>When the MAPLE departed Sitka on August 10, the threatening weather forecast of 11ft seas and 35 knot winds made it seem we would be unable to service our offshore buoys on the patrol. However, with a bit of luck and a break in the clouds, we completed all of our missions and more. MAPLE crewmembers successfully worked seven buoys, eight shore aids, and conducted 12 law enforcement boardings.

The most dangerous evolution of the patrol came at a time when the infamous Alaskan weather reared its ugly head. On the transit to service the Sugarloaf Shoal Buoy, the weather took a turn for the worse. The rain began to fall and the swells rose to 7 feet, making for an extremely difficult ride. Despite the conditions, the MAPLE crew impressively kept their composure and replaced the 9ft by 35ft buoy in the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean. The crew worked meticulously for over six hours to ensure the mission was accomplished accurately and safely.

When we weren’t working aids to navigation or conducting boardings, we were anchored in bays where the water was calm and the fish were biting. The crew enjoyed the downtime and set up their fishing poles in hopes of getting a good catch. Some were luckier than others, as our very own Chief Scott Mooneyham tagged himself a 74”, 215 pound halibut! We also enjoyed a skeet shoot where we could sport our favorite flannel shirts and overalls, and an 80’s night/poker tournament where MK1 Cameron Peterson proved to be the biggest card shark of the group.

The MAPLE is looking forward to returning to homeport and relaxing after a successful but demanding two week patrol.