Brittney Van Sandt is the great niece of Ellen and Frank Hall, my Goodland neighbors. Brittney, who lives in Homer, Alaska, completed Culinary School in Anchorage and then came to Tampa to take the required safety and seamanship course for tugboat crews. During her visit to Goodland, she told me, “I will be purchasing provisions, planning menus, and cooking three meals a day, plus a snack for a crew of ten.” Each ‘hitch’ (time aboard the boat) is six weeks long. By the time I arrived in Homer in late May, she had already been hired, done her ten-day trial hitch, and was home for a few weeks. We chatted about Brittney’s first adventure aboard her
Brittney with her halibut. Photos by Joanie Fuller
207 foot tugboat Endurance. It sails from Valdez Harbor into Prince William Sound, assisting tankers and providing escort services, and is strategically located to conduct oil spill response operations.
On her first hitch, Brittney “wanted to make meat loaf for dinner. Of course, I knew how, but I wanted it to be special, so I called my mother to ask her details about her recipe.” Unfortunately, one of the crew overheard her and hollered, “I thought you went to cooking school, girl!” What could Brittney do now? Be thankful for her mother and satellite phones, grab that “can do” attitude, and make a great dinner.
On her first six-week hitch, she fished for halibut right off the tugboat. Maybe she’ll make halibut for dinner with her own recipe this time.