Wednesday afternoon, when I stepped inside from picking currants, I found a message on my phone. My brother Dave and his wife, Anke, had called to say they had just passed the Chilkat Islands, and were headed our way!
They have been sailing north from Juneau over the past week at a leisurely pace, lingering at favorite anchorages along the Chilkat Range. They planned to arrive here sometime before Sunday, when we all have a date to help set up the Southeast Alaska State Fair. I had assumed that they would come in on Thursday’s predicted 25 knot southerlies, but they arrived sooner.
Michelle gathered handsful of dandelion greens on her way home across the bay; I harvested miner’s lettuce from the garden, and made our favorite salad dressing. I set up the camera tripod on the veranda, and set our conch on the bench, ready to blow a semi-ceremonial welcoming blast. I also set out a line on the beach; their message said they had three beach logs in tow!
About 6:00 p.m. they appeared, clearing our southern point. Slacktide’s tanbark junk sails glowed in the afternoon sun. They dropped anchor, rowed the logs’ towline over to me on the beach, then stood off while we threw salad fixings, a jug of wine, and a pack of warmer clothes for the evening into the dory.
Soon, after hugs, smiles, and laughter, we all set sail south, around Comfort Point to Mud Bay, where we anchored, and chatted over a long, comfortable dinner.
Dave and Anke have not been to Haines for 4 years. Other than seeing them briefly at our sister’s wedding in Washington DC last October, we’ve barely seen them in that long. We should have about a month or so to catch up with them before they start heading south for a winter caretaking job.
People often ask me where my brother is. For the next few weeks, I’ll be able to tell them with a greater degree of certainty than I’m accustomed to enjoying.