Wednesday, June 17, 2009

#20 - Prince of Wales Island, Kassa Inlet to Hydaburg to Hole-in-the-Wall

At 7AM we pulled anchor and motored over to our prawn trap. Bill worked Wild Blue's foredeck and retrieved the 400 foot line and trap hand-over-hand. After his workout, we admired about 35 medium-sized prawns. Our prawn preparation involves twisting each live prawn's head and removing it in one swift motion, and Bill excelled at this task, probably drawing on his many experiences in business management.

Bill Gets a Workout on the Foredeck

Today's Route to Hydaburg then Hole-in-the-Wall

As Karen prepared prawns for tonight's pasta, we continued on a westerly course bound for Hydaburg, a small Haida Indian village on POW Island's southwest coast. We turned into Sukkwan Strait and arrived in the village marina mid-morning.

Hydaburg Marina and Haida Village

After securing the boat we began a stroll through the village to the center where a series of Totem Poles have been preserved. Last year we learned the Haidas of the Queen Charlotte Islands are Ravens. (see for more Haida information from our 2008 Cruise). The Haidas of Hydaburg are Eagles and they take great pride in conserving their poles. We visited with a resident who along with many other Haida woodworkers, carved replacement poles.

Hydaburg Pole Carver

Old Pole with New Replacement Pole Carved to Match

The crew this week from Ketchikan to Kake, are friends Karen and Bill Almas of San Luis Obispo. Bill is a executive with Chevron Land and Development, and Karen is affiliated with US Postal Service. Karen, a trained biologist, also volunteers with Cambria's elephant seal colony, and Bill has his degree in Forestry. As you might expect, these two are intrigued with the flora and fauna of Alaska, and any eagle, bear, moose or hemlock tree, will not slip by unnoticed. Both are experienced cruisers, having previously crewed on Wild Blue to BC's Princess Louisa Inlet.

Karen and Bill Almas, with Pat in Hydaburg, Alaska

In mid-afternoon, we departed for Hole-in-the-Wall anchorage. Actually there are many Alaskan anchorages named “Hole-in-the-Wall” and all have the same characteristic: a narrow, shallow entrance that opens to a quiet, bowl-shaped anchorage. Today's Hole-in-the-Wall is located on the west side of Dall Island, just inside Diver Bay. We endured a few ocean swells rolling in from the Gulf of Alaska, once we squeezed through the narrow entrance, calm prevailed.

Hole-in-the-Wall Anchorage has Gulf of Alaska ocean swells outside, with tranquility on the inside.

Wow! What an awesome setting, and we celebrated a wonderful day in Alaska with a hearty Alaskan dinner: Stephen's Pinot Noir (Edna Valley), fresh Wild Blue grown lettuce and herb salad, BBQ Alaskan salmon, BBQ Willie Bird duck breast, and freshly harvested Alaskan prawns, garlic sautéed over pasta. Amazing!

Dinner Celebration

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