Most all the Summer....every Summer.....You got a problem with that?
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Steve and Spencer in Alaska 2003
I usually write a journal when I go to Alaska each year, but this year I didnít. Iíll just summarize some of the trip. I was in Nome for 7 weeks this year and Spence was up for the first 3 weeks. My friend Lonnie was there for 7 weeks, Sam was there 1 month, and Erskine Mathis came up for the first time this year. Erskine was with me the last 2 weeks. The weather was real good for the first month and we were able to dredge in the Bering Sea 13 of those days. The last three weeks we were only able to dredge 2 more days. 15 Days of dredging produced 16 ounces of gold on my dredge and Lonnieís did about the same on his. Last year we dredged 22 days on my dredge and produced 13 ounces of gold. Each year we come up with new ideas to improve our dredging and some of the ideas work. This was my eleventh year in a row to spend the summer in the Nome area. There are only a handful of divers who can or will dredge in the Bering Sea. You need lots of experience and must have all your ducks in a row to do this successfully without getting hurt. Except for Spencer and Lonnieís son Ryan we donít encourage youngsters (under 50 years old) to try this.
I had trouble with my Honda Rubicon, ATV and Honda was unable to fix it up there. I have an extended warranty so it was Hondaís problem. They were going to airfreight it to Anchorage for repairs and I suggested that they send it to Alabama instead and have IKON fix it here, so I could use it on my farm. The Freight is over $1300 and the repairs will be several thousand probably. Honda is paying for everything and I will buy another new ATV next year when I go up. The money I spent on the extended warranty was well spent. Honda was most helpful and tried to get it fixed up there. I think the Rubicon is too fancy for the Arctic weather and the salt-water spray from the sea.
We saw Killer Whales (Orcasí) about everyday for the first month this year. They came into very shallow water. I havenít seen any underwater yet and I donít want to. The noise made by our pumps on the dredge probably keeps them away from us. My dredge worked great this year. During the last month of our stay we were able to buy large king crabs and cooked many of these. Fresh live king crab are fantastic eating and donít even compare to the crab you can get down here. Perry, Sandie, and Georgia Massie ate crab with us when they arrived in Nome. We ate outside my tent right above the beach. We drank beer, ate crabs, and watched whales until about 1:00 AM. We tried to wait until dark, but dark never came. It never gets dark in June. The waves got too big to dredge during my 5th and 6th week, so we did some sight seeing trips. Erskine learned to ride an ATV and became quite proficient. That means he didnít go over the handlebars or flip it over on him. He didnít get to dredge but one hour on this trip, and that was our last day in the water. I dredged over 5 hours that day and we got over 3 ounces of gold.
Next year Lonnie and I may buy a boat about 20 feet long and use it for adventures and prospecting. I am trying to get Lonnie and Sam to visit me in Alabama so I can show them how to find Civil War relics. We have been home less than 2 weeks and Iíve already filled a couple of boxes with stuff for Alaska next summer. I think next year we will get 100 ounces. Sam said thatís what I said this year.
You can see some pictures from other Alaska trips here ==> Alaska 2002 Alaska 2004 Alaska 2006 Alaska 2007 Alaska 2008 Alaska 2009 Alaska 2010 Alaska 2011 Alaska 2015