The family goes on a fabulous Alaskan cruise. But far from being interested in seaplane tours, jumping whales, and seals basking on ice floes bathed in the glow of sunset, Grandmum has one thought -- and one though only: finding and purchasing a ulu.
What exactly is a ‘ulu’ and why does Grandmum want one so badly?
The hour’s boat trip from Ketchikan harbor to Somewhere Further Down The Alaskan Coast was uneventful, apart from Grandmum’s objection to being asked her weight when boarding the small vessel.
“What do you need to know that for?” she asked indignantly. “Think I’m going to sink the boat?”
Used to such reactions, the lady recording our respective poundage replied, “It’s for the seaplanes, ma’am.” We were rendezvousing with nautical aircraft for a return flight to Ketchikan. “We need to ensure we balance them properly.”
There was no arguing with that. Glancing back to make sure no one was listening, Grandmum leaned forwards and confided the awful truth. The lady promptly wrote it down where the passengers behind my mother-in-law could view it while divulging their own statistics.
Grandmum sighed at her wasted effort, whereupon my husband Grant said loudly, “Mom, you’ll need a seaplane all to yourself!”
She twisted around and whacked him on the arm with her large purse. I punched him in the ribs. My eleven year old son, Russ, shouted “Be nice to Grandmum!”
Thus began our family vacation.