Monday, June 29, 2015

The Company of Friends

Hammer Museum, Haines
We enjoyed the company of our friend Rob, who joined us for a visit in Haines before cruising back with us to Juneau for a meeting he needed to attend.  The weather was warm and the seas were flat, calm for a nice two-day excursion.  While in Haines, we decided to visit the Hammer Museum, which proved to be quite interesting with over 1,600 hammers on display covering a wide variety of intended purposes.  

Rob and Leonard at the Hammer Museum
Man’s first tool has taken on many forms to accomplish a multitude of tasks including ice-breaking hammers, candy hammers, metal-working hammers, fencing hammers, prospector hammers, railroad hammers, auto-body hammers, and hammers for cobblers and quarrymen not to mention all sorts of mallets.  A wide selection of hammers is nicely displayed in the museum with explanations regarding their use and history.  
Metal Working Hammers
Chasing Hammers for example are used for embossing; the handles made of springy soft wood require a fast succession of light blows.  Sugar hammers were used in the 1800’s.  Before cubes, sugar came in cone-shaped loaves.  To make the loaves, sugarcane was harvested, crushed, boiled, and poured into molds.  Even when buying small chunks of sugar instead of the cone-loaf, hammers and nips were still needed to reduce the size to usable pieces.  
Check Cancelling Hammer
The museum even had a banker’s check cancelling hammer on display.  A check was struck in the middle with a hammer that slit the paper with an x-shaped design.  The Hammer Museum was founded in 2002 by Dave Pahl, who purchased a building in Haines to house his collection of hammers and tools used during his homesteading days at Mosquito Lake located 30 miles north.  After opening the Museum, individuals have made significant contributions to the collection, including archeologist Ken Ostrand and TV personality Tim Allen.  
Early Ford Cars, Fort Office in background
After visiting the Hammer Museum, we strolled the grounds at the William H. Seward Fort, described in a previous blog post, dated 6/17; the guys enjoyed discussing the architecture and maintenance challenges of these historic buildings as well as seeing the old Ford cars from the early 1900’s parked at the site.  
Pretty Spring Flowers, Haines
The following morning we headed southeast towards Juneau with an overnight stop at Bridget Cove.  Fishing boats with nets strung from orange floats littered the area as we approached the cove, we carefully maneuvered through the obstacle course into Bridget Cove and set the anchor around 2pm, leaving us time to explore by dinghy and walk the forest trails and rocky beaches.  Bridget 
Enjoying the Ride
Cove is part of Point Bridget State Park and we found the park trails to be well maintained, including sturdy wood stairs constructed over the steeper pitches.  Along one of the trails we came upon someone’s self-made hideaway – a tree house, hammock, and a “Forest Frisbee” target for games; the word “freedom” was spelled out in bottle caps above the tree-house.  As evening approached, the fishing boats headed into the cove to anchor for the night as we had anticipated.  
A Forest Hideaway
We were surprised that so many boats could fit in this small cove, but of course they didn’t need to worry about being close to rocks and shoals because they would be gone by daybreak and before low tide.  
Forest Frisbee
It was fun having so many fishing boats around us; it was like a small, friendly floating community, complete with a lovely sunset.  However, in the morning we faced the same challenge of negotiating around all the fishing nets strung through the water from over a dozen fishing boats.  Gill nets extending from the stern of fishing boats can be anywhere from 200 feet long to over a mile long.  
A Pretty Evening and Sunset
The cloudy skies and low visibility made it difficult to spot the nets with small white balls bobbing along the surface of the water despite the fact that the end of the line is marked with an orange float.  The use of binoculars helped somewhat but it can be a challenge finding a safe passage amongst a fleet of fishing boats.  
A Quiet Evening with the Fishing Fleet
At one point we had to go between two nets with an opening no more than a boat length or two wide.  As we approached the passage between the two fishing boats, they moved towards the end of their lines so we could more easily determine the passage way; they don’t want their nets destroyed anymore than we want to tangle them around our props!  We slowed our speed and safely passed through the fleet of fishing boats and continued our journey southward.  We arrived around noon in Auke Bay where we said our goodbye’s to Rob; we were sorry to see him go and even Java seemed to miss his company.

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