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Fun and Fish in Juneau

Airship Goes to Alaska

Yesterday we did a bunch of work at the boat, went up and put some laundry in, and were let in on a great deal to pick up some freshly caught sockeyes for $6/lb (we bought two, about 10lbs), from Joe the gillnetter here at the dock. He sends most of his fish straight to Seattle, but now we know a guy who knows Joe and got to be part of the "bro deal" today:


This is Joe. He looks just very much like Sam Elliot:


We picked up our fish and took them back to Steve's warehouse, where Steve filleted them for us (aka "showed us how it's done") and we vacuum sealed them right there:



Here's today's procurement (along with two nice chunks of halibut from Steve's 125-pounder he caught the day before)! We kept one sockeye filet and one halibut filet out and put the rest into the freezer.


Last night for dinner I made some guacamole and cooked up some black beans while Kevin grilled up the fresh fish for tacos and we had Steve over for dinner to thank him for all of his help (well and just to hang out, because he's cool). We're probably going to stay another day here before heading to Taku Harbor (and, ultimately…sniff sniff…south).

Tomorrow morning we'll take another trip over to the marine supply store and get ourselves outfitted with some halibut rods and a bigger net (we seriously need a bigger net…wait til I show you a photo of what we've been using to bring in fish). Then we may go out on Steve's boat with him later in the day to pull up his halibut skate line…because he invited us to, and it sounds like fun to see how that all works! This is the basic configuration:

Image source.

Residents of Alaska can subsistence fish (fish for personal use or sharing with family) under slightly more relaxed rules and regulations as it relates to fishing methods and the limit of fish you can keep. 

It's interesting…the last time (a week or two ago) when we were in Juneau for a week, we had actually gotten a little bored of Juneau. We'd been doing so much exploration in more remote coves and inlets, and coming to Juneau was mainly (after the first time) to drop off friends or pick up family, provision, get work done with reliable internet, etc. It's one thing to visit a place and just skim the surface (visit some shops, go to the museum, eat at a couple restaurants, try the local beer, ride the tram, do the hike, see the glacier)…all that is great but it only really gives you one interpretation. This time, even with the bit of mechanical stuff and haul and out all, we've met some great people and connected a little more with Juneau, and it's been so enjoyable! 


  1. Scott Aron Bloom Scott Aron Bloom

    And planes….

    • Yes, and planes…same thing. 🙂

      • Scott Aron Bloom Scott Aron Bloom

        Yeah..plane engines have a nasty habit of crank shafts cracking mid flight 🙁

  2. Great Sherlocking, guys !!!
    Box Canyon Mark

  3. Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

    Well, those pics do tell a story; a mystery one at that. Looks to me like someone put a lip seal on the shaft against the shaft tube, and it got pushed into the cutlass from water pressure. Some sort of redundacy gone wrong, real wrong. I changed my own cutlass and shaft seal after buying the boat, just to start fresh. Consider putting hose clamps on the shaft and shaft tube to prevent the bellows and steel ring from moving apart and out of correct position. Cheap redundancy.

    • Yep, that’s exactly the conclusion we all came to here…maybe whoever put this one in was accustomed to using the other kind of shaft seals and thought a lip seal was a good idea with this one… (it obviously was not).

  4. I do love a good mystery, and this one had all the trappings. Congrats on getting to the bottom of it!

  5. I sort of agree with your summary Laura.

    As an Airstream owner & former owner of other RV’s & small craft, I often wonder how anyone could keep any RV or a boat going without a strong set of mechanical, electrical & general handyman/woman skills… One simply can’t depend on the dealer to keep your rig running and sound. It’s a labour of love to keep everything in order and a good part of the fun… I get that. It’s part of the ownership experience.

    OTOH, I don’t think we should give these manufacturers a free pass on preventable or correctable issues of poor design & poor quality control in their manufacturing processes. They sell essentially hand made premium rigs at premium prices. The buyers have a reasonable expectation of high quality and precision in their products. When that isn’t delivered I would hope that the manufacturer would work hard to correct the deficiencies. Airstream gets a poor grade in this regard IMHO.

    Our 2008 Airstream has had a long list of surprising deficiencies and design flaws. With un-caulked seams, misplaced tools behind the cabinets, rat’s nest wiring etc. I see many signs of a sloppy and disinterested manufacturing team. It has personally cost me hundreds of hours to rebuild a significant portion of the unit so that it is now what I thought it should be when I bought it new: watertight and sound. It’s a pleasure to use now but I don’t think I should have had to rebuild it to get it there. I’m not, unfortunately, alone in my experience.

    As for Nordic Tugs, it seems to me that there are far fewer of these major deficiencies described by their owners. Certainly, the care and attention to small details is very evident whenever you pull off a panel to inspect the wiring or mechanics etc. on the Nordic Tug. As we join the Nordic Tug ownership club (we receive the keys to our new-to-us boat Nordic Tug on Saturday), we have hopes that the QC will be better than Airstream’s. We remain optimistic.

    This odd occurrence you describe is concerning but this extra unwanted gasket sounds like a one-off fluke; perhaps motivated by ill-advised desire to be creatively careful rather than a lack of care.

    Anyways, it seems a very good thing that you didn’t head for home before solving this mystery. Good luck on putting everything back in order before you set off South.

    Happy travels!


    • Hi Evan,

      We agree with you completely. On the Airstream side, we had countless quality problems with both of our (brand new) Airstreams. Like you, hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars later, we have a trailer that we’re very happy with (and one with the quality that we thought we were buying to begin with).

      Regarding the Nordic Tug, the build quality is dramatically better. The quality of components, attention to detail and workmanship are all excellent. The boat is well thought out and well designed. We believe this this issue may have even been caused by (as you say) overzealous “belt AND suspenders” kind of thinking. “Hey, why not use a lip seal AND a PSS? And why not take the cooling water off the highest flow source available?”

      Both of those decisions might sound good on the surface but through a strange combination of circumstances, those two things together probably caused our problem (a problem that could have been way worse). Interestingly, even with both Cutless bearings badly trashed, the boat was still seaworthy and cruised like normal.

      We’ve spent over 200 nights and cruised for over 600 hours on this boat already and overall it’s been very reliable.

      The thing about a vehicle that can take you to amazing, remote, off-the-grid places is that if it breaks down, it might break down in an amazing, remote, off-the-grid place, and you need to be prepared to deal with that. Personally, we are really enjoying the challenges. We have learned so much in such a short time and we’re still completely hooked on this whole boat thing!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and insight, and congratulations on your Nordic Tug! Please keep us posted on your adventures!

      Laura & Kevin

      • Laura & Kevin,
        We here at Nordic Tugs appreciate your understanding in working with us to define where your mystery lip seal came from. It was baffling to us as it was to you, knowing that we don’t use anything like that in building the boat. Thankfully, you discovered it came from an outside source well into the boats life on the water. Wahoo, mystery solved! We look forward to reading many more adventures & memories you are creating living the dream aboard your Nordic Tug. We wish you calm sea’s & many memories as you lose sight of the shore. Cheers to you, from all of us here at Nordic Tugs.

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