North West Passage – Days 44 and 45 – Nome, Alaska

16th September 2023  – Day 44 – Nome


We arrived in Nome at about 21:00. (Population 3,500)The downwind sail became a tad exciting as we approached the harbour entrance. It was hard to hold the course without gybing but we managed to get close to the entrance only to find a tug with a massive barge in tow was heading the same way. We radioed him and he confirmed that he would anchor off and we were ok to proceed. It looked borderline to sail into the harbour and drop the sails on flat water as we would have had the wind on the beam. As the water was shallow to the port side we decided to gybe around to the starboard. The wind was quite strong and with Arthur and Will sheeting in as fast as they could as we went through the wind, somehow a rope got loose and streamed out around Will’s legs causing some alarm but luckily not too much harm. With the sail doused we entered the harbour and we’re welcomed by a friendly French roughty-toughty yacht called Que Sera.

Que Sera (far end on the right) moored amongst the ubiquitous aluminium workboats

They gave us the vital local knowledge that we desperately needed “Where is the nearest bar!” and they also left four beers so that we could celebrate our arrival – which we did!

17th September 2023 – Day 46


Nome is a whacky place. It is an old gold rush town and they still pan for gold from rafts with suction pumps.

Nome in the Gold Rush days!
Here is a small gold mining dredger. They anchor the rafts and dive in suits heated with warm water and suck up the seabed with massive pumps. They reckon on finding one ounce of gold every hour, or $1,900 per hour. That is a good return, but an almighty hard way to earn it.
Here is a splendid truck with a massive ramshackle dredge raft behind it. It has two powerful new looking outboards. It is for sale so if you fancy gold prospecting why not make an offer?
Although the raft looked pretty ramshackle, the motors looked in fine fettle
Another view of that truck!
…and yet another great old truck. This place is full of them!

We spent Sunday preparing the boat for it’s long cold and snowy winter ashore. We are still not certain when the boat will be hauled out so we can’t book return flights just yet. Another day should see the majority of tasks wrapped up. Hopefully we will get some time to explore the place before heading home.

4 responses to “North West Passage – Days 44 and 45 – Nome, Alaska”

  1. Well done, what an adventure! Please post some charts and maps as well if you can…

    I was in Titchmarsh marina over the weekend, moored just opposite Sumara. She looked beautiful and impatient to see you again…

    1. Hi Matteo, Great hear Sumara is still afloat! I’ll sort out the charts and pictures as soon as I return. I’m sailing to Ipswich on 3rd October, meeting with a few other boats, if you are around why not join us. Regards Alasdair

  2. Well Alasdair, that was some voyage. If you don’t watch out you may join the band of great British explorers – except you appear to be more successful than most. It’s been exciting reading. I’m looking forward to your updated version. Do keep me informed.
    Hope to see you at the Ipswich DWC. Should be a bit warmer there.

    1. That’s true, to be real explorer you really need to sink a ship ( or ideally two) and fail to reach the destination. I will try harder next time! At Anchorage airport heading for Vancouver then home so I will be at the Ipswich meet! See you there.

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