We had barely finished dinner last night when an echoing crash sent us tumbling out the the front door. A humpback whale breached several times out in Lynn Canal, then began waving its flippers around.
The day had been warm, and the evening calm and soft, largely without biting bugs. We sat watching whales for a bit, then a familiar boat hove in view: the Princeton Hall, out of Juneau, came cruising past the homestead, and turned to approach our beach.
My dad’s first job after he and Mom married was as the chaplain of the Princeton Hall, a Presbyterian mission boat serving Southeast Alaska. She was Dad’s first assignment in “the Presbyterian Navy.” He went on to serve as chaplain and skipper of Anna Jackman, and the skipper of two boats operated by Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, SJS II and Sheldon Jackson.
Eventually, our friends Bob and Kathy Ruddy bought Princeton Hall. They run it as a charter boat, and hired another friend of mine, Harry James, as skipper. Harry is one of the “Bolgeristas,” a group of boat building friends who provided essential aid when we built Selkie and our other sailboats. Harry and his family had come up from Juneau to attend the Southeast Alaska Fair, and stopped by to shout hello across the water on their way up.
usually, talking to a boat from our shore is painful, needing good lungs and a lot of repetition, but last night our voices carried easily over the calm water. We had a nice, short visit before they moved on.
We sat for a while longer, enjoying the evening, when we saw a kayak round our southern point. Friends from town had made good on their plan to kayak, and stopped by for a short visit.
Our social schedule is rarely this busy. We’ve never had so many visitors approach from the sea side of the property, either. We felt like the families we’ve heard about in small, southern towns, who sit on their porch of a summer evening calling out greetings to friends and neighbors who pass on their evening stroll.