Trek to Washington

Sunday August 2, Day 1- we departed Metlakatla by 7:20am, without going ashore and exploring the village. Goodbye Alaska so sad to depart, what a wonderful adventure it was, June 17-August 2, 2020.

Metlakatla

The route, head south down the Clarence Strait to US / Canada border. South down the Hecate Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait, taking Vancouver Island on the Pacific side to the Strait of Juan De Fuca, to Port Angeles.

At 12:39pm Alaskan time, we entered Canada.

For dinner I made shrimp with rice. The cooked leftover shrimp was marinated 1/2 day in a ziplock bag, 1/3c honey, 1/4c soy sauce with about a tablespoon of jared garlic. I also added to mix 1 celery stalk sliced, 2 slices of onion diced, 3 small peppers cut in ring slices and maybe a dozen cherry tomatoes halved. Cooked white rice as directed, then dumped the contents of the bag into the cooked rice. Yummy!

Another gray overcast evening, no sunrise or sunset to watch.

Monday August 3, Day 2- Happy 4th Birthday Max!

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole for breakfast, a boat favorite.

10:45AM PST fly by small military/police/coast guard looking jet, O’ Canada is watching.

It was a beam reach sail all day 10-15 knots we were cruising at 7 knots speed over ground most of the day. Towards sunset the winds lightened quite a bit.

For dinner One-Pot Ham and Veggie Pasta.

Tuesday August 4, Day 3- cruising the Pacific side of Vancouver Island. The wind was light all day, we had our Code 65 sail up for several hours till our boat speed dropped below 2 knots. The sun was shining with blue skies, the only clouds were those that hung over the Island.

For dinner I made Smoked Sockeye Salmon with rice.

Wednesday August 5, Day 4- After rounding Brooks Peninsula, on Victoria Island, the winds were 20 knots true at 270, we sailing 7 knots, speed over ground.

For dinner I made pasta with smoked sockeye salmon, raw celery, onion and peppers, tossed in a spiced olive oil sauce.

It’s a foggy, gray, misty evening, no sunset or moon rise to watch.

Thursday August 6, Day 5- Port Angeles, Washington. We arrived close to 9:00am. I checked us in to the USA via the CBP Roam App. Technically we didn’t have to as we didn’t stop in Canada, the customs officer stated, because of Covid it probably won’t hurt in case Canada inquires about us.

For dinner went back to the Next Door Gastropub for takeout.


Port Angeles, Washington is a small seaside town on the Strait of Juan De Fuca is known for whale watching, outdoor adventures and its proximity to the Olympic National Park. Throughout downtown you will find wonderful restaurants, coffee bars as well as several modern art sculptures.

Near the marina is the Olympic Discovery Trail is a 8.4 mile waterfront paved trail accessible year round. There are several markers with historical information throughout.

Ketchikan

Tuesday July 28- laundry and food shopping day as well as a trip to the Post Office. We met several boaters on our dock, spent a lot of the day socializing (with distance).

Wednesday July 29- the boat was moved to the City Dock, from Bar Harbor, it’s closer to downtown Ketchikan. Our 5 miles of walking the historic district would have been over 10 miles. Many establishments were closed or out of business, there were a bars and restaurants open. It was the nicest weather day so far, sunny, blue sky in the mid 70’s.

Ketchikan sits at the southernmost entrance to the Alaskan Inside Passage – a network of waterways that wind through islands and beautiful wilderness. Known as the the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan is also famous for its scenery and Alaskan Native culture.

Tlingit tribe were first settlers to the area. In 1885 European explorers founded salmon canneries and a trading post. By the end of the century with the influx of miners, hunters, fishermen and loggers, Ketchikan developed as a “Wild West” frontier town. At the start of the 19th-century it was known as ‘Alaska’s wickedest city, focused on Creek Street, a boardwalk with houses built on stilts above the Ketchikan Creek. During prohibition it was the place to go for a drink of smuggled Canadian whiskey, prostitutes and backroom saloons. Today the houses are shops, galleries and restaurants.

Thursday July 30- we departed Ketchikan around 9:00am, headed southeast to Behm Canal, part of Misty Fjords National Monument, New Eddystone Rock, pillar of basalt, a volcanic remnant, projects 237 ft from the sea near the entrance.

In the late 1960s, members of the Mountaineering Association hiked this backcountry. The timber harvest was spreading southeast, this area was not on the Forrest Services exempt map. They formed the Tongass Conservation Society and fought to set aside this over 2 million acres of glacier carved valleys, waterfall-slicked granite cliffs and alpine highlands. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter created the Misty Fjords National Monument, later to be made an irrevocable wilderness status by Congress.

We motored up Rudyard Bay, an inlet off Behm Canal, said to be the most scenic section. It did not disappoint! Just past sunset, picked up the mooring ball in Punchbowl Cove.

Friday July 31- The drone was flying this morning, it’s height limit set at 400ft, not enough see over the mountain next to us at 3110 ft.

We departed the cove around 10am, when then drones 2 batteries were exhausted.

Heading back down the Canal, for awhile we were sailing over 8 knots with 29 knots true wind off our starboard stern quarter, 343 true wind direction. We rounded the corner and the wind lightened. As we approached Metlakatla (met-la- KAT-la), where we stayed for two days waiting for a weather window, the wind was back over 20 knots.

Saturday August 1- Here in Metlakatla, we were told not to get off the boat unless we take a Covid test, coincidently we took one three days prior in Ketchikan. They were administrating free test near the dock, drive and walk up, so the three of us did. There are no reported cases of Covid here in this village, still waiting for test results. Joe owner of f/v Ocean Harvester gave us 6 lbs of Prawns and 2 lbs of Halibut, and Vance, crew on f/v Jaci Grace brought us 2.5 lbs of smoked Sockeye Salmon Strips.

Metlakatla is the only Indian Reservation in Alaska.

For dinner I cooked shrimp with rice on the side. Just as we’re about to start dinner, Joe stopped by with 6 skewers of just cooked barbecue shrimp! Thanks Joe for the wonderful seafood!

Anan Bay

Sunday July 26- “On the road again”, left the intimate city of Wrangell by 7:30am. Destination Anna Bay to visit the Wildlife Observatory. We arrived shortly before 11:30am, departed around 4:30pm for Meyers Chuck, we arrived there around 10pm.

Anan Creek has the largest pink salmon run in Southeast Alaska, attracting large numbers of black and brown bears during July and August. The observation platform and photo blind overlook cascading falls where the salmon jump up river and the bears catch their meal. 250 boardwalk steps, up and down, 1/2 mile, to get to the bear blind.

The Anan estuary Observatory is only accessible by boat or plane. Access to the site is managed by the Forest Service, the number of visitors in a normal year was limited to 60 per day, this summer the limit is 24. There typically is a high demand for daily passes, they should be obtain at least 6 months in advance. We purchased our passes online Saturday for entrance on Sunday. There was only the three of us and two other visitors that day.

Monday July 27- Meyers Chuck, is off the grid, with no roads or cars, accessible only by boat or seaplane is a quaint area of approximately 25 residents located about halfway between Ketchikan and Wrangell. There is a dock for transients to tie up to. In normal times, during the summer, the dock would be full with boats rafted off each other two deep. We walked a trail that meandered by nearly every residence. We spoke to several people, all were so friendly and offered their knowledge of the town’s history. They even have their own zip code, the post office is open every other Tuesday, when the postmistress hangs out the flag.

Ron’s great great uncle was a missionary who lived here, the only one who spoke English. When the Army Corp of Engineers surveyed the area, they named it after him, Meyers Chuck.

We departed after our walk, heading to Ketchikan.

Wrangell

Friday July 24- We arrived in Wrangell around 2pm, have a spot tied to the long dock.

Wrangell was founded by Russians, is one of the oldest non-Native settlements in Alaska. It is the only community in Alaska that was governed by 4 nations, Tlingit Nation, Russia, Britain, and the United States.

1861 to 1898, Wrangell played a role in the major gold rushes: the Stikine River, Cassiar and Klondike Gold Rushes. These gold rushes transformed this small community to an activity filled center for miners with warehouses, hotels, dance halls, saloons, equipment and food stores as well as the first of many churches in Alaska.

My. Dewey Trail, 1/4 mile one way, 300 ft rise boardwalk trail ending at platform overlooking Wrangell and the Zimovia Strait.

Shakes Island where Chief Shakes Trial House is located, accessible by a boardwalk. Several Totems have been removed from their upright position for safety, will soon be replicated.

Fro dinner we stopped at Zak’s for Haddock and Shrimp with fries.

Saturday July 25- a 6 mile walking day. Petroglyph Beach State Park, at low tide one can see some of the best surviving examples of native artists in southeast Alaska. This beach has the highest concentration of petroglyphs, rock carvings.

Totem Park, tucked away in a garden behind some trees, stand several totems left to rot naturally.

For dinner we ordered takeout from the Strikine Inn and Restaurant.

Our plan is leave here by 7am tomorrow to catch a favorable current.

Sitka to Wrangell

Tuesday July 21- we left Sitka around noon traveled about 43 miles to Still Harbor. For two days we will be in the North Pacific Ocean, out of the protection of the Inside Passage. The winds were light, less than 7 knots.

Rockwell lighthouse – it’s a vacation rental property!

The anchor was dropped around 7:30pm in Still Harbor. For dinner I made Creamy Chicken and pasta with roasted red peppers.

After dinner I baked a banana bread, mostly to warm up the boat. In Sitka we purchased a bag of a dozen ripe bananas just for bread.

Wednesday July 22- anchor up by 8:30am. The sky is blue today! As we cruise south along the rocky Alaskan coast we passed more than two dozen vessels trolling the waters for fish.

Craig serenaded the whales to come play to no avail.(17 seconds)

By 5pm we dropped anchor in Egg Harbor.

For dinner I made pasta with a sausage in the sauce. Extra sauce was made so tomorrow I’ll add kidney beans and spices and make it chili. You may think it odd, chili in July but temperature here is in mid 50’s, 40’s at night, on the water.

Thursday July 23- departed Egg Harbor by 8:30am. Destination Totem Bay.

More whales today!

Whale (10 seconds)

Friday July 24- anchor up before 8am, quite a foggy morning.

We arrived in Wrangell around 2pm, have a spot tied to the long dock.

Sitka

Friday July 17- We left Hoonah around 10am, heading south to Sitka.

A large pod of whales swam by us on the Icy Strait. There were at least 8-10 of them.

The wind and waves were greater than predicted, so we stopped a little earlier than planned. By 5 pm, the anchor was dropped in Pavlof Harbor.

Saturday July 18- anchor up by 8:00am. More whales this morning! A few Humpbacks and a couple of Orcas. I think I need a bigger zoom lens!

We traveled about 58 miles today to Adams Channel Bight.

Dan went up to bow to ready the anchor. While standing there he saw an Orca swimming towards the boat just below the waters surface, then the Orca swam right under us.

Sunday July 19- anchor up by 8am. Did I mention it was a cold, foggy, rainy day in Alaska? Locals have said the weather was great May, but June and July have been exceptionally rainy.

We arrived in Sitka around 4pm. I think we got one of the last slips available as we heard the marina tell several boats after us they were full.

Things that go bump in afternoon. A seam on the holding tank popped. A less than two year old tank! The manufacturer, Wellington Plastics said it’s out of warranty but they would repair it for free, if we ship the tank back to them. This however creates a logistical problem. Instead we will look for a plastic welder in the Pacific Northwest to have it repaired. They along with the service department at Haven Harbor in Rock Hall who installed it, both said they never heard of tank splitting like that.

Monday July 20- Mark on fishing vessel Lady Linda, we were parked next to in the marina. He’s a troller mostly for salmon, typically he fishes by himself.

Today was laundry and shopping day, plus we walked 8.2 miles around Sitka.

Here in Sitka, at Baronof Castle, which is now a scenic park sitting high upon a hill overlooking the harbor, where a mansion once stood, is the place where documents were signed when the US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. July 4, 1959, the first 49 star American flag was raised here, at the Castle. Alaska became the 49th state, January 3, 1959.

St. Michaels Russian Orthodox Cathedral built in 1848 by St. Innocent the first bishop of Alaska. Russian explorers, brought the Orthodox Faith to Alaska.

On display in town is this canoe, carved by the Tlingit to commemorate the centennial, in 1967, the purchase of Alaska.

Sheet’ Kwanzaa Naa Kahului community house resides at the entrance to where the Indian Village used to be. It’s a gathering place for clan families and special occasions like performances, graduations, events, even weddings. We spoke with Dale Linstrom, who is the tribe travel tours manager while there, he was very informative regarding the house as well as some Alaskan history like the Tlingit language is also taught in schools here. One interesting fact, only Alaskan natives can hunt otters, seals and seal lions. Every otter caught has to be tagged and processed.

In Sitka National Historical Park there are a few miles of trails in the Forrest with replica totem poles throughout. Originally totem poles stood in tribal villages, not a forest, near the ocean where travelers could see them. There is also a Visitor’s Center which was closed. Be Bear aware.

For lunch we stopped at Ashmo’s food truck in town. Dinner we cooked Alaskan sausage which has reindeer meat in it.

Hoonah

Wednesday July 15- laundry day, which sometimes is an all day affair at a laundromat, especially here when there are two washers and one working dryer, three loads to wash, another person waiting. I know I only had one of each machine back home, but it’s not like I can throw in a load and come back later.

We had take out from the Icy Point Lodge. There was a picnic table on the deck overlooking the water where we had our dinner. It was trivia night inside with lots of people.

Working out back was a man named Chris. Not an Alaskan native, but now Hoonah is his home. He gave us a mason jar of homemade smoked salmon, what a treat!

Parked next to us in the marina is a couple from Washington, s/v Koru Marjorie and John they are both originally from New Zealand. They typically leave their boat in Petersburg for the winter, sail around Alaska in the summer, (as do lots of other sailors) often with their adult grandchildren. They’ve recently sailed to Hawaii and back to Alaska.

Thursday July 16- Dan and Craig added another coat of teak sealer to the rails this morning. Later we all walked to the other side of town where the cruise ship terminals are.

One thing I neglected to mention since Panama, is coffee. Every county we be visited, we purchased roasted coffee beans from. There is a French press on board a gift from Danielle as well as a hand coffee grinder, that’s from Mike.

While leaving the dock, we met a couple from Nashville, who had just caught a greater than 70 lb Halibut. We watched his carefully filet the fish, then gave us about 2 lbs of it.

We met Master Carvers Gordon Greenwald and Herb Sheakley they was carving a totem pole from cedar that will be displayed in town as a veterans memorial. Gordon also carved the totem poles in front of the Huna Tlingit House in Glacier Bay. He also told us a bit of history of the area, and of the Tlingit community. One interesting fact, all school children in Hoonah are required to learn the Tlingit language.

For dinner I cooked the halibut we were given along with roasted potatoes. The fish was fabulous!

Glacier Bay – Part 2 Things the go bump in the night

Sunday July 12- it’s 12:15am, the three of us are almost sound asleep, when the boat rocks from a wave on a calm night. Since no sound of a boat, we all rose gathering in the salon. While looking out porthole windows, we see whale activity and splashing in the water off the starboard quarter, in Alaskan twilight. Parallel to the boat about 30 yards away, the spout of a whale was seen as well as it’s arching back. Suddenly, we all see a wave coming right at us like a torpedo and BAM we are violently hit broadside by a whale, creating at least 10 degree roll of the boat to Port, the impact shook everything inside the boat and us, knocking me off balance to the other side of the boat. It was a significant jolt. After collecting ourselves, we see there is no further sign of the whale or apparent damage to the boat. It took us hours to finally settle down and go back to sleep. We reported the incident to the Park and their Marine Biologist, they said our boat is about the same size as Humpback, this is not a normal occurrence, the whale may have mistaken us for another whale. It was recommended if you encounter a whale while anchored, make noise, start the engine ect. There have been no reports or sightings of an injured whale in the Bay.

In the morning we headed up Tarr Inlet along with s/v Second Wind and s/v Jan. Neither of them heard our whale encounter during the night.

At the end of the Tarr Inlet are Grand Pacific Glacier, and the Margerie. The Pacific was very actively cracking, not very pretty to look at compared to Margerie, it’s covered in silt and stones.

Margerie Glacier was very actively calving, we witnessed more than a dozen spectacular ice falls.

We took photos of each other’s boats in front of The Margerie Glacier, exchanged email addresses.

With the clearer sky’s, it warranted another drive by of Rendu Inlet, to view the Rendu Glacier. Afterwards we headed towards Blue Mouse Cove for the night.

We dropped anchor in Blue Mouse Cove at 7:30pm. Joining our new friends plus another sailboat and a Motor boat.

Chili, perfect for dinner after a day a glaciers

Monday July 13- socially distant dinghy raft up having coffee with s/v Second Wind, Nancy and Art and s/v Jan, Jan and Giorgio. We gathered at our boat. I made a cinnamon pecan strudel to share.

We left Blue Mouse Cove around 11am. Heading towards Giekie Inlet. The Giekie Glacier seen atop the mountain in the Inlet.

There were two inlets off Giekie, The Tyndall Cove and Shag Cove.

Back on the West Arm, we spotted several whales. This one was close enough for me to photograph.

We anchored for the night in Fingers Bay.

Tuesday July 14- today our 7 day permit expired and were exiting Glacier Bay, this truly was a lifetime experience!!!

We traveled about 40 miles across the Icy Strait to the marina in Hoonah. Hoonah has the largest Tlingit community in Alaska. Located on Chichagof Island, Icy Strait Point, an authentic Alaska Native village, established when the Tlingits were forced from their ancestral lands by advancing glaciers. Also, this island has the largest population of brown bears on earth.

We saw this brilliant rainbow on our way to get take out from The Fisherman’s Daughter.

Glacier Bay National Park – Part 1

Wednesday July 8- we entered Glacier Bay National Park around 1:30 pm.

In 1925, President Coolidge established the area as Glacier Bay National Monument. In 1980 under President Jimmy Carter, the Bay became a National Park and Preserve, encompassing 3.3 million acres of mountains, glaciers, forests and waterways. It is part of a 25 million acre World Heritage Site. One of the world’s largest protected natural areas.

In 2019, Glacier Bay welcomed more than 640,000 visitors.

Glaciers are basically ice in motion. When it snows in higher elevations, the massive amounts of snow compact, forming ice. Gravity influences the ice to slide down the mountainside. A few glaciers are called “tidewater glaciers”, they reach all the way to the ocean. These glaciers have a cycle advance and retreat.

In 2001, a pregnant whale named Snow was struck and instantly killed by a cruise ship. Below is her skeleton.

We departed the Visitor Center around 3:30pm, headed towards our anchor spot at South Sandy Cove West, where we spent the night.

Thursday July 9- we traveled up the East Arm towards Muir Inlet. Adams Inlet and the majority of Muir Inlet were closed to all motorized vessels. Select other inlets also have similar restricted dates for motorized vessels and cruise ships.

Riggs Glacier

Wachusett Inlet, the water was so blue down there, I called it Glacier Blue. After 5 miles as the fog was rolling in and visibility was getting low, we turned around headed for Sebree Cove, where we’ll drop anchor for the night.

Friday July 10- anchor up by 10am. Traveling slow today hoping the fog will lift as day progresses. First point of interest, going up the Tidal Inlet on the West Arm.

We anchored for the night, in Reid Inlet, about 1 mile from the Reid Glacier.

Saturday July 11- the boat was moved closer to the Reid Glacier this morning, we lowered the dinghy and went ashore. We walked on the glacier! Later we traveled the West Arm to the Johns Hopkins Inlet and saw the Lamplugh, Gillman and Johns Hopkins Glaciers.

Johns Hopkins Glacier calved 5 different times when we were there. First we heard cracking, then a loud boom like fireworks before the ice fell into the water.

It’s been very quiet here in the Bay. Today is the first day we was another boat, Nancy and Art on s/v Second Wind from Oregon. They socially distanced walked the glacier also this morning. Later we spoke on the radio with Giorgio and Jan s/v Jan from Mississippi. The three of us are all anchored for the night back in Reid Inlet.

Permitted

Tuesday July 7- departed Auke Bay around 9:30am.

Point Retreat Lighthouse

We traveled 50 miles from Auke Bay, dropped anchor in Sawmill Bay.

Craig is making dinner, a Smith family favorite meatloaf recipe, served with baked rice.

Wednesday July 8- we departed our anchorage at 8:30am. We have a permit to enter Glacier Bay!

During normal times, the application to obtain a permit to enter Glacier Bay had to be requested 60 days in advance of the day you wanted to enter. Because of Covid-19, it’s now 14 days. They (The National Park) limit the number of boats in the Bay on any given day, you are only allowed to stay for 7 days. Normally that would be 25 private vessels, 2 cruise ships, 3 tour boats and 6 charter vessels. Charters, tours and cruises are not operating now.

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First stop, the visitor center. The yellow circles with anchors represent possible places we will anchor for the nights.