Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What A Crazy Day . . . .

Last evening Goldfish and I walked up Haystack for our evening workout, noting the rising winds, the leading edge of a major storm.  When I walked Chico before bed, the wind blew him back and forth on the road like a kite on the end of the leash and I knew we were in for a good one.

As you have no doubt read on some of the other island blogs, the 58 foot F/V Icy Mist was taking on water and was intentionally grounded on Akutan Island where the Coast Guard eventually safely rescued all four crew members.  You can read more about that here.  Kudos to the helicopter crews that responded and rescued the crew in some of the worst weather of the year - amazing flying, by any standard. 

During the night we had wind gusts on Unalaska recorded at 107 MPH with many unofficial reports of 120 MPH.  These gusts tore off a few roofs, flipped skiffs off trailers, broke smoke stacks, and just generally threw around anything not nailed down.  I love the sound of a good storm and I slept like a baby; Goldfish, not so much.  During the night a houseboat tore loose from it's moorings in the small boat harbor and drifted across to Alyeska with two people on board.  They were able to hop off when it grounded at the mouth of the creek and unsuccessful attempts were made to tie the boat off.  It ended up at our dock, right by the cod unloading area, where it sank.

In the top picture you can see the roof of the houseboat; the third picture down you can see a Magone Marine crew on-site with salvage vessel Joshua.  They were able to pump out enough of the water to tow the boat to the Alyeska boat ramp and drag it on shore as the Coast Guard observed.  In the bottom photo, the man and his fiance that were staying on the houseboat are salvaging what they can of their possessions.  I figured I should take a few photos as all this was happening a stone's throw from my desk.

Despite all the violence and damage, I haven't heard of any lives lost on the Bering from this one, and for that we are all thankful, and again humbled by the forces nature can bring to bear on the workings of man.  

In unrelated news, we heard on the news this evening that our little Unalaska Community Library was given a four star rating for the year as reported by the American Library Association, ranking it among the best 256 libraries in America - quite an honor directly related to the 5 great staff members working there, one of whom is fellow blogger Lauri from Life on the Rock - great job Lauri!


Anonymous said...

As usual, great post Steve. I also sleep great when there is a good storm. The only damage I was aware of during the storm was the houseboat incident, and only because up until June, I knew someone who lived there alone. Thanks be, she moved!

Gigi said...

Freaky! I heard about the houseboat early this morning from my coworker Darcel. It was her brother and girlfriend who lived there. Thank goodness the outcome was not any worse!

mamawas said...

Thanks Steve what a frightening experience for the houseboat. Was this a "record" storm?

We appreciate your blog.

Lori said...

Interesting story/post this morning and all right out your window - cool! OK, so in winds like that in FL, we'd be freakin' out and boarding up windows. I still can't believe you guys get hurricane force winds without the hurricane. I just can't imagine building homes in Unalaska to hurricane code - LOL!

In the third pic down Steve, the buildings with the blue/grey roof - is one of those the Grand Aleutian Hotel? Is your house in any one of the pictures?

Will read about the F/V Icy Mist now as your blog is the one that informs me most or first. Glad everyone is safe and will continue to pray for all the boats still out fishing.

Kudos to your library too!

Lori said...

Thanks for the link to the F/V Icy Mist story Steve. If you go back to the home page, there's a video that was made by the USCG. Couldn't hear any sound but it was interesting to watch.

cookie dough said...

Cool pictures, thanks for posting them. The storm kept me and my 11 yr up all night.
That is great about our library! Good job everyone! I love our library and the employees..they know, I visit them every other day :)

That was scary about the Icy Mist...glad it all worked out, I can't even imagine flying in those winds! Ughhh I get scared when it's blowing 40 and I have to fly!

Kym said...

That houseboat looked like a submarine. That poor couple!

Gigi said...

Lori, the buildings with the blue/grey roof are Unisea housing. The hotel has a red roof and you can see part of it peeking through, between the boat and the dock in Steve's photo.

Elizabeth Douglas said...

WOW! Those poor folks! I'm glad they were alright and able to salvage some things from the housboat. Also, of course, again, it's great to hear that all members of the Icy Mist crew were safely rescued, such a relief!

I can't imagine Storm winds like that! When we get hurricanes, as far inland as I am, we get maybe 50-70 mile gusts at the absolute most! I too love a storm and would just like to feel wind like that...safely away from any flying debris!

Also, as a proud user and lover of libraries, kudos to your branch!

Alaska Steve said...

Donna, I don't think it was a "record" storm, just a good blow for these parts. We get a few every winter, and they all have their own personalities!

mamawas said...

love your description of "good blow" for the wind storms.
Glad the couple is safe
thanks for the reply