The ice went out May 18th, a few weeks earlier than typical the last few years, but later than 2008. The winter was warm and mild, as it often is when the L-48 has a harsh one.
The first barges have arrived, only a couple new dredges appeared to be on them. There is a distinct lack of activity around the harbor grounds and few dredges in the water. There are many dredges and surf crawlers that have not been touched this year, some were not touched last year either. The 10″ dredge fleet is mostly back in the water and working. The Eroica started mining yesterday, the AuGrabber has splashed in, the Christine Rose is tented in dry dock getting it’s hull painted, I didn’t notice any of the other ones from the TV show but I don’t know all their names.
Us and a couple of the larger commercial dredges are in the water and working, another just got in yesterday but are not working yet. One new one showed up, and word is that perhaps two more are on their way. All the others are diggers. Word is a couple more rov-style crawlers have undergone redesign and will be back this year; I won’t classify them as commercial since they are so small.
It appears that the gold rush is over.
Harbor fees have gone up again; we paid almost $5k for our dredge and two skiffs. Lucas, the new harbor master is very good. One of his workers, a new harbor assistant needs some training in customer relations; like all new people who think they are “authority figures” he will learn that he works for us, or he will be gone.
The weather has been mostly wet and cold. I see a couple tents on the beach, but it’s hard to tell with binos from an anchored boat two miles away.
A few government/retired government busy bodies in Nome complain about the “miners” in the letters to the editor and general whining; as if all the problems of this place were caused by 200 seasonal workers and not the poor policies they have enacted nor the 30 chronic inebriates that account for a huge portion of the city’s budget.
I don’t know where everyone else is, are they coming late or not coming? I’ve only seen a few new people so far.