s/v Proximity

The Voyages and Adventures of "Your Rock and Roll Argonauts".

16 July 2017 | Wrangell Harbor
15 July 2017 | Petersburg, Alaska
12 July 2017 | Baronof Warmm Springs
10 July 2017 | Tenakee Inlet
08 July 2017 | Hoohah
07 July 2017 | Elfin Cove Dock
29 June 2017 | Yakutat City Dock
29 June 2017 | Yakutat City Dock
29 June 2017 | Yakutat City Dock
26 June 2017 | Gulf of Alaska, East of Kayak Island, West of Icy Bay
25 June 2017 | Gulf of Alaska
24 June 2017 | Seward, Alaska
21 June 2017 | Seward, Alaska
20 June 2017 | Seward, Alaska
22 April 2017 | Seward, Alaska
22 April 2017 | Passage to Kodiak
22 April 2017 | Chignik,, Alaska
22 April 2017 | Sand Point, Alaska
12 July 2016 | Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Wrangell

16 July 2017 | Wrangell Harbor
Rod
Well, we got off to our planned early start for the passage down the Wrangell Narrows. Did we get the timing right? Yes, we did. It worked perfectly! Was it pretty? No clue. Why is that? Because we had the thickest zero/zero pea soup fog ever. It was total IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions. So for two hours, I am at the helm hand steering, watching the radar, the electronic chart and the compass. Coffee? Nope, it's too critical to take a break. Nature call? Forget about it!

But, we eventually got to the end of the narrows, the fog lifted and we could relax again. Such a pity. We were really looking forward to seeing it.

We had a nice passage the rest of the way, and arrived Wrangell about 11:30! We did make good time! The coolest thing was that the phone rang shortly after we arrived. It was Gabi and Lutz! They were on their way to Wrangell, they saw our AIS signal, and knew we were here. So, we got to compare notes about where we each had been for the past week, and to plan together our next moves. We have different things we want to do, so this might have been the last time our paths will cross until they arrive in San Francisco.

We had both planned to leave Wrangell for our destinations, this morning, but the weather was ugly, and tomorrow looks much nicer, so Elisabeth and I will hang out here for another day, but Gabi and Lutz went for it. We could have too, but it's just so much more fun when the weather is nice.

Our next destination will be a little settlement called Meyers Chuck about 50 miles down another pass with some narrows, so hopefully, we will have better luck seeing it. All is good, and with good fortune, we will be in Ketchikan come Tuesday! We hear it is cruise ship heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view). You'll get the honest report. No fake sailblogs here!

The photo is our reunion with Steve and Tracy in Hoonah. See ya!

Petersburg

15 July 2017 | Petersburg, Alaska
Rod
Well, it was a wonderful passage from Baranof Warm Springs to Petersburg. The wait for favorable weather paid off. Since we were so close between those two big boats, and we had the current from the waterfall pushing us into the dock, we had to come up with an exit strategy. So, we talked to our neighbor, Jay, on the big outer boat. He let us slip a spring line to his rail. Then, we could use that to pull us a bit away from the dock and escape. Worked perfectly. Thank you Jay!

Nice flat water and we timed the tide just right to get to Petersburg. Along the way, we saw our first icebergs! Very beautiful, but don't get too close. Also saw some orcas jumping. The are really beautiful.

Petersburg is nice. It is a little fishing town with lots of Norwegian heritage. Good internet, good groceries, a nice Chinese restaurant (we love Chinese). The harbor is very helpful and nice people. So, it has been a good stop. We got to go for a 6 mile walk along the water today. That was a treat, and we got to see some of the Wrangell Narrows that we will pass through tomorrow morning. This is a passage that gets (as the name suggests) very narrow, and as such, the currents amplify. Then half way down, they change direction. So we leave in a flood tide, ride it for two hours, hit the slack in the middle, then ride the ebb out the other side. That's it in theory. Hope we get our timing right!

So then, it's off to bed for me as I get up at 0430 to catch the tide. Talk again in Wrangell!

Warm at Warm Springs

12 July 2017 | Baronof Warmm Springs
Rod
Monday, July 9

First of all, good news on the engine. The fuel/water separator remained clear throughout the day, so our engine is happy, and correspondingly, we are too. Although we had rain in the forecast, we were graced with no rain for most of the day. But, in exchange, we had pretty strong winds directly on the nose and an adverse tidal current most of the day. Thus, we kicked the engine revs up higher than we normally run to try and maintain a 5 knot average speed. Chatham strait is a long straight north and south body of water, so the fetch has plenty of room to build into some pretty good waves. Did they slow us down? Yes. Were we jumping and hopping? Yes, but not as bad as out in the open Gulf. Was it another work day that had us wondering when does the fun begin? Yes.

So then, when does the fun begin? At about 1600 we turned out of the washing machine into the protection of Baronof Warm Springs Bay. Ah....the fun begins/ All of a sudden, we were in calm water, no adverse current, and no wind. Warm Springs is just that. At the end of the bay, there is a little settlement of a few houses, a beautiful waterfall, warm springs and some anchoring spots. There is also a dock (free) on which to tie up. There were also many boats already tied up, and we set up to anchor, spend the night, and be gone tomorrow morning. But, there were people waving at us on the dock to come in and tie up there. Hmmm.... lot of boats and just a little space in between a big fish boat and a trawler. Can we possibly fit in that little spot? Doubt it. But they called out to us that there was 55 feet, we are 43+-, so well, maybe we give it a try. "Will you take lines and help us in?", I yelled. "Gladly!" was the response. So, we circled to change over from anchoring to dock tie and made our approach. The waterfall creates a current that was pushing us into the fish boat, and I needed to clear both boats, so it was dicey. But I got close as I could, and actually pushed off our stern just as we cleared (almost) the big anchor of the fish boat, and just as we were almost clear, I saw that the little antenna tree at the back of our radar mast was destined for contact with that big anchor. A quick blast of power (as I could hear our helpers call out that we had "Plenty of room up front!", and we just, ever so gently, kissed the anchor with our antenna tree. Whew! Too close for my comfort, but, hey, we were now in, and is this spot ever beautiful. We had not planned to visit the warm spring baths, it was only to be a stop for the night. But, a conversation with the guy on the fish boat changed our mind about the bath.

There are two options. The original warm spring is at the top of the waterfall, and you would go sit in the hot creek. Some say it is too hot there, but the view to the anchorage is stunning. The other option is the cabin. The locals have built a cabin divided with three rooms that face the anchorage and are open on that side. Since the walls separate the tubs, they are quite private from each other. They are fed continuous clean, fresh water from the warm spring. Sounded nice, and we chose to give it a go. It was amazing. We felt like cooked noodles after the bath, the view was simply amazing, and the high mineral content made us forget all about the somewhat difficult day out on Chatham Strait. We will stay the for another night, just to relax up and enjoy this perfect example of what we were hoping to find in cruising the Inside Passage. Nice people here, all traveling from somewhere, some in very small boats, all having a nice time together. One of our neighbors is a former Navy P-3 pilot, and he and I shared stories about having been at Moffett Field, where I learned to fly, and was an air traffic controller, at nearly the same time back in the 1970s. His education was also in biology, so he and Elisabeth had much to talk about too.

Suddenly, it feels like cruising!

Be Excellent to Each Other!

Rod and Elisabeth,

"Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" "Les Pirates d'Honneur"

Reporting from Tenakee

10 July 2017 | Tenakee Inlet
Rod
Sunday, July 8

We left Hoonah this morning at 0600. Then, we arrived at Tenakee this afternoon at about 14:30. What to say? It was a work day. It rained all the way, we had the wind on the nose and it built up a fetch that slowed us down - not anything like in the Gulf, but enough to make the day just kind of a work day, and not much fun. As we passed the various land points along the way, the fishing fleet was hard at work. Really quite beautiful to see these big fleets of fishing boats all working together. It can be a bit of a navigational challenge too. As we turned into Tenakee Inlet, we counted at least 32 fishing boats working the entrance. These are boats pulling nets behind them that stretch out a long way. Then try and pick a path through them. We did, and no one yelled at us, so I guess we did ok, but I certainly was jinking left behind that one, jumping right to pass in front of that one.. Then we were through. Cool! We arrived at about the same time as a beautiful old boat from the 1930s arrived. It is owned and operated by a really nice man named Ben who charters it for trips into the Inside Passage. His clients were from California near where our house is. Ben helped us out with getting some fuel, as you could buy it here, but first you pay $50.00 to get the woman to come down to the pumps. (She isn't normally there.) Then, your fuel is on top of that. Well, we only needed about 7.5 gallons, so buying from her made no sense, and we were prepared to go without. Ben offered us some from his boat. We tried to pay him, but he was having none of it. Thank you Ben! After the family that was his charters had gone ashore, we heard the Hoover (vacuum cleaner) working, and saw a young boy cleaning inside the boat. This was Ben's son - a future deck hand! Very nice experience, and nice people. We have a little worry this evening. We checked oil, and it was fine. But looking at the fuel/water separator, we saw that it had some gunk in the bottom. It was easy enough to drain and get clear, but it makes us a little nervous. We will watch it very close tomorrow. Since this trip is a motoring trip, the health of the engine is paramount. Hopefully, it is just a little sediment that got in, and is now cleaned out. Keep your fingers crossed. Tomorrow, we head out for Baranof Warm Springs about 50 miles south. This is down the Chatham Strait. Will the wind be on our nose the whole way? Let's go find out! PS, There is a hot springs here. Separate hours for men and women, and naked mandatory. We passed. Be Excellent to Each Other!

Rod and Elisabeth,

"Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" "Les Pirates d'Honneur"

Hoonah!

08 July 2017 | Hoohah
Rod
Man oh man, do we love playing this tide game. We got up this morning at 0600 to be ready to catch the beginning of the incoming flood tide to get us through the Inian South Pass and on to Hoonah. So, after a cup of coffee and a half bagel, we cast off and were in the channel for the tide. A local fisherman said that if we get out there in time, we could ride the tide all the way to Hoonah, and be there for lunch - which is just what we did. Thanks Kim! Our normal motoring speed is 5 knots, and our calculated arrival for this trip would be late afternoon. So, we didn't motor any faster than normal, but the channel is narrow, the current swift, and we were zooming along at over 8 knots. That may not sound like much, but remember, that is almost twice our normal speed. We arrived at 1330! Lunch at dockside!

We did have to motor. The wind was nonexistent, and to sail and make it worth it with these narrow channels, the wind has to be perfect, so this Inside trip will be mostly motoring. It's ok.

The cruising world once again shows itself to be very small too. As we were coming up to the dock, we saw that we had friends here! A French boat that we met in Dutch harbor, saw again in Chignik, again in Seward, were here, and they took our dock lines as we pulled in. It was nice to see them, but alas the visit was short, as they were heading out in about two hours (catching the right tide current). It was wonderful to see them.

Along the way, we saw animals, a few orcas and a whale of some sort. Nice. So, it was a great day. We fueled the boat, had halibut lunch (remember the halibut?), and went for a short walk. Hoonah is a mostly Tlingit town. The Tlingit are natives who fought the Russians at Sitka back in the early days of white man coming to Alaska. The Russians eventually drove them out of their homeland, and they resettled here in Hoonah. We will explore more tomorrow. Meanwhile, we have internet, can post photos, so here we go. No photos of Hoonah for this posting, so I will post a nice photo of Elfin. It's all so beautiful here. See you!

Reporting from Elfin Cove

07 July 2017 | Elfin Cove Dock
Rod
Thursday, July 6

Well, our final crossing of the Alaska Gulf was difficult. We left in very light wind and had a beautiful sunny day for the first half of the passage. But, of course things sometimes change, and change it did. It was nothing dangerous, but just damned unpleasant. All day, we had had the wind on the nose, but it was light. Then, in the late afternoon, the wind speed increased to the mid to high teens, and whipped up some chop with a perfect resonance to just let the boat get to our cruising speed of just over 5 knots, and then a wave would just stop us, down to about 2.5 knots. Over and over, big bounce, slamming everything around and if you were the off watch crew, you were nearly airborne then followed by weighing about three times your normal weight. Over and over, all night long. The big worry was that we were headed to the Cross Sound that is very tide dependent to get in. If we did not maintain our 5 knots average speed, we would arrive late, and our flood that we needed to ride in would become a 5 to 6 knot ebb. Then what? So, it was a stressful night, figuring alternate arrival plans and such and neither of us sleeping.

But, things do change, and change they did. Round about 0300 the wind lightened, and the awful bouncing stopped. We kept the power up so we could make up for a few bad hours of slow going, and bingo! All of a sudden, things were good. We made the tide on time, and Lutz and Gabi had arrived Elfin before us, so they were on hand to take a line and help us tie up. Then, it was July 4th in Elfin Cove. This is a beautiful boardwalk town. There are no streets or cars. There is a fork lift on the fuel/fish off loading dock. Otherwise, nothing. Boats and floatplanes only. We were immediately invited to a free breakfast at one of the fishing lodges here. Nice. After a nap, we set out to see what the festivities were. They day had a number of activities such as a parade (mostly children walking along the board walks) games such as bobbing for fish heads, fish tossing and the ultimate the greased pole. They had set a very sturdy 20-foot pole from the dock to over the water. This pole was generously coated (repeatedly) with Crisco shortening, and a little flag was erected at the end of the pole. Object of the game was to run, leap on to the pole, slide out and grab the flag before you fall into the 40 degree water. Motivation to win this game was a pot of money, coming from donations from businesses and from people, like us, who had great fun watching the spectacle. It is easy to imagine all of the injuries that could result, and there were many good falls, but everyone remained smiling and laughing, and it was a wonderful time. Eventually, there was a winner, and I believe his prize was $1600 or so. It was a great day, and lots of fun.

It is now the 6th, and we will leave tomorrow for Hoonah, about 40 miles down the road. Once again, it will be tide dependent to leave, so we have a favorable tide to leave on early in the morning. Gabi and Lutz have decided to continue to Sitka, so we will not see them for a while, but they will eventually return to the "Inside", so perhaps we will catch each other again in a while. We are glad we stopped here. It is a beautiful place, and while we were here, the local fishing fleet came in to change over from King Salmon gear to Coho Salmon gear. Lots of activity, and we always enjoy mixing it up with the fishermen. This group here were the smaller boats, many were couples who fish together. It is a really special thing, and we met two boats who were single women doing this. Think of them next time you are shopping for salmon. Don't buy farmed. Help out these hard working people and buy wild Alaska! You would be impressed to see what they do to bring you that fish.

Ok then, enough for now. Travel in the morning! Be Excellent to Each Other!

Rod and Elisabeth,

"Your Rock and Roll Argonauts" "Les Pirates d'Honneur"
Vessel Name: Proximity
Vessel Make/Model: Swan 41
Hailing Port: San Francisco
Crew: Rod Lambert, Elisabeth Lehmberg
About:
Who Are Rod and Elisabeth? We are Rod Lambert and Elisabeth Lehmberg. Elisabeth is from Bremerhaven, Germany, and Rod is from Monterey, California. In our youth we each had dreams of living on the water and sailing long distance. [...]
Extra: 2017 Update. From 2009 to Summer 2016, we sailed the South Pacific Ocean, visiting many many wonderful places and meeting incredible all along the way. Finally, it was time to do something a little different, so we headed North. North to Alaska. The dream continues. Welcome!
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