Images of Nome

17 Sep

September 15, 2019
Nome, Alaska

One thing singlehanding teaches is the beauty of uninterrupted sleep. Even if he wakes naturally a time or two on that first night, once in port, the sailor’s shedding of responsibility and an unmoving bed are the sweetest luxury.

Next day to chores. The fuel truck was called and tanks filled but not jerry cans. Their time is past, and I gave half of them away to other boats. From here on extended calm should be the least of our worries. In the afternoon, a complete oil and filter change by way of a thank you to Big Red. A little shopping (top of the grocery list: pastry and fresh bread). A steak dinner. Alaskan beer.

Then it was time for a brief wander…

The towns of Alaska are unique in ways not found in the Canadian or Greenlandic north, and emblematic of this uniqueness is the great number of reality TV shows that have sprung up along its shores. Dutch Harbor has its “Deadliest Catch;” Homer, “Alaska the Last Frontier.” In Nome, the pay dirt is mining and the show, “Bering Sea Gold.”

Gold is Nome’s claim to fame, but the mining is not done in the nearby creeks and rivers so much as in the wide, shallow and sandy-bottomed bay just to the south. Thus, instead of fishing boats, the harbor is chockablock with dredges of all sorts. Most are small, home-built contraptions that look barely fit enough to sink properly. A few are large, gangly barges that follow the same theme.

One of my first sights (sorry, I was too arrested to take a photo) was a fight along the wharf between a small dredge owner and his wife. It was a screaming match that lasted hours. Take after take with the lone cameraman moving between the dredges and the wharf for clever angles.

Another famous descriptor is that “in Nome you will find more bars than churches.” I did not attempt a count, as such, but I discovered on my hike only three churches whereas on the town’s main drag, a person could stagger from one bar to the other without becoming overly winded.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


  1. Ted

    The three story building in image three is interesting, it appears seriously out of plumb. Wondered if you had noted that and its precarious aspect in contrast to the shipshape nature of your successful journey.

  2. Michael Thurston

    Congratulations, well done Randal., Last time I saw you was in Nome in 2014
    we got through on Drina.

    What is your next challenge?????

  3. Greg M.

    Mr Reeves
    I Always look forward to reading your latest entries along your epic journey, only recently found how to track your daily progression. (Did a standard “Where’s Waldo now” search on google, substituting your name instead), which led me to the “Follow My Challenge” site.

    I manage to single-hand the northern Lake Huron / North Channel areas as time and weather permit. Although there’s no comparison to your historical voyage, I can relate (somewhat) to the duties & responsibilities you’re encountering every day.

    I can only say that with the enormous fete that you’re undertaking now, if you hailed from Great Britain the Queen would surely dub you into Knighthood for your perseverance and skill to achieve such an amazing task. Quoting from one of my t-shirts “Without fear, there can be no courage”.

    God’s speed, Randall!

  4. John-Francis Mc Dermott

    I’ll bet Randall your trusty steed ( Figure 8 ) will not let you forget anytime soon that you neglected to prominently display her as the prima ballerina of this epic tale of two….

  5. Jim Swickard

    Thanks again for sharing your trip with others. Your writing was excellent and I vicariously made the trip myself…from a comfortable Hacienda in Mexico.
    Mil Gracias,
    Jim Swickard

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