We introduced ourselves to a fellow passenger dining next to us during breakfast on our first full day at sea aboard the Columbia.
This is pretty typical for the two of us and makes for a more interesting journey. Mike is his name and he is an Engineer officer aboard one of the AMHS boats and it became apparent that he adopted us! What a wealth of information he is and he is a history buff so he could tell us what we we were looking at or the history of an area. Mike watches over other engineers and works 28 days on/28 days off, if you can imagine that.
When leaving Ketchikan we board the Matanuska for Juneau. At or scheduled stop in Petersburg we wanted to get off and be able to say we had gone to Petersburg. We had 15 minutes to see what we could before we had to re board. One must be prepared to show your tickets and photo ID to re board if you do such at any of these stops.
As we are walking back on, along comes Mike in his MGA . He had come to see a friend in Petersburg. The Columbia leaves Petersburg in a leisurely manner passing in front of the marinas, docks, ports and beautiful historic buildings of Petersburg. What a beautiful place this is but I am biased towards fishing docks, marinas and industrial activity and all that goes with that environment.
We continue running into Mike and fall back into our easy conversational manner. I return from prowling the decks and looking at views to our cabin berth and Krista tells me that Mike has spare automobiles and wants to loan us one for getting around Juneau and to think about it. I had made all our travel arrangements including a car rental previously. Now, who does this or offers such? It seems Mike felt the need to watch over us. As I had already made arrangements with Juneau Car Rental to have a car waiting for us at the terminal I said I would go thru with my arrangements but maybe I could turn the car in early and borrow his car for a couple of days.
We exchange contact information and say our goodbyes and head to the terminal lot. Not finding a car waiting for us I called the agency getting only voicemail. About the same time I received a voicemail from them stating that their new employee who took the reservation had failed to note where we were coming in at and that now it was after hours. About this time we saw Mike drive off in his MGA. I left a message for the B&B manager that we were a little delayed.
About that time Mike came rolling back into the lot and arranged a taxi for us and stood watch over us. Jessica from the B&B texted to say she could come pick us up and we could let the taxi go to someone else. The next morning Mike arrives at our B&B to give us his car and then proceeds to show us Mendenhall Glacier, McCauley Fish Hatchery and a brief lay of the land before we drop him off at his home. This man “stands his watch” and let’s nothing bad happen to those on his watchful care.
You know the phrase “it’s a small world” and in this case it is. Mike vacationed in a nearby island from where I live with his wife back in the 70’s and had recently gone back to see the same place on Guemes Island for sentimental reasons. He found it empty and deteriorating and for sale which made him sad. He is determined to buy it and restore it to its former beauty. I may yet call him my neighbor but I am glad to have been acquainted with this Alaskan!