I. Looks like my favorite tugboat hat will be getting a lot more comments when I choose to wear it.
One of my sources says that they will be taking the Pathfinder to Seattle for repairs because that's how far it will have to go to find a drydock that isn't booked up for the next six months. Divers from Valdez are putting emergency patches over the hull damage as I write.
Don't ask me how anyone piloting a Crowley tug at the bottom of Valdez Arm could possibly hit Bligh Reef. Everyone knows exactly where it is. It is very well marked.
The Pathfinder used to have a computer connected to the radar that pegged exactly where the hull was, according to its GPS position, at all times. For some reason, it was removed some time ago, and even though laptops can be used to run this program in concert with the main bridge radar, there was no such system on board when this happened.
The closest one might come to an answer to the grounding itself is probably one of my favorite quotes from the late ornithologist, fisherman, big game guide and environmentalist, Pete Islieb. At a conference in Anchorage in May 1977, he predicted that a tanker would ultimately go aground on Bligh Reef. That was over 12 years before it actually happened.
When asked by the head of the USCG Marine Safety Office in Anchorage to explain why he felt that way, Pete responded, "Because it is there; because somebody ALWAYS hits Bligh Reef. They always have - they always will."
II. Wasilla photographer Bill Hess, whose iconic image of Diane Benson driving concrete truck as a Teamster has been used time and again at Progressive Alaska, has posted one of the best articles on what it means to be who we are here - in Wasilla, Alaska - I have ever read.
Bill, unlike others, was able to take a camera with him to Tuesday's Wasilla Sports Complex book signing with the Crazy Woman, wait in line, take pictures of people he met and dealt with as he wound his way to Palin's table, and walk away with a good picture of the CW. Bill's description of his short conversation with her perfectly pegs her for the inane, incurious twit she truly is.
I'm not going to quote from Bill's article, because you should read it yourself. It should win an award.
lower image - Bill Hess