Just like that song by Johnny Horton (No, not “Sink the Bismarck”) but as the title says “North to Alaska” which is where my son-in-law Cecil (Father of Jayden, my grandson) has gone to earn his way in life, while having to leave his wife and new son in our care, here in Dinalupihan Bataan. Cecil has a US Passport so entry into Dutch Harbor Unalaska in Alaska poses no problem for him, and his schoolmate had already procured him a job working in the fishing industry (As if there was something else you could do there)
He was worried about the weather and that it would be freezing when he arrived there, so I explained to him that it was June and summertime there. Since he had lived in Jacksonville Florida I told him that summer in Alaska was akin to winter in Jacksonville Florida. That seemed to make him feel better.
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He’ll be working for a wholesale shipping company, shipping fish all over the world. Albeit the pay is less than working on the boats, it’s far and above safer. I was on a special mission ship owned by the US Air Force (Who knew they had ships?) and the fly boy’s needed us to crew the ship for them. The USNS Observation Island T-AGM 23 you can Google it, our job was to sit for three months up by the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka beyond the Arctic Circle and observe. What we were observing is still classified, but you might figure it out by looking at the picture and noting on the stern there is a large unit called Cobra Judy, which is the largest mobile X-Band radar in the world. When the radar was lit off no one could go on deck and every hatch and water tight door was alarmed.
So our ship was there from December thru February and even on a full size ship, we rode seas that would want to make Davy Jones apply for shore duty. So I could not imagine being out in that with only a 70 to 80 foot boat beneath my feet. And that my friend is how I became acquainted with beautiful downtown Dutch Harbor on the Island of Unalaska in Alaska.
So as I told Cecil my wonderful stories of the far North, explaining tundra and permafrost to him. I further explained proper dressing. Layer your clothing, always cover your head. And when you’re working outside or anywhere its freezing, have a spare pair of work boots with extra socks in a warm spot, and change them every hour. Because once your feet get cold, you’re done.
But the truly sad part is that he had to go away from his new family in order to provide for them. He looked for work here, and alas there was none to be found, and besides after earning in the States and Singapore, Cecil was not going to work 6 days a week 12 hours per day to earn next to nothing. Hell, I could have hired him as my driver and paid him more.
But I understand his plight, as during my years at sea I had to leave my family to earn my pay. That was a choice I freely made as I loved my job, and no company on the dirt was going to pay the high salary that a U.S. Merchant Seaman earns. Besides affording me the luxury of being able to live anywhere on the planet and they flew me to and from my home and my job.
Cecil will do fine in his new job. Because he knows why he’s there making that sacrifice, to improve his wife and sons life. He knows that his bride is at home in the Philippines with her folks and will be well cared for. Plus his son Jayden has more unpaid YaYa’s (Baby Helpers) than any baby you’d ever meet.
The truth is, and I hate to be the one to divulge it, and, as a republican, it hurts me to say; “I’m sorry Sara, but you really can’t. see Russia from your front porch. But I could from the main deck of my ship.