Wednesday, August 26, 2009

#71 – Port Neville, Owen Bay, Pender Harbor, Vancouver to Anacortes

Our 2009 Alaska Cruise ended today as we docked the boat in Anacortes, Washington. The last leg began five days ago, when with Dick Squire as crew, Wild Blue coasted down the north and east side of Vancouver Island through Broughton and Johnstone Straits and into the calm waters of Port Neville.

The last leg: Port McNeil to Anacortes

Dick guides Wild Blue down Johnstone Strait

Neville is a 7-mile long bay with a small settlement at it's entrance. We anchored the Wild Blue about 1 and ½ miles inside. The wind was up and the skies cloudy but the anchor held.

Looking deep into Port Neville after the wind died.

One of the primary goals on the last leg is to empty the freezer of frozen seafood. Tonight we had halibut with garlic, lemon, Pappys and capers lightly fried in olive oil. Quite tasty per Chef Alex!

On the 23rd we left Port Neville continuing down Johnstone Strait. Just five miles after turning south into Discovery Passage, we turned left into Okisollo Channel, over the top of Okis Islands, avoiding Lower Rapids, then into Owen Bay on Sonora Island for the night. Another calm anchorage has a few year round inhabitant and lots of summer cottages. Ashore after a 2 mil hike, we met a full-time resident who had just returned from fishing and had caught four salmon, each of a different specie! After leftover halibut sandwiches for lunch, that night we had homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

Owen Bay sunset.

On the 24th we exited Owen Bay at 6AM to get the favorable current for the 7+ hour run to Pender Harbor. We want to make Vancouver by the 25th to meet up with Ron and Bonnie on Z-Worthy. This day's long run to Pender puts us just one day away.

Within 10 minutes we are roaring south at 16 knots thanks to the racing current in Upper Rapids. The boat felt pretty stable which gave us the confidence for Surge Narrows coming up in 30 minutes. At the Narrows the water pushed us through with lots of swirls and torrents requiring us to hand steer the boat. Although only 200 feet across at the Narrows, our speed pushed up to just 14 knots.

We passed below Read, Marina, Cortes and Harwood Islands and over the top of Texada Island. Then down the east side of Texada into Pender Harbor. It seemed a longer day when we pulled into Garden Bay inside Pender, about 45 miles north of Vancouver at 2PM. The Garden Bay Pub staff greeted us with glee as times have been a bit slow this year. Hamburgers in the Pub meant no on-board seafood dish, and our freezer still needs emptying.

On the 25th we left Pender with south winds and light rain. Chop and waves splashed across over the boat until we reached Bowen Island and the weather calmed. We entered False Creek for Quayside Marina in Yale Town docking Wild Blue near Z-Worthy and relaxed with a couple Sleeman Honey Brown Lagers. We were soon joined by Barry Ruff a single-handed sailor and old friend of Dick's. Later Bonnie and Ron joined us and we dined at Fishtrap in Vancouver's Yale Town.

It was another early start from Vancouver as Wild Blue headed out for the last day of the 2009 Alaska Cruise. At 6AM the skies and seas were calm. We dodged about ten empty cargo and bulk carrier ships anchored just offshore and headed south along BC's west coast for the International Border.

Looking out under Vancouver's Burrard Bridge on our last day of the 2009 Alaska Cruise.

About 5 miles before the US-Canadian Border near the Tsawwassen Ferry port, we come across hundreds of crab pots and spend a good time dodging their floats. Just at the border off Point Roberts the mass of crab floats ended and we've entered the United States. Dick immediately lowered the Canadian courtesy flag and now only the Flag of USA
flutters aboard.

We called ahead and made arrangements for US Customs inspection at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. After an easy Customs experience we are officially home. We the then motored the boat to it's winter home in Skyline Marina on the other side of Anacortes.

It been another great summer of cruising. Thanks for joining us.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

#70 – Sullivan Bay to Port McNeil

We've decided to move on to Port McNeil while the weather holds. Based on our fog fun of yesterday, we delay our departure until it lifts.

After a calm 3-hour crossing of the Queen Charlotte Strait, we arrived at Port McNeil. McNeil has a neat marina for transient boats and a convenient village with shops, markets, hardware and marine stores. It's also only 10 miles form Port Hardy airport where Pat leaves on Friday.

Malcolm Island Light Station.

The Quadra Queen ties Malcolm and Cormorant Islands to port McNeil.

We now know where all those used tires went.

As we pull into our assigned slip, Len and Vera from Chatham II welcome us and take our lines. It's nice to be greeted by other boaters. We've met these two over the years at various Selene events. They are Canadians and like a warm boat so they have the only Selene 53 we've seen with a corner fireplace. It's toasty!

We'll spend a couple nights here and put Pat on the plane. As she flies out, ace crew Dick Squire arrives to crew Wild Blue down to Anacortes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

#69 – Blunden Harbor to Sullivan Bay

After crossing QC Sound, we have placed the Wild Blue in a good position to easily reach Pat's airport destination in three days. We're only four short hours from Port McNeil and her flight. So now we can relax, spend a day in the Broughton Islands and visit one of our favorites.... Sullivan Bay. Sullivan is a small town on floats that's popular and busy so we want to leave Blunden early to insure we get dock space. We exited Blunden before 9AM, turning into a thick wall of fog.

Our route to Sullivan is a short 3-hour tour southeast along the BC coastline then a left turn into Wells Passage following the Passage to the Bay. Normally the route offers coastal mountain and valley views, but today we can only see about 200 feet around the boat.

Today's route to Sullivan Bay

Running in fog makes everyone tense. We are forced to focus on the radar instead of looking out the window. We use the chart-plotter determine our location as well as follow our pre-plotted route. We planned the route in advance so we know exactly what course to steer. However, each approaching boat has to be managed carefully to avoid collision.

In fog on Wild Blue, the radar is set on the 3-mile range. This means we will see a radar target (another boat, buoy, or object) on the display 3 miles around us. Today we are moving southeast about 1 ½ miles off the BC western shore, so that pretty much eliminates boats coming from the left. Boats coming from behind need to be going greater than our 8-knot speed to catch us, so we're not too worried about them. It's boats coming from directly ahead and to our right that are the problem. Luckily fog keeps most skippers from leaving the dock, but when you're already consumed by the thick stuff, it's as difficult to go back as continue. The crew just needs to adjust and cope with it.

At about 9:20AM a moving target from directly ahead enters the radar display. Most radars have a tracking feature called ARPA which displays the direction and speed of the approaching target. So within a minute, we already know the target is coming at us at 7 knots and his direction looks to be clearing us via a standard “port-to-port” pass, from the left side, just like two cars on the street. This is good since we are approaching each other at 15 knots per hour, 1 mile in 4 minutes, and with the target now at 2 ¾ miles in front of our bow, we know it is 11 minutes away. We turn Wild Blue about 10 degrees to the right increasing the passing cushion distance to about about ¼ mile when we pass. All is going per plan for a standard port-to-port pass: target is holding his course, and we are holding our course. Suddenly at 1 mile distane, all Hell breaks loose!

The August 18th Fog Incident

At this point the target starts rapidly blowing his fog horn, then turns directly towards us. We have less than 4 minutes to react. We need to avoid a collision while not violating the port-to-port crossing rule. Our only choice is to turn right, perpendicular to our course, directly out to sea. He can't possibly reach us so we execute the 90 degree right turn. Over the next three minutes, the target eventually falls behind and resumes his original course, and we resume ours.

What just happened? What happened was that the target boat likely didn't see us on radar until 1-mile away. He was not looking ahead far enough. He wasn't tracking us and couldn't immediately determine our speed and direction, so his instinct was to turn out to sea, directly in our path.

What could we have done differently? Like most human problems, communication is the key. When the boat first appeared on the radar at 3 miles, we should have hailed him, alerting him of our position, and announcing our intention for a safe, port-to-port pass. We didn't hail him simply because we saw him following the correct course for the pass. We assumed he had seen us and was tracking us on his radar. Then when he turned towards us we should have immediately hailed him on the VHF to maintain his original course, or stop his boat. Although we heard his loud fog horn at 1/8 mile distance, we never could see his boat.

Why didn't our AIS system help? Obviously the target boat wasn't broadcasting or receiving AIS or he would have been immediately alerted to our position and could have easily managed a port-to-port pass.

Learning is part of all things and, boy, we did go to school on this incident! Later as we turned into Wells Passage, we had three boats on the display converging upon us. We immediately hailed our position and intent, slowed down, and the others slowed. All boats managed to pass safely, and just after, the fog lifted! We unwound for the next hour on our way to Sullivan Bay, and were quite relieved to be tied to the docks in Sullivan's residential neighborhood.

Later Z-Worthy arrived and the Long Ranger had as well. We planned dinner with these boat crews at the restaurant in Sullivan's downtown district. We're happy to spend the reat of the day recovering from our fog adventures.

Sullivan's residential neighborhood.

Where are we?

The fog has us scared. We're leaving the lights on all night!

Monday, August 17, 2009

#68 – Fury Cove to Blunden Harbor

We're up at 5:30AM and ready to leave within ½ hour. Three of the eight boats have already pulled anchor and left. There's not much daylight so dim pilothouse displays and brilliant outside running lights are the call. The 4AM forecast was for fair weather and calm seas, the best conditions for crossing Queen Charlotte Sound. The Sound is open to the west as far as Japan and seas can be nasty. Today the seas are flat, wind is calm..... we can stow the Dramamine. Wild Blue leads Z-Worthy through the inside route towards Cape Caution.

This is our fourth crossing of QC Sound. Previously we've taken the outside route, crossing in front of Table Island and the many small islets and rocks that dot the coast above Cape Caution. When the weather is rough, the seas are the worst in this area just above the Cape. Today we decide to explore an inside route that could be used when crossing with BIG seas to soften the ride.

From Fury heading south we run close behind Dugout Rocks and James Rocks; across Irving, Radar Passages, and carefully through Cluster Reef; behind Table and Egg Islands in Smith Sound; across Alexandra Passage; and finally behind Denny Rocks. We pop out with a short way to complete the rounding of Cape caution. The route seems a bit calmer than the already calm conditions and our dry run will be put to good use in the future when transiting in rougher conditions.

Our route across Queen Charlotte Sound and Cape Caution to Blunden Harbor

We're around the Cape by 8:30AM and headed southeast along BC's mainland coastline. Bay 11:30 we're abreast of Blunden Harbor and decide to spend the night here. Blunden is a popular anchorage for north and south bound boats and we expect a full anchorage by late this afternoon. Z-Worthy anchors here as well and Ron begins cooking. By the end of the day 10 boats have joined us including Lucky Pup and Long Ranger. Ron invites us to dine on Z-Worthy. We accept.

Ron's fresh Coho row sushi appetizers

Ron's spicy Thai chicken. Yes occasionally we have a non seafood dish too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

#67 - Shearwater to Fury Cove

We needed to start planning for Pat's flight out of Port Hardy on the 21st. Even though a long five days away, we learned the hard way last summer that better planning is needed to accommodate weather induced delays. It all worked out after we opted to transient Queen Charlotte Sound and Strait in storm conditions last summer. The gray hairs added after that “white knuckle” ride nicely blended in with all the others, but we don't need anymore! So our route plan will include time for any storm to pass before we venture out.

Today we'll do a 7-hour motor to Fury Cove, an excellent start point for crossing QC Sound. It's a simple run counter-clockwise from Shearwater around Denny Island. Then a single right turn south into Fisher Channel brings you to Fitz Hugh Sound. At the southern end of the Sound is Fury Cove positioned perfectly for crossing the open waters of the Pacific and QC Sound.

The route from Shearwater to Fury Cove.

We pass lots of traffic: a large BC Ferry followed by Coast Guard escort; two tugs with barges; several commercial fish boats and many sport fishers. Near the end of the day Z-Worthy and Wild Blue drop anchor in Fury Cove with six other boats.

Bonnie of Z-Worthy wants to be like Leah, the ultimate kayaker.

We're now in the best position to cross the open water of QC Sound. We'll go tomorrow if the 4AM weather forecast allows us. Goodnight.

The sun has set on Fury Cove.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

#66 - Klemtu to Shearwater

It's about a 5-hour motor to Shearwater. Shearwater has a dock, small store but no good drinking water. Instead, both Z-Worthy and Wild Blue water up at the Klemtu fuel dock. We awaken a fisherman who has tied his boat up there for the night. It takes Wild Blue about an hour to fill her tanks. At last we're on our way about 9AM. Both boats are keeping a sharp lookout for Leah and her kayak. We are hoping to generate two giant boat wakes to help her ride south.

Our Route from Klemtu to Shearwater.

Cruising down Seaforth Channel about six miles out we come across a pretty Nordhavn 55 named Long Ranger. We've seen the Long Ranger in Sitka, Ketchikan and at Boat Bluff Light House connecting the the wifi. We're running side by side, same speed about a quarter-mile apart, following the boat on the AIS transponder, and admiring the nice lines of this older Nordhavn. Suddenly the VHF comes to life “Wild Blue, Wild Blue Long Ranger calling”. Wayne introduces himself to us and we have a nice chat about our summer cruising.

And so it goes all this summer. We've met quite a few boat people from watching them on AIS, or seeing their boats at several stops along the route. So far we've met Mike from Yachette in Sitka, the Grocery Boy crew in Glacier Bay, Jim from Gael Force with Kodiak in several places, Art and Chris from Lucky Pup, Wayne and Laural from Long Ranger, Len and Vera on Chatham II, and Ron and Bonnie on Z-Worthy. Seems like we should have an association of the 2009 Alaska cruising crowd.

At Shearwater the docks are again full with southbound traffic. We side tie to Z-Worthy and get our dose of AC power for the night, and thankful we don't have to load that brown colored water.

There was no sign of Leah and her kayak. She's obviously on a slower pace and a more close-in coastal route. We wish her fair winds, and large, following seas.

Friday, August 14, 2009

#65 – Emily Carr Inlet to Klemtu

Today we push on in our search for good drinking water. It looks like Klemtu is our best option. We left Emily Carr Cove near 9AM slack tide, retracing our inbound track through the tight entrance. Our stabilizers easily handled the low swell of Caamano Sound. We followed Laredo Channel then Laredo Sound with its ocean swell into Meyers Passage, over the top of Swindle Island, past Boat Bluff lighthouse to the Klemtu Indian Village.

Today's circuitous route to Klemtu

During our cruising we occasionally come across “yaks” and “yakkers” (aka kayaks and kayakers). At cruise speed. Wild Blue's boat wake is large, and its waves could easily topple an unsuspecting yakker. When we see a yak, we typically slow the boat to reduce the wake until we have overtaken them. We also slow down when cruising near smaller boats. Today we meet a yakker who asks us to please speed up!

“Yak” and “yakker” in Meyers Passage

Our route through Meyers Passage was smooth after Laredo Sound's ocean swell. The Passage is an easy motor, except for the one-mile shallow, kelp filled shoal at Meyers Narrows. At low tide, the Narrows had a least depth of 6 feet giving Wild Blue six inches of water below her keel. Fortunately we timed our passage at a higher tide of plus 9 feet and had depth to spare.

Meyers Narrows has kelp and at least 6 feet of depth

After rounding the top of Swindle Island and turning south towards Klemtu, the channel takes us past Boat Bluff lighthouse. Canadian light houses are staffed with a full-time keeper families. Boat Bluff is special because the family that lives there offers free wifi to passing boaters. There's no cell service for many miles, so on a busy summer day, the channel can be crowded with stationary boats connected to the lighthouse's wifi checking email, browsing the net, or like us, making Skype phone calls.

Boat Bluff Lighthouse: Central BC's guiding light to the Internet!

Just three miles south of Boat Bluff we came to Klemtu, a small Indian village of about 500 persons. Klemtu is the home of the Kitasoo and the Xai'xais people. These two tribes live together and are jointly governed. We docked our boats and toured the tribe's new longhouse. The tour was given by a tribal elder named Daniel.

Not many boats visiting Klemtu today. Look closely, there are three boats in this photo.

Our view from the dock of Klemtu's new longhouse.

Nice carvings on the inside.

Klemtu is a friendly Indian Village

Leah Blok next to tribal talking stick, is owner of the 3rd boat docked at Klemtu. She is kayaking from Skagway to Vancouver.

The dock had looked empty but there was a boat already docked there as you can barely see in the above photo. It was a single kayak owned by “yakker” Leah Blok. Leah and her “yak” rode the ferry from Vancouver up to Skagway, Alaska and is kayaking home! She does about 20 to 30 miles a day, depending upon the tides. Unlike others, she likes BIG boat wakes as they are way fun to ride. In the evenings, she sets up camp with a tent, somewhere along the shore. One of her favorites so far was kayaking up to North Sawyer Glacier face in Tracy Arm. To keep her mom informed, she carries a Spot satellite transponder which records her location each day. And what does this young woman do for a living? She is a kayak tour guide, of course.

Bonnie, Ron, Leah, Pat and Alex enjoyed great conversation over spaghetti aboard Wild Blue. We promised Leah we would increase our RPMs creating a BIG wake for her to ride when we see here again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

#64 - Miller Inlet to Hartley Bay, then Emily Carr Inlet

Today we leave the anchorages on Pitt Island hoping to tie to the dock in Hartley Bay. The central part of BC doesn't have great drinking water. The water has tannin, is brown in color and the marinas that offer it have signs that say boil before drinking. Hartley bay is a thriving Indian Village with good water and we want to top off the tanks before heading into “tannin water country”.

The sun has returned and we exited Miller Inlet on the morning slack tide at 7:30AM. We entered Principe Channel on the north side of Banks Island, probably named after Joseph Banks a prominent 1790's supporter of England's exploration. About 9:30AM at the southeastern end of Pitt Island, Ron and Bonnie on Z-Worthy decided to stop and fish. We continued to Hartley Bay to secure moorage and water.

The Canadian Coast Guard Cutter was shadowing BC Ferry Northern Adventure as it passed Gil Island in Wright Sound.

Today's meandering route ending at Emily Carr Inlet.

We passed over the northern end of Gil Island, crossing Wright Sound nearing Hartley Bay just after noon. Two motor vessels were slowly entering Hartley just ahead of us. The lead boat was Gael Force with Jim at the helm. Jim and I have been exchanging emails earlier this year about cruising Alaska. We spoke briefly over the VHF as they left Prince Rupert on Monday. After he entered the marina, I called Jim on the VHF to ask about dock space and he reported that none remained. Turns out Gael Force, a Fleming 55, was towing Kodiak, a Grand Banks 59, who had just lost their hydraulic pump, which powers the windlass, thrusters and stabilizers. By the way, Jim has an awesome Alaska Blog with many photos here.

So with no room at Hartley bay, we had to find a nearby anchorage and notify our buddy boat Z-Worthy of the change in plan. After repeated VHF calls to Z-Worthy, we realized the islands blocked our transmission. So we decided to continue on to Emily Carr Inlet on the west side of Princess Royal Island. Emily Carr was our original destination before we started getting worried about the water supply.

As we motored out of Whale Passage and into Caamano Sound we were able to raise Z-Worthy and informed them of the new anchorage plan. They reported having caught many salmon which we they later restocked a good portion in Wild Blue's freezer.

Emily Carr was not a person of Captain Vancouver's era and it's nice to find a place named after a contemporary Canadian. Carr was the famous and revered 1910-1940's artist who's work depicted the remote villages of the northwest coast. She used her art to document the sculptural and artistic legacy of the aboriginal people that she encountered. And beyond that, her namesake Cove is difficult to enter.

The chart shows the Inlet and the Cove.

The one-boatwidth, skinny entrance to Emily Carr Cove.

Pat put on the headphones, parked herself on the bow, and talked Alex through the entrance. The water was dark and the forward looking sonar helped us avoid the rocks. Large bull kelp obstructs the entrance and usually means shallow rocks so we keep alert and focused on the sonar and depth sounder. Yard-by-yard we made our way into a beautiful anchorage, arguably the prettiest anchorage in all our cruising.

Emily Carr Cove is our number one anchorage recommendation.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

#63 - Captain Cove to Miller Inlet

Today we'll move further down the west coast of Pitt Island to Miller Inlet. It's just overcast and the rain has stopped. There's liitle wind or waves in these protected waters.

Our Route to Miller Inlet

We arrived at the Inlet eager for the challenge of it's narrow entrance. The entrance is also shallow with several rocks that are clearly charted. It has an outer and inner anchorage, separated by yet another narrow passage.

Miller Inlet does have some challenges.

The entrance is shallow and narrow.

The Inlet was probably named after some midshipman sailing with Captain Vancouver. Midshipman Miller must have been a cool, calm man because the Inlet sure is. We chose the inner anchorage and enjoyed total quiet and calm. Even the VHF, TV, and radio couldn't get any signals here. Both Z-Worthy and Wild Blue were surrounded trees and rock walls in the land-locked inner anchorage.

At anchor in tranquil Miller Inlet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#62 - Prince Rupert to Captain Cove, Pitt Island

It's stayed rainy but the winds have diminished and we're ready move on down the Inside Passage. In Prince Rupert we enjoyed dining out at Smiles and wifi-ing at the Crest Hotel bar. It's free, although we feel obligated to purchase a drink, or two, or three. Blogging seems to go faster in the Crest bar. As usual the moorage at the PR Rowing and Yacht Club was full, so we stayed at Fairview Marina next to the giant container loading apparatus. Hey, any port in a storm.

Pat and I have been cruising with guests for the last two months. Now we get to cruise by ourselves for two weeks. It's kinda nice, although it's probably a good thing those dishes are Corelle. We've learned Corelle won't break when the seas get rough, and they don't break when you throw them either! Just joking......

Sunday, as we headed for Venn Passage on the way into Prince Rupert harbor, we noticed another Selene approaching. The Selene's are easy to discern with their large forward slanting pilothouse windows, but identifying the particular model can be a challenge. So Pat and I discussed which particular Selene model this boat was, without the need for Corelle projectiles! Later we met the owners Ron and Bonny Zuckerman of Seattle. Their “Z-Worthy” is a Selene 48 model. After sharing a taxi to town, we arranged to buddy boat for awhile down the Inside Passage. Ron has a great Blog with awesome photos. Check out

Fairview Marina had vacant dock space as the fishing fleet was out.

Our route today takes us past the mighty Skeena river to the start of Grenville Channel. Grenville is the long, straight passage along the east side of Pitt Island and most the direct route south. It is busy and we've cruised it twice. Instead of Grenville, today we'll jog seaward down Odgen Channel then south along Petrel Channel and the west side of Pitt Island. We spend the night in Captain's Cove on Pitt Island.

Our route to Captain Cove on Pitt Island

Let's check our history. Pitt Island was named after Thomas Pitt who was a mid-shipman under Captain Vancouver who explored Puget Sound to Alaska in the 1790's and was responsible for all the English names. Captain Vancouver had previously ordered Pitt flogged for petty theft, a minor offense, which enraged the crew and other officers. The crew lost respect for Vancouver, and later when word reached England, so did the English people. The event tainted Vancouver's career. Later Thomas Pitt went on to commit murder but was spared punishment. So now you know.
We anchored along with six other boats in the Cove. They must all be Captain Vancouver history buffs.

Z-Worthy in Captain Cove

Wild Blue in the Captain Cove taken by Ron at sunset nice. Nice job!

Food becomes a central part of our cruising, especially when we are away from towns with restaurants. This year we've had memorable delicacies from all over the world prepared by guest chefs: among them are Mexican prawn burritos, Italian pasta carbonara, Thai bamboo root halibut, and English toast soldiers. Tonight we dined aboard Z-Worthy for yet another epicurean foreign feast of fresh Japanese sushi.

Ocean fresh sushi prepared by chef Ron of Z-Worthy

Beautiful California Roll

Another crab roll

Sunday, August 9, 2009

#61 - Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, BC

The storms continued but early Sunday morning, we found a 10-hour break and zoomed to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.This was the flattest ocean of all our Dixon Entrance crossings. Although it took 9-hours of motoring, we helped ourselves by timing the transit at Dixon Entrance's slack tidal current. We hit it spot on. Just as we arrived and tied to the dock, the wind zoomed upon us at 30+ knots. Thank you wind gods.

Once again these Canadians let us into their country without passports or inspection. We'll stay here until Tuesday and start back down British Columbia's portion of the Inside Passage.

Have a great week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

#60 - Saltery Cove to Ketchikan

It's a simple due east run across Clarence Strait to the northern end Tongrass Narrows and then south to Ketchikan. After just 3 hours, we're reentering civilization: noise, cars, tugs, yachts, ships and planes.

Pat makes fresh-baked cinnamon rolls to help us deal with civilization again.

Planes, trains, boats and automobiles: They all make noise.

Even the salmon along Ketchikan's Creek Walk are crowding into town, to the delight of local fishermen.

Once in Ketchikan, we become tourists just like everyone else and buy, buy buy! "What ship are you from?" they ask. "The good ship Wild Blue," we respond. After gifts, supplies and $2000 worth of diesel, we are one of their favorite customers!

This T-shirt says it all!

We will be playing in Ketchikan for several days. After 18 days of sunshine and mild temperatures, the wind, clouds and rain have returned. We'll let Peter and Jinx return to the civilization of Los Angeles. Pat and I will be continuing onto Prince Rupert, just as soon as the weather improves, most likely Sunday or Monday. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

#59 - Lyman Cove to Kasaan, then Saltery Cove on Prince of Wales Island

After a night of peace and quiet, like most at anchor, we head around around Kasaan Peninsula into Kasaan Bay then to the town of Kasaan. At Kasaan we'll check out a forest trail with totem poles and wildlife. Then we'll move onto Saltery Cove, a covenient anchorage spot near Ketchikan, tommorrow's destination.

Our route into Kasaan and Saltery Cove

Low tide on our exit from Lyman Cove keeps un on our toes. A crew on the bow with headsets helps us avoid the bumps.

We have an easy motor around the Prince of Wales Island coast up into the Bay. We dock at Kasaan's free public facilities. Then we leave the boat for a hike through the woods, just like Little Red Riding Hood. Kasaan is a tiny town of say 50 persons, well off the tourism path. The trail takes us through the front yards of the local residences. As we walk through a boardwalk and skinny paths we come across a nice man who said he moved here 17 years ago, a fisherman from San Francisco. He loves it and we can see why!

The Kasaan boardwalk eventually becomes a trail.

The trail leads us through the thick forest.

Wildlife is near and not bothered by our trekking.

The trail leads past several Haidi totem poles.

At trail end we find a assembly hall but using the same construction techniques as a Haida longhouse.

Inside we examine the meeting facility.

After our hike we lunched and headed for Saltery Cove. In the 1920's before ice, fish was perserved by drying and salting. In those days a fish saltery plant operated in the Cove. Today besides being a good anchorage, the Cove hosts several waterfront homes and a busy fishing lodge.

On our way to Saltery Cove we came across an island of seals.

The Lodge at Saltery Cove.

Photographs are an important part of any Blog. As a bonifide rank amateur photographer, we're not so good at photoing wildlife in the wild. We need wildlife inducements, incentives and props to get the great shot. One way is to offer bait to your photo subject. Sometimes it works.

"Synchronized dancing herring on float" has been known to attract the Alaskan Eagle species. Just focus on the dancers and wait for the eagles to swoop down on the attack. We're still waiting.