Holy Cross is the first Yupik Eskimo village we come to and was named by the Catholic missionaries that set up a church there. On the bank I met David Whitley an elder on the tribal council who gave me a tour of the village from the back of his four wheeler. Apparently Wyatt Earp came through town here on his way through to opening a casino in Nome. We stopped by the Deloycheet Tribal Center for a coffee and I watched as a woman made spaghetti and meat sauce lunches for the elders in the nice big kitchen there. The week before they had the big Ganakanaga (sp?) in town where over 100 leaders from all the villages come by boat so that they almost ran out of fuel in town and had to ration. David said that his grandfather was adopted out of the village years ago to a family in San Francisco but had moved back to the village as a young man and he told me of the first time that he saw a ghost. He was ten and they were staying in a room beside the post office when he climbed up on some boxes and saw over the wall a smoky figure standing in front of the postal boxes. Just like a puff of smoke he dissipated into the air. Spooky.
When I got back to the boat Jeff was trying to sell the whole rig to Ronny Dimentoff and though he didn't buy it, we have our For Sale sign taped to the front now.
The afternoon was sunny and beautiful and we slowed to talk to a family at a fish camp, drifting by and having a quick chat and a laugh. Twenty minutes later the man, Bergen I think he said his name was, or Virgil, came up from behind and pulled alongside so that he could give us a bag of his smoked salmon. We drifted side by side and traded him some hard salami along with some chocolate and candy for the fish. Soon we were in the mud along the shore and pushed off to go our separate ways.
"Good trade, good trade!", he said a couple times, he was a crack up.
Two miles outside of Russian Mission we found a creek that lead off the main channel and into a small clear and deep lake. We motored in slowly not knowing the depth and in the narrow channel passed two small camps with fish drying on wooded racks, smoke coming from old tin covered smokers, and kids playing in the evening light. Right now we are tied to a cottonwood tree that sits on the shore of the lake and a beaver is swimming in circles behind us. Another nice place for the night.