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Fire at sea!!

Location: Inian Islands, Icy Strait, southeast Alaska
Fire at sea but no, it definitely wasn’t on the Nautilus Explorer!!  Dive day #1 of our last Alaska trip of the season saw us at anchor in the Inian Islands  – one of our favourite sites in southeast Alaska.  Sure, the scuba diving is fantastic here but the richness of life topside is equally impressive with loads of humpback whales, stellar sealions, bald eagles, sea otters and fishboats on fire.   Yup, we had just wrapped our last dive of the day when we spotted a 40 foot salmon troller drifting through south Inian pass with heavy plumes of smoke billowing out of the windows, the smokestack and all the vents.  CRAP!!    You could barely see the fishboat for the smoke.   We grabbed our fire fighting gear  (as a SOLAS passenger ship, the Nautilus Explorer is fully equipped with turn-out gear, SCBA’s, emergency breathing apparatus, etc.), jumped into dive skiff Inde and tore over there at 45 knots (80 kmh).   Luckily we were able to contain the fire, tow the fishboat into nearby Elfin Cove and then re-enter the ship with shoreside fire hoses and extinguish the engine room fire.  To be honest, it was pretty neat (athough hot and sweaty as heck) to be in full gear, crawling through the smoke in someone else’s ship and putting a fire out.    Just like the old days at the fire training academy!!   The owner had a full load of beautiful spring/king salmon onboard but I didn’t have the heart to ask him if he was going to be able to sell the load as “smoked salmon”.    Poor guy didn’t have insurance and we felt very badly for him and tried to minimize fire fighting damage.   We’ll see what tomorrow holds!!!!   Captain Mike
Weather: Foggy and misty in the morning but clear in the afternoon with gorgeous blue skies.   Calm winds and seas with a low swell from the west.
Water: Water temperature 46F, 10 foot visibility on the warmup dive, 20 foot plus on the second dive (Wall of Life).

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