09 November 2014 | Salamander Bay, Port Stevens Australia
05 November 2014 | Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stevens Australia
24 October 2014 | Port Stevens, Australia
21 October 2014 | Gold Coast, Australia
15 October 2014 | Gold Coast, Australia
07 October 2014 | Brisbane, Australia
30 September 2014 | Brisbane, Australia
14 August 2014 | Manley Boat Harbor, AU
08 August 2014 | Brisbane, AU
05 August 2014 | enroute to Brisbane AU from Noumea, New Caledonia, 250 nm to go
03 August 2014 | enroute to Brisbane AU from Noumea, New Caledonia
31 July 2014 | Noumea, New Caledonia
23 July 2014 | Noumea, New Caledonia
21 July 2014 | 58 miles from New Caledonia
17 July 2014 | 200 miles from New Caledonia
25 June 2014 | Whangarei, NZ
24 June 2014 | Whangarei NZ
A Grizzly Bear damaged our dinghy
15 August 2017 | Anan Bear Observatory
We were visiting the Anan Bear Observatory south of Wrangell. It is one of the best places to visit in all of SE Alaska BECAUSE it has bears. But (as we learned) there is a dark side to this bear concentration. And of course, there is a story to tell.
Anchoring in front of Anan is problematic. The depth drops off steeply from a sand bar at the river entrance forcing an anchored boat to anchor in sand on the edge. If the wind or tide turns while you are bear viewing, the boat can peel off the edge of the slope and the boat drifts away. Boats still anchor there, some with a stern anchor to maintain orientation and some just depend on a prevailing wind onshore. That is called the "crossed finger" approach. We anchored in "fools inlet", about 5 nm away from Anan and took our high speed dinghy to Anan. We pulled our dinghy up on the beach (using the wheels) while we hiked to the bear observatory. There are indeed bears everywhere and the river is chock-a-block full of spawning salmon.
The ranger found us at the observatory. Your dinghy is being destroyed by a Grizzly, he said. Turns out they know the "name" of this Grizzly. She likes the way dinghies bounce when she jumps on them. He would advise when she is done playing and we can go get our dinghy.
There was a commercial outfitter there with a jet boat and she offered to give us a ride to our sailboat and that we could use her canoe to rescue our dinghy. That was really helpful. The photo shows that we brought Panta Rhei to the float and then took her canoe ashore. Two of the flotation chambers still held air, so the dinghy floats enough to tow it to our boat. The front chamber has 5 rips in it. We are hopeful we can patch them, though it is not accomplished yet.
We are in Ketchikan now where it is raining. No surprise there. We have internet and power and coffee so we are quite happy. The rain has to stop before we can patch our dinghy and that is not likely in Ketchikan. But someday ... Until then we have our story to tell
19 July 2017 | Petersburg, AK
"No matter where you go, there you are" (unknown reference). By now we have been there and done that. Most recently that included Cannery Cove on Admiralty Island. The photo shows the quiet grandeur of the setting with Ron and Suzie's boat SV Tango in the foreground. It has been like that for the last month. It's all grand and it's all different even though it is mostly just new arrangements of trees, rocks and water and snow and ice. There are a few take home messages though.
One message is from Fish and Game. They are busy watching this seemingly endless wilderness lest some outsider might take fish home. We were checked by a nice agent in Hoonah (in a float plane!) who asked a few simple questions while we sat next to a bucket of fresh caught crab. Did we know our limit? Turns out it is only 3 unless you are an alaska resident. Then it is 20! And the crab pot we bought in Anchorage wasn't built quite right for Alaska. Really?
And halibut, ... just one a day with maximum two in possession unless you are an Alaska resident. If the fish is in the freezer at home, no limit unless that freezer is on the boat (like ours is) then the limit applies. Fish and Game checked us again on the dock in Petersburg. Turns out they didn't like the details of the crab pots that we bought in Hoonah. That is Hoonah, ALASKA. They were the same crab pots that were inspected and accepted when we were last checked in Hoonah (minus the one from Anchorage which I disposed of)
But we're good because we are Alaska residents!
Get the message?
We are in Hoonah, SE Alaska now
17 June 2017 | Hoonah, AK
We got something resembling a high pressure ridge so we moved expeditously across the Gulf of Alaska. The crossing took three days and weather stayed as forecast. That was a very good thing. The weather changes in the far north far more rapidly and dramatically than we ever experienced in the more southern latitudes. We arrived at Elfin Cove at midnight. Who would think to arrive at a town with virtually no lights and in the wilderness at midnight? Only Panta Rhei. But we actually made it to the dock without running aground or hitting anyone. Wonders never cease. We spoke of "Alaska twilight" but this night was overcast and dark. That is yet another expression of "negative luck" which is a real but little reported on phenomenon. And incidentally, Cross Sound was rough.
We rested and then moved south to Baranof Warm Springs where we met Ron and Suzie Bauman (SV Tango). This is an amazing place with one of the best hot pools in Alaska.
Then we headed north again to enter Glacier Bay National Park. Along the way we saw lots of bubble feeding humpback whales and caught fresh dungenous crab. The picture shows our dungenous crab prepared for cooking and eating. It was soooo goooood.
SE Alaska is a wonderland with smooth water and protected anchorages and marinas. We are so glad to have finished our crossing of the Gulf of Alaska.
Crossing the Gulf of Alaska
03 June 2017 | Seward AK
We are still in Seward, AK. Now that spring has come, why not start south?
Our difficulty is shown in the picture above. In this picture red shows waves above 2 meters. Redder signifies higher. Not shown, but significant, are the headwinds. These conditions arise from a continuing string of low pressure centers that are crossing the Gulf of Alaska one after another. Where is a high pressure center when you need one?
They tell us that high pressure does come. Maybe next year?
So here we sit at the dock. We've made our Costco run, and road tripped to Denali (near Talkeetna, AK). Patience is needed but is running short.
Meanwhile, our friends Ron and Suzie on SV Tango are crossing Dixson Entrance in 2 Meter seas because they couldn't wait more than a day!
Denali in the windscreen
03 June 2017 | Denali
Seeing Denali isn't so easy. There are only a few days a year that have clear skies over the mountain. Fortunately, we got one. Luck, we have it. It was CAVU.
Our venue for this expedition was a normally aspirated C206 floatplane flying out of Talkeetna, fish lake. Our peak altitude was just a little over 8000 feet which put us down among the peaks surrounding the mountain. That's a thrilling experience that is best experienced with an experienced pilot on a calm day. We flew over the glacier landing airport that climbers use and over the Don Sheldon amphitheater where there is a tiny hut built on a peak. And we flew directly toward the "Mooses Tooth" named after a pizza restaurant in Anchorage (or maybe the other way around!).
Talkeetna featured a hut serving home made ice cream. You could watch it churn. Ohhhhh it was GOOD. Also, the day was sunny and warm. How often does that happen in Talkeetna?
The picture shows the Summit of Denali wayyyyy above us.
Spring has arrived
25 April 2017 | Seward AK
It warmed up to about freezing at night so we hauled out to clean and paint the bottom of the boat. It's a task we haven't had the facilities to accomplish for about 2.5 years. Now we are back in the water. Yay!
The warming is happening throughout Alaska, including Alyeska (our ski area). So yesterday was the close of the season. They throw a party for the season pass holders and employees. They run the lifts for us only. The snow was "corn", which is soft and squishy bits of ice that is SOOOOO nice to ski on. We felt like superman/superwoman. And it was warm. The employees at the resort are mostly young "ski bums" and they are a FUN group. They are way younger than we are. The bottom of the lift featured a tub of drinks (including beer!). There were social groups of skiers enjoying each other and the outdoors "hanging out". They dressed for spring including sequimed dresses on the girls and shorts on the guys. Cold doesn't seem to be an issue if you are young! Everyone was smiling and the groups were welcoming, even to us! There was an excessive amount of "big air" in the skiing including some pro skiers that can do things that cannot be done.
And I was HOT. The spring snow had me skiing bump runs and keeping up with youngsters. Yup, true. I really was enjoying this.
Too soon the day ended and with it, the season. Karen and I skied 34 days and over 400,000 vertical feet. Compared to our young friends, we're "pikers". Considering that at the beginning of the season we weren't sure we could even ski, we think that is pretty good.