Lisianski Strait to Waterfall Cove, West Coast of Chichagof Island. July 13-14, 2011.
18 July 2011 | posted at Sitka
Photo: A lion's mane jellyfish in Didrickson Bay.
A fine mist covered my glasses, obscuring my vision. I peered through them trying to read the course on the chart plotter while hanging on to the steering wheel in rolling seas. I finally gave up and handed the wheel to Steve.
We were on the first of two open ocean legs on a trip from Pelican to Sitka down the west coast of Chichagof Island. By going down the coast instead of inland we could save several days of travel. Two days ago we had dropped off Karen and Dave at Elfin Cove where they caught a seaplane. Now we wanted to make tracks for Sitka.
The weather report that morning had predicted, "Cape Edgecombe to Cape Fairweather, Northwest wind 15 knots. Seas 7 ft. I didn't like the 7 ft seas but at least the wind would be blowing in the right direction and strong enough to sail.
The promised wind never materialized but the seas did. Fortunately, this first leg was short. In two hours we approached the entrance to Imperial Passage, the gateway to a protected route down the middle portion of the coast. Hazy blurs on either side of us were all we saw as we entered. Then gray gave way to sharp-peaked rocks and wind-swept trees. We entered quieter waters and an hour later we were in Didrickson Bay, anchored off a (very) small waterfall. Rocky cliffs and spruce trees hung with lichen lined the shores.
The next day we awoke to more drizzle and calms. We motored south through Surveyor, Ogden and Smooth Passages to Slocum Arm. It was like going through a series of lakes, if lakes had humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions and lion's mane jellyfish. A storm could have been blowing out in the ocean and we could have continued. That night we anchored in Waterfall Cove, surrounded by neat little groves of arrow-straight spruce trees with a distant view of a 500 ft waterfall. Near our boat a young grizzly bear prowled on the beach.