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Expedition Log: July 22, 2001

Tom Litwin, Expedition Director

Seattle, Washington to Prince Rupert, British Columbia

At 6:30 a.m. PDT members of The 1899 Harriman Expedition Retraced party gathered in the hotel lobby. Cups of coffee, sleepy stares to nowhere, quiet conversation, and anticipation were all part of the early morning mix. Luggage was loaded into the belly of the bus; we boarded and made our way to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It was a short flight from Seattle to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The Jones Act, which requires ships of foreign registry to either pay a tariff on passengers or cargo sailing between two US ports, or board in a foreign port, necessitates our flight from a "foreign" country. Since our ship, the M/V Clipper Odyssey, flies under a Bahamian flag, with Nassau as its port of registry, the ship awaits us in Prince Rupert. The first research project was initiated in flight, with Allison Sayers's survey of participant attitudes toward the environment and tourism.

After spending some time in the town of Prince Rupert, we made our way to the docks and our first, long anticipated look at the M/V Clipper Odyssey. After three years of planning, organizing and researching, the ship that would take us on our journey of the Alaskan coastline stood before us. As I stood on the timeworn dock, I couldn't help but think we had taken the long way to get here. By all accounts, we were to have been in this exact spot a year earlier, save for an unfortunate ship wreck in the Solomon Islands, that sunk our first ship, the M/V World Discoverer. With this, Harriman Retraced was put on hold until a new ship was found. No such calamities on this overcast, but auspicious day.

Loading the ship

Alaska Native artifacts are loaded aboard the expedition ship in Prince Rupert for their return. (Photo by National Ocean Service, NOAA).
Click image for a larger view.

The Clipper Odyssey was built in Tokyo and launched in 1988. It is 338-feet long, has a 51-foot beam, and draws 15 feet of water. This shallow draft allows the ship to explore the bays, coves, and fjords of the world's coastlines. The Clipper Odyssey requires 104 feet of clearance from the surface of the water to the highest point of the satellite antennae, and carries 358 tons of fuel that is carried in five tanks. Its range is 7000 miles at a cruising speed of 16 knots. Power is provided by two Warsila Vasa diesel engines producing 3000 horsepower each and driving two controllable pitch propellers. The ship can desalinize 70 tons of water per day, which closely matches daily use. In addition, 275 tons of water is stored within the ship.

Captain Michael Taylor and his crew cheered as the Clipper Odyssey cast off it lines at 6:00 p.m., PDT, and steered into Chatham Sound, heading northwest toward the Canadian-U.S. border. Just before dinner, Kay Sloan, co-author of Looking Far North, The Harriman Expedition to Alaska, 1899 gave the inaugural lecture, providing the group with an overview of the earlier expedition. After dinner Rosita Worl, Prof. of Anthropology and Director of the Sealaska Heritage Center, provided guidance on the Tlingit protocols that would be observed during the following day's repatriation ceremonies at Cape Fox beach and Ketchikan. Tlinigt totem poles and other objects that had been part of the museum collections for the past century were now on the Clipper Odyssey's aft, Deck 5. Tarps had been placed over them to protect their shipping crates from a light rain. Just hours before a crane had lifted them onto the ship; in less than 24 hours, their 102-year journey would be over. A crane would lift them off the deck and onto Ketchikan's dock. There, the Saanya Kwaan would welcome them home.

 

View the day's photos)


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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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