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Monday, February 18, 2013


Icy water
courtesy photobucket

Leon thought well, what now?  Here I am in San Francisco and it's a long way to Nome.  
He went down to the docks and enquired as to how much a ticket would cost to Nome.

The officer told him it would be One hundred and fifty dollars and they would leave in two weeks as the ice had began to melt.

Leon didn't have that kind of money so he had to earn it somehow. The ship was getting prepared for sailing and there was still a lot of work to be done.

Leon decided to go aboard and started to work with some of the crewman. They didn't know if he belonged on board or not. The captain wasn't sure if he had hired him along with all the others who were cleaning and painting.

The captain was impressed by the way Leon worked and he asked him who hired him. Leon said, “You did sir.” The captain said, “I sure don't remember doing that but keep up the good work.”

He remembered Leon's face and the reason was because Leon had inquired of him how much a ticket would cost to Nome.  The captain had been to some parties, and wasn't sure what he had done while he had been celebrating with the rest.

The time to sail was the next day.

When Leon asked the first mate what his job would be on the trip to which the mate answered and said, “What were you hired to do?”   Leon said, “To clean the rooms.” "Then report to the second mate for that is his job."

The next couple of hours were busy for Leon for he had to find out what his duties were and where the crew ate and slept and get settled in.

He found an empty bunk and stowed his gear and then sought out the second mate to tell him to make sure he was on the payroll.  He looked him up on the employee chart and said, “They must have missed you,” so he added his name to the register.

Leon felt pretty smart about the way he was going to Alaska even if he had to work.

He was glad most of his work was inside for it was still very cold on deck.  The trip was going to take over two weeks depending on how much ice they ran into.

Leon had enjoyed the train trip but sailing was more exciting as the ship went through the floating ice.  It looked strange to see the ice form on the deck and railings.  He had seen ice form on tree limbs but this was different because the crew had to break it off and push it overboard so the ship didn't get too heavy or one sided.

His duties only took him about four hours to do, but he was on call for the next six or more hours, and had to be standing by in case they needed him.

This meant he had to wear the ship's clothing most of the day and it was uncomfortable.  After two weeks they began to see lights on the coast of Alaska.  Most were small camp fires that trappers kept up to try to keep warm at night.

Leon was glad he was going to have a pay check at the end of the trip for he knew things were going to be more expensive in Nome.
In about three days they would be in Nome and Leon was surely looking forward to that.  He was wondering if he would see his Uncle Jack, but because Jack had gone to the Klondike, and he was going to Nome he didn't think he would.

It was early morning when Nome came into view and an hour later they were tied up at the dock. There was a huge crowd gathered at the dock for this was the first ship to arrive this year with goods they had been waiting for.

To be Continued


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