Time Warp Tuesday: Berth Buddies

I admit, I wasn’t prepared for TWT this week. We had a busy weekend and I’m supposed to be cleaning my so-called craft room (it’s really the former patio, enclosed as an open extension of the  family-room-turned-dining-room). The craft room can’t be closed off visually, and I’m failing at hiding my mess behind plants — plus I should be using this space, not using it as a storage place.  Not that I have the entire room to myself: I share it with the keyboard (because who moves multiple times with a piano? Not us!), the computer desk, the pellet stove, and everyone who passes through to the deck.  As I said, I’m supposed to be cleaning up my craft room, but I’m obviously not cleaning, since I’m tapping away here on my keyboard.  (See how I brought that whole rabbit trail paragraph back around to the beginning?)


With no plans set for today’s post, I thought about skipping it, but that seemed like a slippery slope. And then KCINNOTX saved me by e-mailing me a couple of photos over the weekend!  (Thanks, BB!)  The pictures capture a memorable time in our lives; they also show how my brother and I, with nearly matching haircuts and only a year apart in age, could be mistaken for each other from across the street. (You’ll have to take my word for it, since I don’t have his permission to post a photo of him!)

Kare at age 15, on open water, and trying to not be seasick

Karen at age 15, on open water, and trying to not be seasick

In the summer of 1981, our high school youth group completed a year of earning and saving money which culminated in a 2-week-long mission trip to Southeast Alaska. The first week was spent on the MV Anna Jackman, nicknamed the Presbyterian Navy, a 65-foot-long marine vessel used for taking groups to remote villages where we put on musical entertainment and a gospel message. I honestly don’t know if anyone paid attention to the message, but I suspect they appreciated any entertainment they could get! Some of those logging camps were really remote, and this was in the days before WiFi, Internet, and Cable TV. We were the only entertainment available, and folks showed up to hear us sing and perform skits. We would disembark, stretch our legs, the locals would gather, and we would perform. Our time on land might include seeing something special about the place we were visiting (touring the logging camp, or visiting the town dump at sunset to watch the bears) but before long, we’d go back to the boat and head for the next village.

KCINNOTX took this picture of me journaling on the berth that she and I shared.

KCINNOTX took this picture of me journaling on the berth that she and I shared.  It was a really small space for 2 people.

There were 28 of us on board. KCINNOTX and I shared a berth below deck.

After a week of living on the boat, we spent a week working on projects at a small college in Sitka, Alaska (the first day of which most of us walked around like drunken sailors… or like people who had just spent a week walking on a rocking, rolling, moving boat).  

That was 32 years ago. Wow.
I’ve been thinking it would be really wonderful to go back to Alaska. My husband has never been there and neither have the kids. A trip up north needs to be placed firmly on the ol’ Life List!


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.


12 thoughts on “Time Warp Tuesday: Berth Buddies

  1. As if it wasn’t cramped enough with two people in that berth, I recall that we had to also keep our gargantuan duffel bags up there at night so nobody else would trip on them in the dark on their way to the one and only toilet on that boat! Add that to the fact that there was nowhere to shower/bathe on the boat itself, a dozen+ teenagers, four adult chaperones and the crew – wow – I think I’m glad I can’t recall the odors that must have been brewing below deck. That first week on the boat we got ONE bath at one of our stops that had natural mineral spring baths. We smelled a bit like sulphur afterward, but it must have been an improvement over what we smelled like before! Gah…

    • The MV Anna Jackman: where teens learned the wonderfulness of dry shampoo!

      The smells must have been getting to me by the end of the week, because I spent quite a bit of time getting fresh air out on the deck. Of course, that was what kept me from “technicolor yawns” when we hit choppy water, too. I’d rather be covered in salt spray than my own spray…
      I’m going to quietly go drink some coffee now before I say anything else I might regret later!!

  2. like sleeping in a small and crowded and moving closet! Gosh, Alaska is just right near your home now, you’ll have a great trip!

  3. And THANK GOD your brother didn’t come down with the stomach flu until AFTER we got off the boat for good in Sitka!! Just sayin’…could have been worse below deck!!

  4. That was a great adventure. About your craft room — I had to clean up mine so a guest could sleep there. I stuffed everything I could into the closet! As long as no one opens the closet, it’s OK!

  5. Okay, this is just SPOOKY! I wrote about my similar mission adventure today, too! But living in a boat–how romantic! But I fear I’d get claustrophobic in such cramped spaces.

  6. Wow, this is so cool. I am writing a book about that boat. The Anna Jackman is still on the water in Alaska. It is now called the Discovery, owned by Dean Rand and he takes groups on week-long cruises in Prince William sound. My husband and I went on board two years ago. My uncle lived on the boat as a Presbyterian minister in the 1960s. Would love to speak to you more about your experience on the boat.

    • Thanks for commenting! My friend who sent the pictures to me also sent the link to the boat’s new life/website. It looks like a fascinating vacation, especially for a photographer. I’ll be sending you an e-mail soon.

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