Coast Guard Cutter Maple completes two major missions in April

SITKA, Alaska - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Maple retrieves the Cape Edgecumbe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Buoy 46084, to perform essential repairs to the buoy to ensure that it properly transmits weather and sea information. The Cape Edgecumbe buoy transmits essential maritime information that is compiled into weather reports and predictions that are heavily depended upon by commercial, private and military mariners. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitchel Frick

 April has been a very busy month for CGC Maple.  In the last month, we have successfully completed two very important aids to navigation missions.  One was a week-long patrol on the Inside Passage to service the buoys and lights Maple is responsible for.  The crew had the big project of building an entire light from scratch.  Air Station Sitka helped out by delivering the parts for the tower.  The tower took all day to build and the crew experienced every type of weather imaginable from hail to sunshine.  After some twists and turns and a few extra deliveries of tools necessary to complete the job, the tower was finished. It now stands as another means of keeping mariners safe as they transit the waterways of Southeast Alaska. 

WINDHAM BAY, Alaska - The Coast Guard Cutter Maple crew built a navigation light in Windham Bay of Stevens Passage April 4, 2011. The Maple is a 225-foot buoy tender homeportd in Sitka, Alaska, and the crews main mission to to maintain aids to navigation like buoys, day boards and navigational lights. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Maple.

During this trip, Maple crewmembers had the opportunity to visit the Baranof Warm Springs.  These springs are located directly east across Baranof Island from the town of Sitka.  There are a few people who live there year round to maintain the boardwalks for those who visit throughout the warmer season.  The crew had a great time exploring the trails and taking a dip in the 80 degree algae-filled pools of water.  Some more adventurous people even took advantage of the opportunity to camp overnight. 

The second big mission that Maple just completed was work to the Cape Edgecombe data buoy which is located 35 miles off the coast of Baranof Island and provides mariners with offshore weather forecasts.  The buoy was retrieved one day, brought back to Sitka for NOAA technicians to service, then returned to its original position within three days.  Luckily there was a break in the weather, keeping the seas at a minimum so we could safely maneuver the nine-ton buoy about Maple’s deck. 

 

WINDHAM BAY, Alaska - The Coast Guard Cutter Maple crew built a aids to navigation light from scratch in Windham Bay south of Stevens Passage April 4, 2011. The 225-foot buoy tender supports aids to navigation and is homeported in Sitka, Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Maple.

This week Maple crewmembers will be going through hazardous materials training, learning about HazMat in general as well as learning how to use our Spilled Oil Recovery System.  This system is used for containment and oil recovery in the event of a marine oil spill.  It proved to be effective during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just last year.  It should be a very informative training and hopefully the crew gains a better understanding about our pollution response mission.

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