“Look! We’ve spotted our first bear!” Dad joked as George greeted us coming off of the float plane.
George had a welded metal houseboat docked on the backside of the harbor just out of sight from Tom’s. It was painted in camouflage as well which made it very difficult to spot.
An entire story can be written on the whimsical character, Tom. I still don’t know his last name, and I have a feeling he’d prefer it that way. Alaska certainly seems to be the ideal place to go if you’re in the market to not be found.
I imagine George had struck a deal with Tom. If Tom would watch his houseboat and make sure it wasn’t messed with then George would let him peddle his handmade jewelry and whatnots to whomever George brought up there.
The houseboat George kept tucked around the corner behind Tom’s was also very safe. It had one specific requirement and that was it had to be bear-proof. A welded and riveted camouflage painted barge with a low pitched roof that slightly covered the front to give it somewhat of a deck, It was not a seafaring vessel rather it was constructed and deliberately towed to its location.
The houseboat was easily the most comfortable place we stayed the whole time we were there, and yes that includes the Stikine Inn in Wrangell. It was sturdy and had four bunk beds in it with foam mattresses. My dad always joked that it was the Hilton of Southeast Alaska. Certainly 3-stars by any reasonable person’s standards.
Staying overnight at the houseboat was required in order to make the journey in George’s small aluminum boat to East Yahtam the next day. The trip isn’t easy and required the right amount of planning.