted! Here is a little snippet from Keith about what he does:

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New ice charts show there is still ice around Point Barrow, so since the wind isn’t great yet either, we will wait here a few more days.

 

29th July 2016     Location: Nome, Alaska     64°30′14″N, 165°23′58″W

Today it rained and rained and rained some more. It reminded everyone of Cordova. The children felt at home in all their rain gear.

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We had hoped to finish fixing the toe rail and windows but for that we needed to open the windows and the wood of the toe rail would have to be dry. So the kids had a couple of hours of school. Salina and Andri have been having their German and math end of year exams.

Sabine also did a quick interview with Bobby, a gold miner. Watch the video to see what equipment they use to mine for gold, just off the coast in the Bering Sea.

Sabine went to stock up once again on food in general and food for the eventuality of having to overwinter in the ice. Thanks to Christina we had lots of new fresh fruits from anchorage already. Dario was in charge of finding new motor batteries.
Here’s a birds-eye view of Pachamama almost ready to set sail, which Dario took yesterday.

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After hours of rain we decided to put a tarp over the toe rail and reroute the water flowing from the deck, but even so it was too moist for anything to dry! Nonetheless Christina and Sabine cleaned and sanded the whole aluminium, primer and paint around the toe rail. Maybe we’ll have more luck tomorrow to finish the job.

Seeing as it was Friday, we decided not to let the long daylight to fool us, as it had us working until dusk the last few days, and finish a little earlier. We had promised to cook dinner for Lew, who has been kindly letting us use his internet, washing machine and shower. Afterwards, we went to a concert in the elementary school. The Super Saturated Sugar Strings played as part of the Salmonberry Jam Folk Festival here in Nome.

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30th July 2016     Location: Nome, Alaska     64°30′14″N, 165°23′58″W

We awoke to a windy but sunny day. Perfect for what we had planned for the day. First we joined a race here in Nome. TOPtoTOP has a habit of joining any race that is happening wherever they are at that point. Dario and Christina were our cyclists, while Cornelia and Andri ran and Sabine, Mia, Alegra, Noé and Meret walked and jogged intermittently. It was a wonderful way to see some more Muskox and a little more of the countryside around here. In the meantime, Salina got to go to a workshop with the cellist from the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.

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All back on the boat the work began! We cleaned all the windows, which entailed taking away all the old silicon sealant over the screws holding the window to the hull and the cleaned rubber around the window. Then windows were stuck down and sealed using silicon.
Here, a picture of our newly varnished stairs drying out on deck:

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Andri helps out by cleaning the gun. The gun may become handy when we need to scare off too nosy polar bears.

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When the boat is too messy to eat lunch on, the pontoon becomes the best second option. Mia does this in style.

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We also finished the sanding and cleaning of the toe rail and got rid of all the dust using acetone. Then a layer of primer was added to the aluminium and let to dry. Then the new layer of Sikaflex was added once again sealing the gap between the toe rail and the hull. Just to be on the safe side Dario also tightened the bolts and added nuts to keep them in place better. Hopefully all our leaks are no longer leaks!

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Thank you to Roland for giving us their smaller oxygen tank in case we need to dive to look at the underside of the boat or keel.

To say goodnight a picture of the midnight sun, that is confusing all our body clocks. More pictures here!
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See our current location by clicking here.

Please also help us save Pachamama! To find out more click here. This is our challenge until the end of the year!